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In re G.W.

Supreme Court of Montana

May 7, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF G.W. A Youth in need of Care.

          On Appeal from the Montana Eighth Judicial District of the State of Montana, in and for the County of Cascade, The Honorable Gregory G. Pinski, Presiding.

          DANIEL V. BIDDULPH, FERGUSON LAW OFFICE, PLLC, ATTORNEY FOR MOTHER AND APPELLANT

          TIMOTHY C. FOX MONTANA ATTORNEY GENERAL, C. MARK FOWLER, BUREAU CHIEF, APPELLATE SERVICES BUREAU

          JOSHUA RACKI CASCADE COUNTY ATTORNEY ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT

          BRIEF OF APPELLANT

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

          TABLE OF AUTHORITIES...............................................................i

         STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES...........................................................1

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE.............................................................1

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS............................................................3

         SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT......................................................8

         STANDARD OF REVIEW................................................................11

         ARGUMENT.................................................................................14

         I. THE DISTRICT COURT'S FACTUAL FINDING THAT G. W. WAS A YOUTH IN NEED OF CARE WAS CLEARLY ERRONIOUS SINCE THE FINDING WAS BASED ON AN ADJUDICATION HEARING AND TRIAL ADMINISTRATION ORDER WHICH VIOLATED S.W.'S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS BY LIMITING THE ADJUDICATION HEARING TO TWO HOURS, THE DAY OF THE HEARING, WITHOUT WARNING.........................................16

a. As a threshold inquiry, adjudication hearings invoke the same due process rights as termination
hearings........................................................................15
b. The decision to limit the adjudication hearing to two hours was based on the court's case load and therefore arbitrary and without employment of conscientious judgment in light of the facts of the case.............................................................................23
c. The violation of S.W.'s due process rights at the adjudication hearing resulted in a substantial injustice..........................................29

         CONCLUSION............................................................................33

         CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE....................................................35

         CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE..........................................................36

         APPENDIX.................................................................................37

         TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

         CASES

         In re J.M.,

         2009 MT 332, ¶ 29, 353 Mont. 64, 72, 218 P.3d 1213, 1219................ 15

         In re V.F.A.,

         2005MT 76, ¶ 6, 326 Mont. 383, 386, lO9P.3d 749, 751.................... 15

         In re J. C., 2008 MT 127, ¶ 39, 343 Mont. 30, 44, l83P.3d22, 32...................... 16

         In re A.N. W.,

         2006MT 42, ¶ 28, 331 Mont. 208, 130 P>3d619..............................16

         In re B.N.Y.,

         2003 MT 241, ¶ 28, 317 Mont. 291, 297, 77 P.3d 189, 193...................16

         In re Custody of M. W.,

         2001 MT78, ¶¶49 - 54, 305 Mont. 80, 93, 23 P.3d 206, 215................16

         In re JJ.L,

         2010MT 4, ¶ 17, 355 Mont. 23, 27, 223 P.3d 921, 924.......................16

         In re A.M.,

         2001 MT 60, ¶ 50, 304 Mont. 379, 22 P.3d 185 1..............................19

         Matter of A.B.,

         239 Mont. 344, 348, 780 P.2d 622, 625 (1989).................................19

         Fink v. Williams,

         2012 MT 304, ¶ 18, 367 Mont. 431, 291 P.3d 1140............................29

         City of Missoula v. Duane,

         2015 MT 232, ¶I5, ¶ 25, 380 Mont. 290, 355 P.3d 729........................31

         OTHER AUTHORITIES

         Montana Code Annotated

         §41-3-438(3)(a-h)................................... 13

...


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