Monday, July 24, 2017

In Re A.C. (Cal. Ct. App. - July 21, 2017)

Your usual parental termination appeal typically involves horrible facts.  If there's a jurisdictional dispute, it often involves technical stuff about ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) notice.

But this one's different.  And I learned a couple of interesting things that I definitely didn't know previously.

For one thing, this one involves notice not to an Indian tribe, but to Mexico.  Okay.  Didn't know about such a process.  Makes sense.  Just never seen it before.  Since the mother (and children) had lived in Mexico for a fair piece, you want to make sure that Mexico hadn't already entered any orders about the kids or already established jurisdiction.  K.

But here's another thing I didn't know -- and was somewhat surprised to see.  I'm used to seeing ICWA notices, and they're almost invariably sent by mail.  But here, the court communicates (or at least attempts to communicate) with Mexican authorities by e-mail.  I didn't know we did that.

Mind you, it doesn't work.  They never respond.  And that's only after Mexican authorities refuse to pick up the phone after multiple calls.  But the concept of a judge firing off "official" e-mails sent to judges from other countries was definitely something I hadn't seen before.

One last thing.  I've obviously read thousands of cases involving deportations, including but not limited to parents (and children) deported to Mexico.  But I'm pretty confident that this is the first opinion I've ever read involving a parent who was deported from Mexico to the United States.

I'm sure that makes sense as well.  I'm sure there are some U.S. citizens in Mexico that Mexico doesn't want.  So, of course, Mexico has the right to kick them out.

I've just never seen it before.

You've got your usual depressing facts, of course.  Though at least here the intervention by the authorities -- or at least the U.S. authorities -- was fairly prompt:

"On May 21, 2015, Mother, who was born in California, was deported from Mexico to the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Her two sons, A.C. and E.C., were with her when San Diego Police Department officers responded to a call regarding a female (Mother) who might be unfit to care for her two children. On their arrival, the officers found A.C., then six years old, and E.C., then 15 months old, sitting on the ground with Mother. Mother appeared manic and confused about her detention and expressed irrational beliefs (e.g., she could communicate telepathically). Based on their belief Mother was gravely disabled and unable to care for herself and her two children, the officers detained Mother pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150 and transported her to a San Diego County mental health facility for evaluation."

Still.  Deportations from Mexico.  Definitely not used to seeing that.