RULE 7. JUVENILE LAW
7.1ADOPTION OF COMPETENCY STANDARD
This rule, Rule 7 of the Local Rules of Sierra County Superior Court, is adopted to comply with Rule 1438(a) of the California Rules of Court. (Eff. 01/01/09)
7.2GENERAL COMPETENCY REQUIREMENT
(a) All attorneys appearing in juvenile dependency proceedings must meet the minimum standards of competence set forth in these rules. These rules are applicable to attorneys representing public agencies, attorneys employed by public agencies and attorneys appointed by the Court to represent any party in a juvenile dependency proceeding.
(b) Every party in a dependency proceeding who is represented by counsel is entitled to competent counsel. [CRC 1438(b)] “Competent counsel” means a state bar member in good standing who is trained in the juvenile dependency law, and who demonstrates adequate forensic skills, knowledge and comprehension of the substantive law of juvenile dependency, the purposes and goals of dependency proceedings, and the procedures for filing extraordinary writ petitions. [CRC 1438(b)(1)]
(c) Attorneys are expected to meet regularly with clients, including children; contact social workers and other professionals associated with the client’s case; work with other counsel and the Court to resolve disputed issues without hearing; and adhere to mandated timelines. The child’s attorney is not, however, required to assume the responsibilities of a social worker or to perform services for the child unrelated to legal representation. [CRC 1438(b)(4)]
(d) All attorneys retained, assigned or appointed are required to adhere to the timelines and the procedures stated elsewhere in these rules or as provided by Statute of California Court Rules of Court for settlements, discovery, protocols and other issues related to contested matters. (Eff. 01/01/09)
7.3MINIMUM STANDARDS OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING; WORKLOADS
(a) Each attorney appointed in a dependency matter before the Juvenile Court shall complete the following minimum educational and training requirements:
(1) Eight hours of education and training in juvenile dependency law, covering such areas as child abuse and neglect; child development; domestic violence; or,
(2) Previous experience in dependency proceedings as determined by the presiding Juvenile Judge in which the attorney has demonstrated competence. A Certificate of Competency may be obtained from the Court Clerk. (Appendix A)
(b) A Certificate of Competency shall be completed by the attorney of record for the dependency matter and submitted to the Court within 20 days of his or her first appearance in a dependency matter.
(c) Failure to submit a Certificate of Competency will cause the Court to notify the attorney that his or her right to practice in dependency proceedings is revoked. The attorney shall have 30 days from mailing of the notice to submit a Certificate of Competency. If the attorney, after such notice, fails to submit a Certificate of Competency, the Court shall issue an order prohibiting the attorney from practicing in dependency proceedings.
(d) The attorney for a child must have a caseload that allows the attorney to perform the duties required by Welfare and Institutions Code § 317(e) and the California Rules of Court. (Eff. 01/01/09)
(a) The Court will only appoint counsel who have been certified by the Court to represent parents or children in the Juvenile Dependency Court.
(b) Billing shall be forwarded to the Court with appropriate documentation for approval. (Eff. 01/01/09)
7.5STANDARDS OF REPRESENTATION
Attorneys appearing in juvenile dependency proceedings shall meet the following minimum standards of representation:
(a) The attorney shall thoroughly and completely investigate the accuracy of the allegations of the petition or other moving papers and the Court reports filed in support thereof. This shall include conducting a comprehensive interview with the client to ascertain his or her knowledge of, and/or involvement in, the matters alleged or reported. The attorney shall contact social workers and other professionals associated with the case to ascertain that allegations and/or reports are supported by accurate facts and reliable information.
(b) The attorney is not required to meet, either directly or though an agent (e.g. an investigator), with a client who is incarcerated or committed out of Sierra County. If the attorney believes, however, that such contact is essential to representing the interests of the client, application may be made to the Court. The attorney shall advise the client of the possible course of action and the risks and benefits of each. This shall include advising the client of the risk and benefits of resolving disputed matters without the necessity of a hearing and of the necessity for adhering to Court-mandated timelines. (Eff. 01/01/09)
7.6PROCEDURES FOR REVIEWING AND RESOLVING COMPLAINTS
(a) Any party to a Juvenile Court proceeding may lodge a written complaint with the Court concerning the performance of his or her appointed attorney in a Juvenile Court proceeding. In the case of a complaint concerning the performance of an attorney appointed to represent a minor, the complaint may be lodged on the child’s behalf by the social worker, a caretaker relative or a foster parent.
