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Dan C v. the Superior Court of Humboldt County

December 21, 2010


(Humboldt County Super. Ct. No. JV100114)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reardon, Acting P.J.

Dan C. v. Super. Ct. CA1/4


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Petitioner Dan C. is the father of Danielle M. and other children. Petitioner has filed a petition challenging the setting of a hearing under Welfare and Institutions Code*fn1 section 366.26 in Danielle's dependency. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.452.) We deny relief.


Dependency proceedings on behalf of Danielle M., born in August 2008, commenced in August 2010 with the filing of a petition under section 300, subdivisions (b), (g) and (j). The failure to protect allegations under section 300, subdivision (b), pertained to the mother, Michelle M. (mother), only. The no provision for support allegations under section 300, subdivision (g) stated that Danielle's parents were incarcerated and/or institutionalized and could not arrange for her care. Mother was arrested on July 29, 2010, for possession and sale of narcotics and cruelty to a child. Petitioner was institutionalized at a state hospital. Additionally, the abuse of sibling allegations (§ 300, subd. (j)) stated that between February 2002 and June 2009, four of the minor's siblings had been placed for adoption due to the parents' inability or unwillingness to reunify with them. Finally, mother and petitioner "have continued to fail to address the issues which lead to the removal and subsequent adoption of their other children," placing Danielle at substantial risk of abuse or neglect.

The juvenile court sustained the petition as to each allegation.

The disposition report documented petitioner's extensive criminal history and included police reports from 2008 and 2009 implicating him in ongoing criminal activity. In 1995 petitioner was committed to the California Rehabilitation Center for a two-year term as a narcotic addict, but served beyond that term in two different facilities as an outpatient returnee in order to finish the original commitment.

The reporting social worker for real party in interest Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (Department) noted that petitioner's reunification services as to Danielle's sibling, Lelia C., were terminated in July 2006, and she was placed for adoption in June 2009. Further, petitioner had been offered a variety of court-ordered services, but failed to demonstrate improvement in parenting and coping skills, as well as substance use and abuse. Petitioner had not addressed the issues leading to many interventions by the Department, and repeatedly failed to complete treatment, counseling and education services.

The contested hearing took place October 27 and 28, 2010, the Hon. Joyce Hinrichs presiding. The court took judicial notice of (1) the order of commitment finding petitioner incompetent to stand trial for numerous pending felony and wobbler drug-related offenses arising out of an August 18, 2009 incident; and (2) minutes indicating that the next review of petitioner's commitment would take place on April 1, 2011. Petitioner's attorney represented that he was receiving mental health treatment through his current institutional placement.

At the request of counsel for the minor, and over petitioner's objection, the court took judicial notice of dependency proceedings for Lelia. Judge Hinrichs had presided over Lelia's dependency proceedings, and to confirm the underlying allegations, she reviewed the four volumes comprising Lelia's juvenile files. The court observed that petitioner was in prison at the time Lelia was removed from her mother's custody, and upon his release reunification services were provided, including coordinating services related to his release on parole. At the time it was clear petitioner had "mental health issues" that the Department could not fully address because of petitioner's "re-incarceration for a number of times." Ultimately petitioner's "mental health issues" made it impossible for petitioner to reunify.

The juvenile court found by clear and convincing evidence that reunification services had been terminated for a sibling of Danielle for failure of petitioner to reunify; his parental rights over a sibling had been permanently severed; and petitioner did not make reasonable efforts to treat the problems that led to removal of the sibling. Therefore, it ordered reunification services as to Danielle bypassed under section 361.5, subdivision (b)(10) and (11) (ยง 361.5(b)). Further, the court made section 361.5, subdivision (e)(1) findings by clear and convincing evidence that it would be detrimental to Danielle to provide petitioner with reunification services because of the likely length of his incarceration, ...

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