Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State ex rel. Z.D.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

November 15, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF Z.D.

         APPEAL FROM JUVENILE COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2017-00095-01-NA-A, SECTION "A" Honorable Ernestine S. Gray, Judge

          Leon Cannizzaro DISTRICT ATTORNEY Scott G. Vincent ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY J. Taylor Gray ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY PARISH OF ORLEANS COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT/STATE OF LOUISIANA.

          Court composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Regina Bartholomew Woods.

          DANIEL L. DYSART JUDGE.

         The State seeks review of the juvenile court's ruling that the State did not meet its burden of proving Z.D. to be a child in need of care as to his father, J.B.[1]For the following reasons, we reverse.

         BACKGROUND:

         The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received a referral on March 15, 2017, that Z.D., two years of age, had been abused, neglected, and/or was a dependent child in need of care. The juvenile court issued an instanter order and Z.D. was placed in the State's custody. An investigation revealed that the child's mother was neglectful and abusive to Z.D., and that the child's father, J.B., was incarcerated in Texas.

         A continued custody hearing was held April 5, 2017, at which time the attorney for the father stipulated that DCFS had probable cause as to the father to place the child in the State's custody. On May 2, 2017, that State filed a child in need of care petition, and an answer hearing was held. The father's attorney entered a general denial to the allegations of the petition, except to admit that J.B. was Z.D.'s father. The juvenile court ordered that Z.D. remain in the State's custody, and set an adjudication hearing for June 6, 2017. On that date, Z.D. was adjudicated a child in need of care as to his mother only, and the adjudication as to J.B. was continued to June 27, 2017.

         On June 27, 2017, Tacarra Charles, an investigator for DCFS, testified that she had determined that J.B. was incarcerated in Texas, with a release date in 2027. She testified that she had not been allowed to speak directly with J.B., but rather had communicated with him through a prison employee. Based on those conversations, Ms. Charles determined that J.B. was unable to provide food, clothing and/or shelter for Z.D. Ms. Charles also testified that Y.B., J.B.'s mother and the child's paternal grandmother, contacted her to say she would care for Z.D. Unfortunately, she later withdrew her offer as she questioned whether the child was indeed her grandchild. Ms. Charles also testified that she identified other relatives of J.B., and attempted to contact them via telephone and certified or regular mail. All telephone numbers were disconnected and all mail was returned marked "return to sender." Ms. Charles admitted that she did not have any contact with J.B. after his mother refused to care for Z.D.

         On cross-examination, Ms. Charles testified that J.B. had given her a plan, the aforementioned placement with his mother. She also testified that he gave her other names. It is unclear if Ms. Charles looked for those persons, or if these are the same people she attempted to locate via telephone and mail.

         The juvenile court ruled that the State had not met its burden in proving that Z.D. was a child in need of care as to his father. This appeal followed.

         DISCUSSION:

         The State's sole assignment of error is that as J.B. failed to raise a contemporaneous objection to the hearsay testimony at the adjudication hearing, J.B. waived his right to object on appeal.[2]

         Before a juvenile court may adjudicate a child in need of care as defined by the Louisiana Children's Code, the State must allege and prove by a preponderance of the evidence one or more of the statutorily expressed allegations in La. Ch.C. art. 606 A. State ex rel. J.A., 99-2905, p. 11 (La. 1/12/00), 752 So.2d 806, 812. Further, the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.