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Derek Allen Todd v. Sondra Margaret Hoffman

May 22, 2012

DEREK ALLEN TODD, APPELLANT,
v.
SONDRA MARGARET HOFFMAN, RESPONDENT.



(Super. Ct. No. SDR36420)

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

Todd v. Hoffman CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED COPY

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Derek Allen Todd (father) appeals from a trial court order awarding Sondra Margaret Hoffman (mother) sole physical and legal custody of their minor child and permitting father limited, supervised parenting time. On appeal, father contends he was denied his right to a jury trial on the issue of domestic violence and was denied appropriate accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Father asks this court to reverse the trial court's judgment.

Finding none of father's claims to have merit, we affirm the judgment of the court.

BACKGROUND

In August 2001 father filed a petition to establish parental relationship with the minor child. That petition sparked "intense episodes of litigation over the issues of custody and visitation," the most recent of which was a motion heard by the trial court on March 29, 2011.

At the hearing on March 29, both oral and documentary evidence was presented, including the testimony of mother, father, father's teenage son (Z.T.), and two other individuals. Based on Z.T.'s testimony, which the court found credible, the court concluded that "within the past 5 years [father] has perpetrated domestic violence against the sibling of the child whose custody [father] is seeking in this proceeding."

Accordingly, pursuant to the statutory presumption found in Family Code section 3044, subdivision (a), which father failed to overcome, the trial court ruled that awarding custody of the minor child to father would be detrimental to the minor. The court thus awarded sole legal and physical custody of the minor to mother. Father was given a detailed schedule for supervised parenting time, and the court ordered a portion of father's parenting time to be observed and evaluated by "one qualified to make observations and render opinions on the parent-child relationship between [the minor] and [father]." Father also was ordered to pay the costs related to the supervision and evaluation.

Included in the court's order were details regarding transportation to and from the supervised parenting time. The court also left open the possibility for an increase in father's parenting time and a shift from supervised to unsupervised parenting time. Father appeals from this order.

DISCUSSION I

Mother filed a motion to dismiss father's appeal, arguing his claims lack merit. "California courts have the inherent power to dismiss frivolous appeals." (People ex rel. Lockyer v. Brar (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1318, italics omitted.) We agree with mother that father's claims utterly lack merit and border on frivolous. Nevertheless, in the hope of settling father's claims once and ...


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