Juvenile Officer v. D.L. (In re Interest of L.L.), WD 83257

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtEDWARD R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE
Citation607 S.W.3d 206
Parties In the Interest of: L.L. & L.L., Juveniles; Juvenile Officer, Respondent, v. D.L., Appellant.
Docket Number C/w WD 83258,WD 83257
Decision Date18 August 2020

607 S.W.3d 206

In the Interest of: L.L. & L.L., Juveniles; Juvenile Officer, Respondent,
v.
D.L., Appellant.

WD 83257
C/w WD 83258

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.

Opinion filed: August 18, 2020


Mary E. Barnard, for Respondent.

Connie Sullivan, for Appellant.

Division One: Thomas H. Newton, Presiding Judge, Mark D. Pfeiffer, Judge and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judge

EDWARD R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE

607 S.W.3d 207

Appellant D.L. ("Grandmother") appeals the trial court's denial of her motions to intervene in the juvenile proceedings of her twin grandchildren, L.L. and L.L. ("Children"). Because we lack jurisdiction to hear this appeal, we dismiss.

Factual and Procedural Background

On May 16, 2017, the Juvenile Officer filed petitions in the Circuit Court of Boone County alleging that Children were without proper care, custody, or support, and requesting that Children be "made a ward of the Court under the custody and supervision of the Children's Division for Appropriate Placement." Specifically, the petitions alleged that on the date Children were born—May 1, 2017—their mother ("Mother") tested positive for amphetamine and benzodiazepine and that on May 2, 2017, Children tested positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine, diazepam, and nordiazepam. Additionally, the petitions alleged that Children's older sibling had been named as a victim in an earlier Children's Division investigation, which resulted in findings of illegal drug use in the home and in the presence of Children's sibling. The trial court entered Orders of Protective Custody, placing Children in the temporary custody and supervision of the Children's Division.

Children's juvenile cases proceeded over the next two years. In July 2019, Grandmother filed requests to intervene in Children's cases, and on August 26, 2019, the trial court held a hearing on Grandmother's motions. At the hearing, counsel for Grandmother advised that Grandmother was only seeking to intervene in the cases for Children, not their older siblings, and that Grandmother was "not asking for anything right now except leave to intervene so she can possibly be of help later" and that she "would like to be kept in the loop and be involved." Counsel further advised that: "Just kind of depending on how things go [Grandmother] would like to eventually petition for guardianship, but we don't really know where the case is or what's going on if she's not allowed to intervene so she can see whether that's a viable goal or not."

The Juvenile Officer, the Children's Division, and the Guardian ad Litem opposed the motions to intervene. They expressed concerns that Grandmother's visits with Children had been inconsistent, Grandmother had allowed unapproved and unauthorized contact between Children and Mother during Grandmother's visits, and that Grandmother was only seeking intervention in Children's cases and not for the entire "sibling group." Grandmother requested to respond to these concerns, and the trial court permitted her to do so.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court took the matters under advisement. Later that day, by docket entries, the trial court denied Grandmother's motions to intervene. The docket entry in each case stated, in its entirety: "Order – Denied. After due consideration. Motion to intervene denied. LS/X (smp)." Grandmother appealed, asserting that the trial court erred in denying her motions without first finding that intervention would be "against the best interest of [Children]."1

607 S.W.3d 208

Additionally, at this Court's request, Grandmother addressed in her brief whether she had the right to an immediate appeal of an order overruling a motion to intervene.

Analysis

"[T]he Court has an obligation, acting sua sponte if necessary, to determine its authority to hear the appeals that come before it." Glasgow Sch. Dist. v. Howard Cnty. Coroner , 572 S.W.3d...

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1 practice notes
  • B.D. v. Mo. Dep't of Soc. Servs., WD84811
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 10, 2022
    ...an obligation, acting sua sponte if necessary, to determine its authority to hear the appeals that come before it.'" L.L. v. D.L., 607 S.W.3d 206, 208 (Mo. App. W.D. 2020) (quoting Glasgow Sch. Dist. v. Howard Cnty. Coroner, 572 S.W.3d 543, 547 (Mo. App. W.D. 2019)). "'The right t......
1 cases
  • B.D. v. Mo. Dep't of Soc. Servs., WD84811
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 10, 2022
    ..."'has an obligation, acting sua sponte if necessary, to determine its authority to hear the appeals that come before it.'" L.L. v. D.L., 607 S.W.3d 206, 208 (Mo. App. W.D. 2020) (quoting Glasgow Sch. Dist. v. Howard Cnty. Coroner, 572 S.W.3d 543, 547 (Mo. App. W.D. 2019)). "'The right to ap......

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