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Garcia v. Escobar

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Eighth Division

November 15, 2017

MARIA G. GARCIA, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
GILBERT ESCOBAR, Defendant and Respondent.

         APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. LQ020533, Robert E. Willett, Judge. Affirmed with directions.

          Family Violence Appellate Project, Catherine Ongiri, Erin C. Smith, Jennafer Dorfman Wagner, Anya Emerson; Mayer Brown, Donald M. Falk and Samantha Booth for Plaintiff and Appellant.

          Pepper Hamilton, Pamela S. Palmer, Brian M. Nichilo and Courtney A. Munnings for the California Women's Law Center as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Plaintiff and Appellant.

          No appearance for Defendant and Respondent.

          FLIER, J.

         “A ‘juvenile court' is a superior court exercising limited jurisdiction arising under juvenile law.” (In re Chantal S. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 196, 200.) “ ‘[F]amily court' refers to the activities of one or more superior court judicial officers who handle litigation arising under the Family Code. It is not a separate court with special jurisdiction, but is instead the superior court performing one of its general duties.” (Id. at p. 201.) Both the juvenile court and the family court may issue protective orders to protect against domestic violence. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 213.5, 304; Fam. Code, §§ 6218, 6320.) A protective order enjoins specific acts of abuse. (Fam. Code, § 6218.)

         In this case, the juvenile court issued a protective order, protecting appellant Maria G. Garcia and her daughter and enjoining respondent Gilbert Escobar from specified acts of abuse. The protective order remained effective after the juvenile court terminated its jurisdiction. On appeal, Garcia and amicus curiae persuasively show that Family Code section 6345-which governs the renewal of a domestic violence restraining order-applies to the renewal of a domestic violence restraining order issued by a juvenile court (not exclusively to the renewal of an order issued by the family court). We hold that after a juvenile court has terminated its jurisdiction, the family court has jurisdiction over domestic violence orders and may issue a renewal. We remand the case to the superior court to apply the renewal statute.

         BACKGROUND

         Garcia and Escobar dated for seven years and separated in July 2013. Their only child, A., was three at the time of their separation.

         On July 29, 2013, Garcia filed a request for a restraining order in family court (Judicial Council form DV-100). The case apparently was transferred to juvenile court. On September 16, 2013, the juvenile court issued a restraining order protecting Garcia and A. from Escobar. The order indicated that it was an “[o]rder [a]fter [h]earing, ” and that a hearing had been conducted September 16, 2013. The order expired September 16, 2016. The order was on a form mandated by the Judicial Council, which referenced both the Welfare and Institutions Code and the Family Code. The order enjoined Escobar from “molest[ing], attack[ing], strik[ing], stalk[ing], threaten[ing], sexually assault[ing], batter[ing], harass[ing], destroy[ing] the personal property of, contact[ing], or disturb[ing] the peace” and required him to stay 100 yards from Garcia and A. except for his visitation of A.

         On May 20, 2014-prior to the expiration of the restraining order-the juvenile court terminated its jurisdiction. Escobar was permitted only supervised visitation of A. because, among other reasons, he had not made progress in his court ordered domestic violence offenders program.

         1. Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order

         On September 7, 2016 (nine days before her juvenile court restraining order was set to expire), Garcia filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order in family court. A copy of the juvenile court's restraining order was attached to Garcia's declaration. Also on September 7, ...


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