Dept. of Human Services v. D. J.
Case #: A154071
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Edmonds, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A154071.pdf
Juvenile Law: ORS 419B.875(2) provides in part that the rights of the parties include, but are not limited to the right to call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses and participate in hearings. A party’s right to participate includes the right to testify on the party’s own behalf.
Father appealed a judgment that changed the permanency plan for his daughter. Father and mother had a violent fight in front of their daughter and police were called. Officers found drug paraphernalia at the residence and both parents were arrested. On the date of the arrest, Department of Human Service (DHS) was called and took protective custody of the daughter. DHS offered the father services to regain custody of his daughter. Father actively participated in these services, but was arrested again in June 2012. In March of 2013 a permanency hearing was held. At the hearing, the trial court attempted to contact the father at the prison, but were unsuccessful. Father’s attorney objected to proceeding with the hearing in the Father’s absence. The trial court overruled the objection and concluded that the daughter’s permanency should be changed to adoption. Father appealed arguing that the lower court erred in continuing the hearing in his absence. The Court agreed and held that the trial court erred when it proceeded with the hearing in the Father’s absence and the Father was prejudiced by that error. Reversed and remanded.