Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. L. A. Cnty. Dep't of Children v. J.C. (In re S.G.), B307988

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtROTHSCHILD, J.
Citation286 Cal.Rptr.3d 557,71 Cal.App.5th 654
Docket NumberB307988
Decision Date15 November 2021
Parties IN RE S.G. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Plaintiff, v. J.C., Defendant and Appellant; R.G., Defendant and Respondent.

71 Cal.App.5th 654
286 Cal.Rptr.3d 557

IN RE S.G. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.

Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Plaintiff,
v.
J.C., Defendant and Appellant;

R.G., Defendant and Respondent.

B307988

Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1, California.

Filed November 15, 2021


Caitlin Christian, Sacramento, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant J.C.

Linda Rehm, Fullerton, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Respondent R.G.

ROTHSCHILD, J.

286 Cal.Rptr.3d 560
71 Cal.App.5th 658

J.C. (Mother) filed a timely appeal from the juvenile court's denial of her request for a permanent restraining order protecting her from R.G. (Father). While Mother's appeal was pending, the juvenile court terminated jurisdiction in an order from which Mother did not appeal.

We hold that Mother's failure to appeal the termination of juvenile court jurisdiction does not render Mother's restraining order appeal moot. In so holding, we disagree with certain cases to the extent they stand for the broad proposition that an appellate court can never grant effective relief in a dependency appeal following the unappealed termination of juvenile court jurisdiction. Here, were we to conclude the juvenile court's denial of Mother's restraining order request constitutes reversible error and direct the court to issue the restraining order, our remittitur would vest jurisdiction in the juvenile court for the limited purpose of correcting that error. Correcting an erroneous denial of Mother's restraining order request would immediately afford Mother effective relief. Mother's appeal is therefore not moot.

As to the merits, we hold that the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Mother's requested restraining order because the evidence does not compel the conclusion that Mother's safety would be in jeopardy without such an order. Nor do we agree with Mother that the juvenile court applied an incorrect legal standard in ruling on her request. Even assuming the court did so err, however, such error would not warrant reversal because it is not reasonably probable that Mother would have obtained a more favorable result under the correct standard.

Accordingly, we affirm

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY

A. Background

Mother and Father ended their relationship in 2011, when their older daughter, S.G., was one year old, and Mother was still pregnant with their younger daughter, L.C. They "agree that their relationship was unhealthy or dysfunctional." In a May 2011 referral, Mother alleged that Father emotionally abused unborn L.C. when "Father attacked [Mother] and hit ... her pregnant stomach." Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family

71 Cal.App.5th 659

Services (DCFS) closed the referral as unfounded because "there was no evident injury." A 2012 family court order granted Mother and Father joint legal and physical custody of the children.

In the years that followed, Mother and Father repeatedly accused each other of various forms of misconduct through referrals to DCFS, all of which DCFS deemed unfounded or inconclusive. These include: February 2012 and November 2012 referrals in which Father alleged general neglect by Mother, both of which DCFS deemed unfounded; a November 2012 referral in which Mother alleged physical abuse by Father that was deemed unfounded; a November 2015 referral in which Mother alleged emotional and physical abuse by Father that was deemed unfounded; February 2016 and December 2016 referrals in which Mother alleged general neglect and sexual abuse by Father, both of which DCFS again deemed unfounded; and a November 2017 referral by Father alleging general neglect by Mother that was deemed inconclusive.

286 Cal.Rptr.3d 561

Mother and Father also accused each other of various types of wrongdoing in their requests to the family court during custody proceedings. In September 2016, Father requested Mother's custodial time be reduced based on allegations that she was not taking the children to school and was withholding the children from him. Less than two weeks later, Mother obtained a temporary restraining order against Father based on allegations that he was "aggressive" during custodial exchanges and that he had withheld the children from her. In December 2016, Mother sought another temporary restraining order and to have Father's custody reduced based on allegations that he may have sexually abused S.G. In January 2017, the family court found the allegations were untrue, denied the restraining order request, and modified the custody order to name Father as the primary custodial parent. The parents were ordered to attend parenting classes, communicate through Talking Parents (an online co-parenting communication tool), and obtain counseling for the children.

Between 2010 and 2020, Mother filed approximately 13 requests in family court for restraining orders against Father. Some of these resulted in the family court granting a temporary order, often on an ex parte basis, but the court always denied corresponding requests for permanent orders after an evidentiary hearing. Our record does not contain details regarding the bases for any of these requests, except the 2016 request discussed above and the 2019 request discussed below.

B. Mother's November 2019 Request for a Restraining Order

In November 2019, Mother filed in the family court a request for a restraining order protecting both her and the children from Father. As support

71 Cal.App.5th 660

for her request for an order protecting her,1 Mother claimed that Father "consistently sen[t] [her] messages via TP (Talking Parents) to intimidate [and] scare [her]," such as telling her he "had obtained new access to [her] driving record" and criticized her for having been at certain locations. Mother indicated that Father refused to explain how he had obtained this information, and that this "invasion of [her] privacy terrified her."

