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In Re J.R., Jr., et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. J.R.

November 18, 2011

IN RE J.R., JR., ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
J.R., SR., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. JD222957, JD222958, JD222959, JD228645)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoch , J.

In re J.R.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Father (J.R., Sr.) appeals from the juvenile court's orders denying him reunification services as to minors J.R., Jr., Asa.M., Au.M., and E.M. and maintaining an existing no-contact order as to mother (K.M.) and the minors, following a contested dispositional hearing on a petition under Welfare and Institutions Code*fn1 section 387. Father contends the court erred by denying reunification services and visitation. We affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Sacramento County (2005-2008)

On August 30, 2005, Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) filed section 300 petitions as to As.M. (a male born in August 1998), Asa.M. (a male born in January 2001), Au.M. (a female born in August 2002), and J.R., Jr. (a male born in May 2004), alleging that mother had physically abused As.M.

Father was the alleged father of the two younger minors; the older minors had two other alleged fathers. Father has a long criminal history.

According to the maternal grandmother, mother threw father out of the house after a fight, then "took it out on" As.M. Ever since mother became involved with father, "there have been issues of both physical and emotional abuse." The maternal grandmother said mother had been diagnosed with severe depression, had used Ecstasy, and was probably using other drugs.

Father was living in Elk Grove with his father and wanted to be considered for placement. He admitted a criminal history, but denied domestic violence and substance abuse. He was not employed.

On September 2, 2005, the juvenile court ordered the minors detained. The jurisdiction/disposition report recommended removal of the minors from the parents' custody and reunification services for both parents (except as to As.M., for whom the report recommended placement with his father and dismissal of the case).

Mother and father had lived together off and on since meeting five years ago. Mother says he had not lived with her for six months; father says he had been living with his father for the last year. Father still received mail at her house and came over often.

Mother was trying to move and wanted a temporary restraining order against him. The minors had witnessed domestic violence between the parents. Most recently, on August 26, 2005, after father had taken Ecstasy, she told him to leave, but instead he picked her up and carried her back into the house screaming. He had broken the phones in the house so she could not call 911.

According to father, he had "not necessarily" used domestic violence against mother. She was the aggressor on August 26, 2005, as she had been before. She was "the controlling one," and getting a temporary restraining order against him was a way of keeping her power. He had never hit her, but once when he tried to stop her from overdosing on pills, she told the police he had hurt her and he went to jail. She was the one who pulled a phone from the wall. He admitted that the minors had witnessed fights between himself and mother, but he tried to make things work between them. When he and mother slept separately after fighting, he would get Au.M. to come and sleep with him. He had a very strong bond with Au.M. and J.R., Jr.

Father admitted recent marijuana use, but resisted drug testing and did not understand why he had to drug test.

Father denied more than occasional alcohol use or any drug use other than marijuana. He also denied being violent or committing any crimes other than a long-ago theft. Other alleged criminal offenses were "a bunch of lies" his aunt and/or his cousin made up about him, "just like [mother] does."

Asa.M. and As.M. said father and mother argued a lot and father had hit mother. Asa.M. said father had also hit him. As.M. said father had threatened to hurt all the minors, and everyone wanted him out of the house.

Father had been on searchable probation since a battery conviction in October 2004. He had not yet complied with any probation terms and conditions, including attending a required 52-week batterer's treatment program.

An addendum report filed October 6, 2005, recounted a new incident of domestic violence between the parents. A police report indicated that mother hit father in the knee with a metal baseball bat, but she claimed it was self-defense and he had been stalking her.

Mother had been drug testing negative while working and going to school full-time. Father had not drug tested yet.

Mother had supervised visitation with the minors, but did not exhibit good parenting skills. Father had not visited the minors because he had not contacted the social worker.

The Department filed amended section 300 petitions on October 13, 2005, additionally alleging the parents' domestic violence, mother's failure to obtain a restraining order against father, her continuing contact with him, his failure to enroll in a batterer's treatment program, and his substance abuse problem. On the same date, the juvenile court set the matter for a contested jurisdiction/disposition hearing.

On January 17, 2006, the juvenile court sustained the section 300 petitions and ordered Asa.M., Au.M., and J.R., Jr., placed with mother under dependent supervision.*fn2 Father, who had not complied with his case plan, was granted reunification services and ordered to participate in dependency drug court.

Yolo County (2008)

On March 8, 2006, the juvenile court ordered the matter transferred to Yolo County, where mother and the minors now legally resided.

On February 7, 2008, Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services (Social Services) filed nondetaining section 300 petitions as to the minors already under the juvenile court's jurisdiction, plus E.M. (a male born in October 2007). The petitions alleged:

On January 15, 2008, mother reported to the Woodland Police Department that five-year-old Au.M. claimed father had sexually abused her. At the Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center (MDIC) interview, Au.M. disclosed sexual abuse by father, including fondling, digital penetration, sexual intercourse, and oral copulation.

Even though mother had obtained two restraining orders against father, she continued to allow him into her home to visit the minors and to spend the night.

Father had still not completed a batterer's treatment program. He resisted services and failed to complete those intended to address his anger problems. He had two restraining orders issued against him and consistently failed to abide by court orders.

Father did not appear at the jurisdiction hearing on February 27, 2008, because he was incarcerated and refused to be transported for the hearing; the juvenile court did not appoint counsel for him. The court sustained the petitions. Noting mother's restraining order against father and her intent to file for divorce, the court ordered no contact between father and the minors.

The disposition report recommended that the minors remain in mother's care with family maintenance services. The report also recommended that father, who was incarcerated on Au.M.'s sexual abuse charges, be denied reunification services and visitation (at least so long as the charges were under investigation).

On April 9, 2008, at the disposition hearing, the juvenile court adopted the recommended findings and orders, and also ordered: "Father to have no contact with minor ...


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