Florida Supreme Court hears immigrant juvenile’s dependency appeal

The Florida Supreme Court heard the case of OICL v. Department of Children & Families today. From Gavel to Gavel: Click the image or here for video.  Transcript: View Related Transcript (PDF) [still pending as of the time this was posted]   Summary: Palm Beach County — A Guatemalan teenager who entered the United States in early 2014 was […]

The scope of collateral estoppel between TPR and dependency cases

The posture of this case is complicated by previous appeals and the fact that the multiple children are differently situated. But here’s the gist: the Department brought a TPR petition against the mother and failed to prove the case. Florida law permits a judge to make a finding of dependency at the end of a TPR […]

Another PCA on how to close a case

This one is very technical, too. The court terminated supervision and left the child with an uncharged father. Mr. Colbert argues that the court should have weighed the child’s best interest in determining whether to close the case. (The trial judge apparently said on the record that it would be in the child’s best interest to keep the […]

Post-blogging a case on violations of withholds.

I’m a little behind in my video posting. This appeal is very technical. Kevin Colbert is arguing on behalf of a mother who received a withhold of adjudication. At some later time, she was found intoxicated (without the child present). The court violated the withhold and entered an adjudication and removed the child(ren) from her […]

Florida Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

(Oral argument here. Previous posts here and here.) When I watch this argument I see a traumatized court. Death penalty litigation, where the Strickland standard developed, is hard on everyone involved. And while termination of parental rights is often called the “death penalty of family law,” it has certainly never been given anywhere near the same level […]

Court orders DCF to pay for pro bono attorney’s travel costs. Appeal ensues.

This oral argument arises out of the pro bono representation of an extremely young girl–the parties say 11 years old at one point–placed in a lock-down residential treatment center out of state. The child’s attorney requested funds to visit the child in the other state. The court ordered DCF to pay for it, under the theory […]

Is an attorney ad litem a guardian ad litem?

This oral argument arises out of a termination of parental rights case in which the trial court appointed an attorney to “represent the best interests of the child.” The Guardian ad Litem Program had announced that it had a conflict and could not represent the child because it was already appointed to the child’s mother, who […]

This TPR should be reversed, but it probably won’t be

It’s Friday and there’s not much to say on this one. Mr. Joyce (for the mother) is right that the Three or More Removals TPR ground in Section 39.806(1)(l) is almost blatantly unconstitutional without some saving nexus construction, but the argument wasn’t preserved below in this case and it sounds like there were other grounds available […]