She also described an October 7, 2019 incident that occurred after Mother took S.G. home from school because S.G. was ill and Father could not be reached. According to Mother, Father came to her home, yelling and using profanity, and "bang[ed]" on the windows and doors. L.C. was in Father's car while this occurred. Mother indicated she was in the restroom when Father arrived and was "scared [and] confused." Father called the police, who came to the scene, but took no further action. The children remained with Mother after the police left.

The family court granted a temporary restraining order and set a hearing on the request for permanent orders.

C. Initiation of Dependency Proceedings

Before the family court could hear the request for a permanent restraining order, DCFS filed a petition under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300.2

286 Cal.Rptr.3d 562

D. Mother's Renewed Restraining Order Request

All parties agreed to extend the family court's November 2019 temporary protective order until the juvenile court held a hearing on the permanent restraining order. The juvenile court required Mother to file a renewed request, in which she incorporated by reference her November 2019 restraining order request filed in the family court, as well as DCFS's detention report.

The detention report included statements by Mother that Father had been "verbally and physically abusive towards her" in the past. Specifically, she told social workers that Father had " ‘called her everything from here to the moon,’ " that " ‘he also punched [her] when [she] was pregnant with

71 Cal.App.5th 661

[L.C.],’ "3 and that "there was a past fight in 2015 when ... [F]ather got physical with her and they were both arrested for the incident."

The detention report also listed the family's referral history and indicated that both parents have some criminal history related to domestic violence, although it does not indicate (nor does the record elsewhere clarify) whether this history involved arrests or convictions. Specifically, the report notes that "[F]ather has [a] criminal history regarding disorderly conduct: ... battery of [a] spouse on [October 26, 2015] and inflict[ing] corporal injury on [a] spouse/cohabitant on [May 13, 2011]. [¶] Mother has [a] criminal history regarding battery of [a] spouse on [October 26, 2015 and] battery on [a] person on [November 18, 2015]."4

When interviewed by DCFS about the October 2019 incident, S.G. stated that "on a Monday this year," " ‘daddy came to mommy's house screaming and banging on her door ... like the police and kicking on the door and windows.’ " L.C. similarly described the incident as having " ‘happened on a Monday when [S.G.] stayed at mommy's house sick.’ " L.C. stated that " ‘daddy came to mommy's house’ ... [and] ‘daddy was banging on the door and yelling and saying bad...

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11 practice notes
  • L. A. Cnty. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. v. Chastity B. (In re Gabriella H.), B313276
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 12, 2022
    ...Chastity does not challenge. We do not second-guess the court's factual findings or reweigh the evidence. (See In re S.G. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 654, 672; R.M. v. T.A. (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 760, 780.) B. The Department Did Not Comply with ICWA and Related California Law "ICWA provides: '"In......
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    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 19, 2022
    ...moot." (In re Rashad D. (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 156, 163; accord, In re C.C. (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 1481, 1488; cf. In re S.G. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 654, 663 [appeal from juvenile court's denial of restraining order was not moot despite termination of jurisdiction because an order directing j......
  • L. A. Cnty. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. v. Gerardo L. (In re Lyla L.), B311052
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 15, 2022
    ...moot." (In re Rashad D. (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 156, 163; accord, In re C.C. (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 1481, 1488; cf. In re S.G. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 654, 663 [appeal from juvenile court's denial of restraining order was not moot despite termination of jurisdiction because an order directing j......
  • L. A. Cnty. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. v. T.M. (In re O.M.-P.), B311185
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 31, 2022
    ...'general rule' that termination of juvenile court jurisdiction renders a pending dependency appeal moot . . . ." (In re S.G. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 654, 665 (S.G.).) The S.G. court held it could provide effective relief in an appeal from the juvenile court's denial of a restraining order not......
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9 cases
  • L. A. Cnty. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. v. Dustin S. (In re Riley S.), B311042
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 19, 2022
    ...moot." (In re Rashad D. (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 156, 163; accord, In re C.C. (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 1481, 1488; cf. In re S.G. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 654, 663 [appeal from juvenile court's denial of restraining order was not moot despite termination of jurisdiction because an order directing j......
  • L. A. Cnty. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. v. Gerardo L. (In re Lyla L.), B311052
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 15, 2022
    ...moot." (In re Rashad D. (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 156, 163; accord, In re C.C. (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 1481, 1488; cf. In re S.G. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 654, 663 [appeal from juvenile court's denial of restraining order was not moot despite termination of jurisdiction because an order directing j......
  • L. A. Cnty. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. v. T.M. (In re O.M.-P.), B311185
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 31, 2022
    ...'general rule' that termination of juvenile court jurisdiction renders a pending dependency appeal moot . . . ." (In re S.G. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 654, 665 (S.G.).) The S.G. court held it could provide effective relief in an appeal from the juvenile court's denial of a restraining order not......
  • L. A. Cnty. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. v. Javier R. (In re B.R.), B313726
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 4, 2022
    ...reason, we defer to the 12 court's credibility determinations and will not reweigh the strength of the evidence. (In re S.G. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 654, 672 (S.G.); see also In re S.A. (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 1128, 1140 (S.A.) [" 'It is not an appellate court's function, in short, to redeterm......
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