Thursday, November 17, 2016

In Re Z.G. (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 17, 2016)

It's a testament to how depressing this opinion is that I'm not going to even recite everything that's there.

It was bad enough that one of the kids died.  The opinion begins by saying "Seven-month-old Junior died on March 9, 2015, while sleeping in a bed with Mother and Z.G. Mother found his body wedged between the bed, a pillow and a rolling portable desk. The coroner later determined Junior died from positional asphyxia, and ruled his death was an accident."

That's a tragedy.  How incredibly sad.

Only later in the opinion do you learn some additional details.

"An investigation into the circumstances of Junior’s death revealed that around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2015, Mother smoked methamphetamine after she returned home from a court ordered parenting class for the criminal case. Mother did not sleep at all that night or the next day.

About 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Parents put Z.G. and Junior in Mother’s bed for the night. They had another bed and a crib for the kids but often did not use them. Around 10:00 p.m., Mother smoked concentrated cannabis wax.

Around 1:00 a.m. on Monday, March 9, Mother and Father went to sleep in the bed with Junior and Z.G. Around 6:00 a.m., Father put Junior back in the bed, on his side, between Mother and the wall. Father woke Mother, told her both children were in bed with her, and then left for work. When Mother woke about 8:30 a.m. she found Junior face down at the end of the bed, purple and not breathing."

Yep.  Get done with parenting class and promptly smoke some meth.  Stay up for a couple of days straight strung out.  Bring yourself down with some wax.  Wake up with a dead kid.

Nor is this unusual.  "There had been numerous prior child abuse and neglect reports concerning the family, mostly pertaining to Mother’s substance abuse. For example, an August 2014 report noted Mother had used both methamphetamine and marijuana while she was pregnant with Junior."

All this is not only depressing, but makes what at first glace seems like a senseless tragedy into something that was, sadly, not entirely unpredictable.

That's today's story from a different part of Orange County than you see on cable television.