(b) Upon receipt of a written complaint, the Court shall notify the attorney in question of the complaint, shall provide the attorney with a copy of the complaint, and shall give the attorney 15 days from the date of the notice to respond to the complaint in writing.
(c) After response has been filed by the attorney, or the time for the submission of a response has passed, the Court shall review the complaint and the response, if any, to determine whether the attorney acted contrary to rules or policies or has acted incompetently. The Court may ask the complainant or the attorney for additional information prior to making a determination on the complaint.
(d) If, after reviewing the complaint, the response, and any additional information, the Court finds that the attorney acted contrary to the rules or policies of the Court or incompetently, the Court shall take appropriate action.
(e) The Court shall notify the attorney and complaining party, either in writing or by oral ruling at a closed hearing, of its determination of the complaint. The Court’s determination will be final. (Eff. 01/01/09)
7.7PROCEDURES FOR INFORMING THE COURT OF THE INTERESTS OF A DEPENDENT CHILD
(a) At any time during the pendency of a juvenile dependency proceeding, any interested person may notify the Court that a minor who is the subject of the proceeding may have an interest or right which needs to be protected or pursued in another judicial or administrative forum.
(b) Notice to the Court may be given by the filing of Judicial Council form JV-180 or by filing of a declaration. The person giving notice shall set forth the nature of the interest or right which needs to be protected or pursued; the name and address, if known, of the administrative agency or judicial forum in which the right or interest may be affected; and the nature of the proceedings being contemplated or conducted there.
(c) If the Court determines that further action on behalf of the child is required, the Court shall:
(1) Authorize the minor’s attorney to pursue the matter on the child’s behalf;
(2) Appoint an attorney for the child if the child is unrepresented;
(3) Notice a joinder hearing pursuant to W & I § 632 compelling the responsible agency to report to the Court with respect to whether it has carried out its statutory duties with respect to the child;
(4) Appoint a guardian ad litem for the child for the purposes of initiating or pursuing appropriate action in the other forum(s);
(5) Take any other action the Court may deem necessary or appropriate to protect the welfare, interest and rights of the child. (Eff. 01/01/09)
(a) The discovery provisions of CRC 1420 are hereby adopted and incorporated.
(b) Pre-hearing discovery shall be conducted informally. Except as protected by privilege, all relevant material shall be disclosed in a timely fashion to all parties involved in the litigation.
(c) Formal Discovery. Only after all informal means have been exhausted may a party petition the Court for discovery. Any noticed motion shall state the relevancy and materiality of the information sought and the reasons informal discovery was not adequate to secure such information. The motion shall be served on all parties at least 5 judicial days before the hearing date. The date for the hearing shall be obtained from the clerk.
(d) Civil Discovery. In order to coordinate the logistics of discovery in dependency cases, there shall be no depositions, interrogatories, subpoenas of juvenile records or any other similar types of civil discovery without approval of a Judge of the Juvenile Court upon noticed motion.
(e) Case Records and Reports (CRC 1420). In contested proceedings, the social worker’s narratives and other relevant case records shall be made available to all counsel at least 10 calendar days before the hearing and any updated records 2 calendar days before the hearing. In all other cases, such documents shall be made available at least 2 calendar days prior to the hearing.
(f) Upon timely request, parents, guardians and de facto parents shall disclose to all other parties such non-privileged material and information within the parent’s, guardian’s, or de facto parent’s control that is relevant. (Eff. 01/01/09)
7.9PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE
Social study reports prepared by Children’s Services shall be made available to all counsel before the hearing in accordance with the following time limitations unless otherwise ordered by the Court:
(a) Jurisdictional and/or dispositional reports are due at least 48 hours before the hearing.
