In re D.P.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA In re D.P., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. T.P., Defendant and Appellant. S267429 Second Appellate District, Division Five B301135 Los Angeles County Superior Court 19CCJP00973B January 19, 2023 Justice Liu authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Guerrero and Justices Corrigan, Kruger, Groban, Jenkins, and Cantil-Sakauye* concurred. * Retired Chief Justice of California, assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to article VI, section 6 of the California Constitution. In re D.P. S267429 Opinion of the Court by Liu, J. In 2019, T.P. (Father) and Y.G. (Mother) brought their infant son, D.P., to the hospital because they were concerned about excessive crying. A chest X-ray revealed that D.P. had a single healing rib fracture that the parents could not explain. In response, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (the Department) filed a dependency petition claiming that D.P. and his five-year-old sister, B.P., were at risk of neglect. After reviewing the evidence, the juvenile court dismissed all but one of the counts brought by the Department. The court found that it had jurisdiction over D.P. under Welfare and Institutions Code former section 300, subdivision (b)(1), finding that “[t]he child has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer, serious physical harm or illness, as a result of the failure or inability of the child’s parent or guardian to adequately supervise or protect the child . . . .” (All undesignated statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code; § 300 was amended, effective January 1, 2023, to include changes nonsubstantive to the issues here (Stats. 2022, ch. 832, § 1); unless otherwise indicated, we quote and analyze the 2023 version.) D.P.’s parents challenged this jurisdictional finding on appeal. While the appeal was pending, the juvenile court terminated its jurisdiction, finding that the parents had complied with their case plan and D.P. was no longer at risk. In response, the Court of Appeal dismissed the parents’ case, 1 In re D.P. Opinion of the Court by Liu, J. reasoning that because the juvenile court’s jurisdiction had terminated, the case was moot. We granted Father’s petition for review. We conclude that Father’s appeal is moot because Father, though asserting that the juvenile court’s jurisdictional finding is stigmatizing, has not demonstrated a specific legal or practical consequence that would be avoided upon reversal of the jurisdictional findings. We further hold that the Court of Appeal has discretion to review Father’s case even though it is moot. The Court of Appeal erred in reasoning that “[t]he party seeking such discretionary review . . . must demonstrate the specific legal or practical negative consequences that will result from the jurisdictional findings they seek to reverse.” (In re D.P. (Feb. 10, 2021, B301135) [nonpub. opn.].) We reverse the Court of Appeal’s judgment dismissing the appeal and remand for the court to reconsider Father’s argument …

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