Lois R. v. Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles

9 Cal. App. 3d 895, 97 Cal. Rptr. 158 (1971)

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Lois R. v. Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles

California Court of Appeal
9 Cal. App. 3d 895, 97 Cal. Rptr. 158 (1971)

Facts

The State of California (plaintiff) filed a petition asking the juvenile court to find that Vicki Lee R., child of Lois R. (defendant) was a dependent child. The accepted practice in dependency matters was for a child’s probation officer to attend a child’s dependency hearings on behalf of the state in lieu of the state’s attorney, and for the adjudicating officer, known as a referee, to take over the state’s presentation of the case and examination of witnesses while still serving as the adjudicating officer. When Vicki Lee’s matter went to trial, the state’s attorney was absent, and Vicki Lee’s probation officer called the state’s first witness. Before the referee began examining the witness, Lois’s attorney objected, arguing that the referee should not advocate on behalf of the state. The referee overruled the objection and examined the state’s witnesses, redirected the state’s witnesses after Lois’s attorney’s cross-examination, and cross-examined Lois’s witnesses. Throughout the hearing, the referee ruled on Lois’s attorney’s objections and motions and made his own objections to the direct examination of Lois’s witnesses. At the conclusion of the hearing, the referee granted the state’s petition, finding that Vicki Lee was a dependent child and setting a date for a disposition hearing. Lois’s attorney petitioned the appellate court to restrain the juvenile court from taking any further action on the matter.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Reppy, J.)

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