IN RE: M.M.

Reset A A Font size: Print

Court of Appeal, Second District, California.

IN RE: M.M., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. A.M., Defendant and Appellant.

B225731

Decided: October 28, 2011

Marilyn Mire Mordetsky, Juvenile Court Referee.   Dismissed.  Lori A. Fields, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant. No appearance for Plaintiff and Respondent.

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS

A.M. (father), a nonoffending parent, appeals the juvenile court's order removing M.M. (the minor) from father's custody and placing him with A.M. (mother), an offending parent.   The juvenile court subsequently terminated jurisdiction over the minor and issued an exit order granting mother and father joint legal and physical custody.   Father has not appealed the exit order.   Accordingly, this appeal is dismissed because we cannot grant effective relief.

FACTS

Mother and father married in 1992 and divorced in 1997.   During their marriage, they had two sons, E.M. (born in 1993) and the minor (born in 1996), and a daughter, C.M. (born in 1994).   By 2008, the children were living with mother and K.D. (stepfather).  Mother delegated the duty of disciplining her children to stepfather because she had problems doing it herself.   While stepfather and the minor loved each other and did not have any conflict, stepfather was in conflict with E.M. and C.M. Both children had behavioral problems and stepfather's attempts to discipline them resulted in violence.   Due to stepfather's violence against E.M. and C.M., and due to mother's failure to protect the children from stepfather, the Department of Children and Family Services (Department) filed a petition on the children's behalf pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 300.1  Eventually, the juvenile court ordered the children placed in father's care and custody.   But on June 21, 2010, at a contested hearing pursuant to section 366.22, subdivision (a) as to the minor, the juvenile court found that mother did not pose a substantial risk of detriment to the minor and modified the home of father order to a home of mother order.

Father appealed.

On January 21, 2011, the juvenile court terminated jurisdiction over the minor and entered an exit order pursuant to section 362.4 awarding joint legal and physical custody to mother and father, specifying that the minor's primary residence would be with mother, and setting forth visitation for father.   There is no indication in the record that father appealed the exit order.

DISCUSSION

“As a general rule, an order terminating juvenile court jurisdiction renders an appeal from a previous order in the dependency proceedings moot.   [Citation.]  However, dismissal for mootness in such circumstances is not automatic, but ‘must be decided on a case-by-case basis.’  [Citations.]”  (In re C.C. (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 1481, 1488.)  “ ‘An issue is not moot if the purported error infects the outcome of subsequent proceedings.’   [Citation.]”  (Ibid.)

We do not perceive how the juvenile court's June 21, 2010, order can prejudice father in subsequent proceedings.   Thus, this appeal appears moot.   Out of an abundance of caution, we provided the parties with an opportunity to brief whether we can grant father effective relief.   The parties declined to provide further briefing.   By his silence, father has conceded that his appeal is moot.

DISPOSITION

The appeal is dismissed.

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS.

ASHMANN–GERST

We concur:

FOOTNOTES

FN1. All further statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code unless otherwise indicated.In the fourth count under section 300, subdivision (b), the Department alleged that the children were exposed to a violent confrontation when stepfather pinned mother to a bed and threatened to hit her.   It also alleged that mother and father exposed the children to previous violent confrontations..  FN1. All further statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code unless otherwise indicated.In the fourth count under section 300, subdivision (b), the Department alleged that the children were exposed to a violent confrontation when stepfather pinned mother to a bed and threatened to hit her.   It also alleged that mother and father exposed the children to previous violent confrontations.

_, P.J. BOREN _, J. CHAVEZ