(b) Review of dependency status and status review reports are due at least 10 calendar days before the hearing.
(c) All other reports shall be due a reasonable number of days before the hearing but in no event less than 48 hours before the hearing.
(d) All proposed modifications to the petition shall be exchanged 48 hours prior to the jurisdiction hearing.
(e) If any discovery, reports or proposed modifications have not been made available to all counsel, then any affected party or the Court may request a continuance of the hearing to the extent permitted by law.
(f) The names of any experts to be called by any party and copies of their reports (if not part of a social study report prepared by Children’s Services) shall be provided to all counsel at least 10 days before the hearing unless a shorted time is ordered by the Court. (Eff. 01/01/09)
(a) A settlement conference shall be calendared and held prior to every contested hearing unless deemed unnecessary by the judicial officer setting the contested hearing.
(b) The attorneys and all parties shall be present at the settlement conference unless excused by the Court. All excused parties shall be readily available either in person or by telephone at the direction of their attorneys. A representative of Children’s Services with authority to settle cases shall be present at the settlement conference.
(c) Whenever possible, the Department of Child Protective Services shall prepare and provide to all parties a proposed Stipulation to Jurisdiction and Disposition to assist in resolving the case. (Eff. 01/01/09)
Attorneys for parties are required to adhere to the statutory timelines for all hearings. Time waivers will be accepted and continuances granted only on a showing of good cause.
(a) Detention Hearings. Detention Hearings shall be heard no later than the end of the next Court day after a petition has been filed (W & I § 315; CRC 1440)
(b) Jurisdiction Hearing. If the child is not detained, the hearing on the petition shall be begun within 30 calendar days from the date the petition was filed. If the child is detained, the hearing on the petition shall be begun within 15 Court days from the date of the detention order. (W & I § 334; CRC 1447)
(c) Disposition Hearing. If the child is detained, the hearing on disposition must be begun within 10 days from the date the petition was sustained. If the child is not detained, the disposition hearing shall be begun no later than 30 calendar days after jurisdiction is found. (W & I § 358; CRC 1451)
(d) Six-Month Review. The Court is required to review the status of every dependent child within six months of the declaration of dependency and at least every 6 months thereafter. (W & I §§ 364, 366, 366.21; CRC 1460)
(e) Twelve-Month Review. The Court is required to review the status of every child who has been removed from the custody of a parent or guardian within 12 months of the declaration of dependency. (W & I § 366.21; CRC 1461)
(f) Eighteen-Month Review. If the child is not returned at the 12-month review, the Court shall conduct a review no later than 18 months from the date of the original detention. (W & I §§ 366.21, 366.22; CRC 1462)
(g) Notice Of Intent To File Writ Petition. A Notice of Intent to file a petition for extraordinary writ shall be filed within 7 days of the date of the order setting a hearing under W & I § 366.26, with an extension of 5 days if the party received Notice of the Order only by mail. (CRC 39.1B)
(h) Petition For Writ. A petition seeking writ review of orders setting a hearing under W&I Code shall be served and filed within 10 days after the filing of the record in the reviewing Court. (CRC 39.1B)
(i) Response To Writ Petition. Any response to a writ petition shall be served and filed within 10 days after the filing of the writ petition or within 10 days of receiving a request for a response from the reviewing Court. (CRC 39.1B)
(j) Selection Hearing. Selection hearing for permanent plan shall begin within 120 days of the review at which reunification services are terminated and a hearing under W & I § 366.26 ordered. (W & I §§ 366.31, 399.22; CRC 1461, 1462)
(k) Notice Of Appeal. A Notice of Appeal shall be filed within 60 days after the rendition of the judgment. (CRC 39) (Eff. 01/01/09)
When juveniles are issued citations for infractions, they will be ordered to appear in juvenile court. (Eff. 01/01/09)
Infractions include those offenses defined in Penal Code §§ 19.6 and 19.8. (Eff. 01/01/09)
The Juvenile Court will require the appearance of the juvenile and at least one parent. For good cause shown, the parent’s appearance and/or the juvenile’s appearance may be excused. (Eff. 01/01/09)