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Second District Court Denies Father Custody on Appeal

Second District Court Denies Father Custody on Appeal

September 10, 2020

In this case, the Second District Court affirmed a Los Angeles County juvenile court’s order removing two children from a father’s custody.

From the court order:

“Father argues that the record is insufficient to support removal of minors by clear and convincing evidence. Further, he argues that the juvenile court’s failure to state the reasons for its decision to remove minors requires us to reverse the order. We conclude that the order must be affirmed. Integral to analysis of the first issue, we heed the holding of Conservatorship of O.B. (2020) 9 Cal.5th 989, 995– 996 (O.B.) establishing that when a statute requires a fact to be found by clear and convincing evidence, and when there is a substantial evidence challenge, the reviewing court must determine whether the record contains substantial evidence from which a reasonable trier of fact could find the existence of that fact to be highly probable.”

“…O.B., of course, is a conservatorship case, not a dependency case. However, it signaled that its holding has broad application. In examining the clear and convincing evidence standard, it observed that the standard applies to various determinations, such as termination of parental rights, involuntary commitment, deportation, liability for punitive damages, whether a conservator can withdraw life-sustaining care from a conservatee, whether conditions necessary for the nonconsensual, nonemergency administration of psychiatric medication to a prison inmate have been satisfied, and whether a publisher acted with actual malice in certain defamation cases. (O.B., supra, 9 Cal.5th at p. 999.)”

“Also, the court surveyed prior decisions discussing how a finding by clear and convincing evidence should be reviewed in dependency cases, among others. (Id. at pp. 1001–1004, citing T.J., In re Angelia P. (1981) 28 Cal.3d 908, and In re Jasmon O. (1994) 8 Cal.4th 398.) In a footnote, O.B. disapproved of a host of dependency cases to the extent that they are inconsistent with O.B.’s holding. (O.B., supra, at p. 1010, fn. 7.) We conclude that O.B. is controlling in dependency cases.”

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