2019.05.30 Case Law Summary
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People in the Interest of DPE, 17CA1751 (April 18, 2019)
On appeal from an order terminating mother’s parental rights, mother contended that the trial Judge’s failure to disclose that she was a co-guardian of a person with M.H. M.H. was a member of the family’s treatment team who was also a material expert witness at the termination hearing.
The court of appeals concluded that the trial judge’s failure to obtain a waiver of conflict from mother on the record was reversible error and reversed the termination order. The court reasoned that the judge’s close relationship with M.H. created the appearance of impropriety in violation of the judicial canons, which meant that the conflict had to be waived or the judge had to recuse.
Congratulations to ORPC appellate attorney Debra Dodd on this reversal!
People in Interest of DP, 18CA0989 (April 18, 2019)
Father was incarcerated for the duration of the case. At the adjudicatory hearing, although father was not present, his attorney entered an admission to a petition on his behalf. At the dispositional hearing, there was no discussion of father’s treatment plan other than to enter a dispositional order and allow him two weeks to object to it.