The Court of Appeal Oct. 12 upheld San Bernardino Superior Judge Annemarie Pace’s decision to terminate a pair of parents’ parental rights.
The separated parents had court approval for monthly visits, but had not visited for more than a year.
Case law says that for parents to successfully contest the termination of custodial rights, they must visit their children to prove that the child benefits from their relationship.
The father argued on appeal that Pace’s decision to not allow him to testify at the hearing terminating his custodial rights was a violation of his due process.
The mother argued that Pace’s denial of a continuation on the grounds that the mother was unable to find transportation to the hearing violated her due process rights as well.
The father’s counsel said he had not visited the children in the past year, and the mother said she visited, by video, one of the children every month.
The Court of Appeal agreed with Pace that both parents’ testimony would have been irrelevant, because they already established they had not been visiting the children.
San Bernardino Superior Court case numbers J281163 and J281164.
Appellate case number E078981.
Marisa Conroy, under appointment, represented the father.
Jacques Love, under appointment, represented the mother.
County Counsel Tom Bunton and Deputy County Counsel Dawn Martin represented San Bernardino County Children and Family Services.
Fourth District Court of Appeal,. Division Two, Associate Justice Richard Fields wrote the opinion, which Presiding Justice Manuel Ramirez and Associate Justice Douglas Miller joined.
Read the ruling here.