In re S.C.
Filed 8/22/08 In re S.C. CA2/8
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS
California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT
In re S.C., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES,
Plaintiff and Respondent,
Defendant and Appellant.
(Los Angeles County
Super. Ct. No. CK65076)
APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Richard E. Naranjo, Judge. Dismissed.
Karen S. Colins, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.
No appearance for Plaintiff and Respondent.
In September 2006, respondent Department of Children and Family Services detained almost three-year-old S. and one-year-old Si. when their two-month-old brother, Sean, was rushed to the hospital not breathing and without a pulse after he had lodged himself between the mattress and headboard of his mothers bed. Two days later, doctors declared Sean brain dead and removed him from life support. Following Seans death, the department filed a petition under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300 alleging mother Shaunas neglect of Sean leading to his death put S. and Si. at risk of harm. The petition further alleged mother had a history of substance abuse, including methamphetamine use that rendered her incapable of caring for the girls. And finally, the petition alleged that appellant Mark B., the girls alleged father - - he was not named on their birth certificates and had not supported them financially nor helped in their upbringing - - had a history of criminal convictions that created a risk of harm to the girls from his failure to protect them.
S. and Si., who showed no signs of abuse themselves, were released to their maternal aunt. Police investigators thereafter concluded Seans death was due to mothers poor parenting but declined to file criminal charges. The department returned the children to the home of their maternal grandmother, whom the court found to be their de facto parent. Their return was conditioned on mother moving out of grandmothers house, where she had been living with the children when the department detained them.
The court denied mother and appellant family reunification services as to mother, because she had caused Seans death through neglect, and as to appellant because he was merely an alleged father. The court thereafter sustained the dependency petitions allegations, finding that mothers history of drug abuse and neglect of her infant son leading to his death put her other children at risk of harm, and appellants history of criminal convictions resulted in risk of harm to children from his failure to protect them.
The department recommended the court terminate mothers and appellants parental rights and place the children for adoption. Appellant, who was incarcerated in state prison at the time, received notice of the hearing to terminate his parental rights and attended the hearing. At the hearing, appellant objected to termination of his parental rights because he claimed he spent quality time with his children when he was not in custody. The court noted, however, that it had sustained the petitions allegation against him and that he could not take custody of the children while he was in prison. Moreover, his relationship with the children was virtually nonexistent. The court terminated appellants parental rights, and designated maternal grandmother as the childrens prospective adoptive parent.
Appellant filed a notice of appeal, and we appointed counsel to represent him. After reviewing the record and juvenile court file and conferring with trial counsel, appellate counsel filed a letter stating she could not find any arguable issues for appeal. (In re Sade C. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 952.)
We sent a letter to appellant telling him he could file a letter or brief raising any issues he wished us to consider in his appeal. In response, appellant submitted a letter asserting grandmother was unfit to care for the children because the police report on Seans death recorded that grandmother had placed Sean in mothers bed where he died. His letter also requested paternity tests to establish his biological tie to the girls. Finally, he requested that we stay the appeal until his release from prison, at which time he planned to hire a lawyer to represent him.
We have reviewed the appellate record, paying particular attention to the points appellant raised in his letter. In doing so, we note that grandmothers responsibility, if any, in Seans tragic death is unrelated to appellants fitness as a parent, which the dependency court decided adversely against him. Furthermore, the dependency court appears to have accepted appellants biological ties to the children, questioning only the extent of his parental relationship with them, making paternity tests unnecessary. Finally, the record shows court-appointed trial counsel and appellate counsel represented appellant throughout these proceedings. We find no arguable issues on appeal, and therefore the matter is dismissed.
The appeal is dismissed.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS
COOPER, P. J.
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