Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In Re Jaheim B. (Cal. Ct. App. - Jan. 7, 2009)

Some family law cases are tough. Others, not so much.

In some ways, I appreciate the mother's honesty here. The father's in prison in Alabama and not scheduled for release until 2028. The state picks up the child when the mother, Bridgette, drops him off (unattended) in a parking lot 100 yards from a relative's house, a witness sees Jaheim running after Bridgette screaming "Mommy, mommy," and Bridgette gets into a car and drives away. Bridgette says she just can't handle the child anymore, which you already got a sense of from the mere fact that she drives away after leaving her child alone wailing for her in a parking lot. Plus, she admits that she's homeless and without a job, but is "making money in other ways," and doesn't want Jaheim alongside her when she's so occupied. And I can read between the lines as to what that means.

Bridgette is also depressed and occasionally suicidal. And she also elects not to attend the overwhelming majority of opportunities to visit or spend time with her child after he's picked up by the state, plus she says she wants to go back to Florida without him.

Which, in my mind, is icing on the cake. Judge Campos (down here in San Diego) takes the kid away from the parents, and while there's a very brief jurisdictional fight (whether California's the right place for adjudication vs. Florida), Justice McConnell doesn't take long to rightly hold that California's an entirely appropriate forum to solve this problem. Affirmed.