Monday, June 05, 2006

In Re Shirley K. (Cal. Ct. App. - June 5, 2006)

Interesting. I've read (as you might imagine) many opinions about where children should be placed (natural parents, relatives, foster parents, etc.). They are often -- indeed, usually -- depressing stories. And this one is certainly no exception.

But this one is fairly unique in the level of appellate distrust of the underlying social worker. Be sure to check out the last several pages of this (fairly short) opinion. Usually you see a lot of deference to the conclusions of the social worker, both in the trial court and on appeal. Not here. At all. Indeed, Justice McIntyre discusses at length why he -- and the rest of the panel -- are deeply suspicious of this particular social worker. Not for any nefarious reasons, mind you. But, nonetheless, it's obvious that the panel doesn't trust the social worker's objectivity, and, largely on that basis, reverses the trial court's judgment.

A fairly unusual opinion.