BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 179
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          SENATE THIRD READING
          SB 179 (Runner)
          As Amended May 20, 2010
          Majority vote 

           SENATE VOTE  :32-2  
           
           JUDICIARY           10-0                                        
           
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          |Ayes:|Feuer, Tran, Brownley,    |     |                          |
          |     |Evans, Hagman, Jones,     |     |                          |
          |     |Knight, Monning, Nava,    |     |                          |
          |     |Huffman                   |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |     |                          |     |                          |
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           SUMMARY  :  Modifies service of process rules for an order for  
          termination of parental rights (TPR) by a referee in juvenile  
          court.  Specifically,  this bill  :    

          1)Permits service of the referee's findings and order, as well  
            as a written explanation of the right to seek review of the  
            order, to be made in court on a minor, parent, or guardian who  
            is present in court at the time the findings and order are  
            made.

          2)Requires the service of the referee's findings and order by  
            mail to the last known address of the parent or guardian, or  
            to the address designated by those persons, if they are not  
            present in court at the time the findings and order are made,  
            and requires the mailing to include the written explanation of  
            the right to seek review of the order.

          3)Requires service of the referee's findings and order by mail  
            to the parent's or guardian's counsel if the parent or  
            guardian does not have a last known address designated.

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Requires a referee, hearing a case assigned to him or her by  
            the presiding judge of the juvenile court, to furnish a  
            written copy of the referee's findings and order to the  
            presiding judge and, if the minor is 14 years of age or older  








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            or makes that request, to furnish a written copy to the minor  
            and serve a copy upon the minor's attorney.    

          2)Requires the referee to furnish the minor and the parent,  
            guardian, or adult relative, along with the referee's findings  
            and the order, a written explanation of the right of those  
            persons to seek review of the order by the juvenile court.  

          3)Requires that service of the referee's findings and order  
            pursuant to these provisions be made by mail to the last known  
            address of the minor, parent, guardian, or adult relative, or  
            to the address designated by such persons appearing at the  
            hearing before the referee.  

          4)Provides that a notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days  
            after the rendition of the judgment or the making of the order  
            being appealed, except that in matters heard by a referee not  
            acting as a temporary judge, a notice of appeal must be filed  
            within 60 days after the referee's order becomes final.   
            [California Rule of Court (Rule) 8.400(d)]

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None
           COMMENTS  :  This bill, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board  
          of Supervisors, would permit service of a parental termination  
          order, the referee's findings, and a written explanation of the  
          right to seek review of the order, to be made in juvenile court  
          on a minor, parent, or guardian who is present in juvenile court  
          at the time the findings and order are made by the referee.

          According to the author, "Although birth parents or legal  
          guardians are frequently present in court at the time the TPR  
          order is issued, current law requires the order to be mailed to  
          their last known address.  Allowing the court clerk the option  
          of personally serving the parents or guardians while they are  
          present in court will initiate the appeals process in a much  
          more timely way.  This modification is necessary to streamline  
          the TPR appeal process."

          This bill will only have an effect upon the appeals process in  
          cases heard by a referee who is not sitting as a temporary  
          judge.  This is because when the case is heard by a judge, there  
          is no requirement that the order be served in order for the  
          appeal period to begin running.  Instead, in cases heard by a  
          judge, the 60-day appeal period begins to run as soon as the  








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          judge rules from the bench, even if the judge does not sign the  
          written order until later.  (In re Ryan R. (2004) 122  
          Cal.App.4th 595, 600.)   

          This bill seeks earlier initiation of the appeals process, in  
          cases heard by a referee, without changing the length of the  
          appeal period itself.  It would accomplish this by facilitating  
          in-court service of the order and findings, when feasible, to  
          eliminate counting of 10 days that are otherwise allowed for  
          service by mail before the 60-day statutory appeal period is  
          deemed to start running.

          Under existing law, the appeal period in cases heard by a  
          referee is 60 days long and begins to run when the referee's  
          order becomes final, which is 10 days after the order is served  
          by the clerk unless an application for rehearing is filed within  
          that 10 day period.  (Rule 8.400 (d)(2); In re Miguel E. (2004)  
          120 Cal.App.4th 521, 538.)  Existing law provides that service  
          of the order and findings must be made by mail to the last known  
          address and service is deemed complete at the time of mailing.   
          (Rule 5.538(b)(3).)  Therefore, when the case is heard by a  
          referee, the appeal period is effectively 70 days from the date  
          the clerk mails the order, assuming that a rehearing is not  
          requested within 10 days.  

          This bill would alternatively permit service of the referee's  
          order and findings in court upon a minor, parent, or guardian  
          who is present in juvenile court at the time the findings and  
          order are made.  If the parent or guardian is immediately served  
          with the order and findings while still in court, then the  
          period for filing a notice of appeal would be effectively less  
          than 70 days because mailing would no longer be necessary.   
          Instead, under these circumstances the effective appeals period  
          in these referee cases would be precisely 60 days long, as  
          provided by existing Rule 8.400(d).

          Under existing law, if an application for rehearing is made and  
          later denied, the 60-day appeal period begins to run from the  
          date the referee's order was served, or 30 days after the order  
          denying the rehearing request, whichever is later.  (Rule  
          8.400(d)(3).)  If, pursuant to this bill, the order is served in  
          court rather than mailed, then calculation of the date that the  
          appeal period begins to run must be adjusted accordingly, i.e.  
          to no longer allow 10 days for service by mail.








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          Although in-court service of the order would help achieve the  
          author's objective of "initiating the appeals process in a more  
          timely way," on a practical level it is not known to what degree  
          court clerks are currently able to execute in-court service  
          before the parent or guardian leaves the courtroom.  This  
          ability could vary greatly between counties, depending on the  
          court's workload and number of cases it must hear each day.  To  
          successfully serve the order in court, the clerk must have  
          enough time to prepare the order, get the judge's signature, and  
          print the order out or copy it before the parent leaves the  
          courtroom.  The ability of the court to immediately serve a  
          parent or guardian at the time the order is made should improve  
          over time with advancements in court technology.
           
           The author has recently taken amendments that have successfully  
          removed previous opposition to the bill.  The bill as recently  
          amended does not decrease the length of the appeal period for  
          parental termination orders, but may initiate the appeals period  
          earlier in certain cases heard by a referee if in-court service  
          of the order is made.  There is currently no known opposition to  
          the bill.


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Anthony Lew / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 

                                                               FN:  0004861