Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In Re Helen W. (Cal. Ct. App. - April 24, 2007)

Sometimes you can tell the result of a case from the first few words of an opinion. Even if they consist of a straightforward, and neutral, statement of the facts.

So, for example, take this case. Where (after the introduction) the first three sentences read as follows:

"Helen was almost three years old and her little brother Matthew was two months old when they were detained in March 2004. The police found Helen eating cigarettes and Matthew lying face down on a dirty blanket; the apartment had dirty laundry piled in every room and numerous lighters within reach of the children. The mother was arrested for being under the influence of methamphetamine."

Given this predicate, it's hardly a devastating surprise that the first and final sentences of the opinion are: "Jamie W. appeals from the termination of parental rights to her children. . . . The judgment terminating parental rights is affirmed."