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Wixtrom v. Department of Children and Family Services (In re J.D.S.)

Court of Appeal of Florida
864 So.2d 534 (2004)


Facts

The Florida Department of Children and Family Services (CFS) (defendant) learned that J.D.S., a 22-year-old female living in a group home had become pregnant as a result of a sexual battery. J.D.S. suffered from severe mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, and seizure disorder and was completely unable to care for herself. J.D.S. also took several medications that posed potential harm to the unborn fetus. The CFS filed a petition asking the court to appoint a guardian for J.D.S. and a separate guardian for the unborn fetus. The trial court initially held that no guardian ad litem could be appointed for an unborn fetus because it is not a “person” under Florida law. Thereafter, Jennifer Wixtrom (plaintiff) specifically requested that the trial court appoint her as the fetus’s guardian because J.D.S. lacked the mental capacity to care for the unborn fetus and that J.D.S.’s guardian might recommend an abortion. After Wixtrom’s motion for rehearing was denied by the trial court, she filed a notice of appeal. The trial court then entered an order stating that J.D.S.’s guardian created a plan stating that an abortion would not be performed on J.D.S. Wixtrom appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

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Concurrence (Orfinger, J.)

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Dissent (Pleus, J.)

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