—– Forwarded Message —-
From: sarah s
To: Fit To Play
Sent: Tue, March 29, 2011 10:38:26 PM
I. BackGround. 5
II. Terminating PARENTAL Rights a Drastic Remedy. 6
A. Findings Can Be Challenged At Every Hearing. 6
B. SS Workers’ Subjective Opinions Not Evidence. 7
C. Parents’ Testimoney Under Oath Controls. 7
III. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel 7
A. IAC: Erroneous Taking Uncorrected by Counsel 9
B. IAC: Sham Taking Uncorrected by Counsel 10
1. SS Agency Actions Evince Sham Taking. 10
C. IAC: Family Dismemberment Unchallenged by Counsel 11
IV. Constitutional Due Process Violation: Unfair Hearing: Notice. 11
V. Discussion. 12
Defendant Sarah Sandy, “Sarah,” admittedly was the victim in an abusive relationship with Mr. Brian Garmon, “Garmon,” from May 2007 to July 1st, 2009. On learning Sarah was pregnant with their daughter, Brianna G., “Brianna,” Garmon demanded Sarah get an abortion, then responded to her refusal by pushing Sarah out of a slow moving car and then throwing a twelve pack at her. In the following days Garmon grew increasingly angry and hostile toward Sarah because she would not agree to get an abortion. On 07/01/2009, Sarah attempted to eliminate Garmon’s extant hostility and possible methamphetamine-fueled violence toward Sarah by telling Garmon to move out of her house. Garmon, 5’ 10” 200 lbs., responded by giving Sarah, 5’ 4” 127 lbs., a head butt.
Prior to the head butt, Garmon had been yelling at Sarah, so she had called Tammy, a neighbor, and told her she and Garmon were arguing. After seeing Garmon leave and the house remain silent, Tammy went to Sarah’s house and found Sarah unconscious on the floor. Tammy called the authorities and Sarah was taken to Redlands Community Hospital. Because Garmon had left, Sarah’s two children, Timothy, 2, and Mathew, 1, were left alone so Tammy requested she be allowed to care for the boys at her house until Sarah returned. The police and SS workers refused to allow Tammy to care for Sarah’s boys and they taken into SS Agency custody.
On waking, Garmon was sitting with Sarah and immediately apologized for head butting her and begged Sarah to say she had hit her head on a wall and knocked herself out. Garmon stated Sarah had to lie for him or he would go to prison for a long time and the baby would never have a dad. Disoriented on waking from a week long coma, and unaware of the dire consequences such an assertion would have on her family, Sarah told the doctor she had hit her head against the wall intentionally. Before doing so, however, Sarah made Garmon remove his cap and show the doctor a bruise on his forehead similar to the bruise on Sarah’s forehead, which Garmon accounted for by asserting he had hit his head on a wall, too. In fact, Sarah has never hit her head against a wall intentionally, nor has Sarah ever knocked herself out intentionally or accidentally.
Sarah eventually understood she had not been unconscious for an hour or so, but had lain in a coma for about a week. While under observation for a few days after waking, SS Workers visited Sarah at the hospital and informed her the children were in SS Agency custody. Sarah was informed she would not be able to even see her sons until she went to court a month later.
On realizing the consequences of lying to protect Garmon from criminal charges, Sarah attempted to explain the circumstances truthfully, but the SS Workers ignored Sarah. Sarah immediately contacted Garmon and ordered him to be out of her house by the time she was released from the hospital. Thus, Sarah has not cohabitated with Garmon since 07/01/2009.
SS Worker Deanna Peterson, “Peterson,” played a cruel game by repeatedly contacting Sarah prior to Brianna G.’s, “Brianna,” birth on 02/22/2010 and making inquiries regarding diaper supply and other baby necessities. Peterson’s calls seeking to ascertain Sarah had adequately provided for Brianna in her home led to Sarah’s having a reasonable belief Brianna would live at home with Sarah after her birth. However, Peterson and SS Worker Sheila Mecado, “Mecado,” visited Sarah at the hospital on 02/23/2010. Sarah was frightened at the presence of Peterson and Mecado at the hospital, in tears because she feared the SS Workers were there to take Brianna into SS Agency custody. Mecado told Sarah that Mecado was taking Brianna into SS Agency custody because Sarah was “too emotional.”
Sarah completely ended her relationship with Garmon by terminating all contact in December 2010 because Garmon sought to use his custody of Brianna to coerce Sarah into continuing a toxic abusive relationship with him. In early December 2010, Garmon contacted Sarah re: SS Worker Deanna Peterson had told him it would be in Brianna G.’s, ‘Brianna,’ the daughter of Sarah and Garmon, best interests for him to testify Sarah is / was an unfit mother. Garmon was concerned because he felt pressured to testify against Sarah falsely with his custody of Brianna at stake, as he neither wanted to risk losing custody of Brianna G., nor lie under oath.
Garmon then admitted he had contacted Sarah for assistance caring for Brianna because he was using methamphetamine and therefore unsure he could or would properly care for Brianna, 10 mos. Concerned for Brianna’s welfare of her baby, Sarah agreed to help Garmon care for Brianna only. Garmon agreed to refrain from attempting to reconcile with Sarah, but quickly reneged and pressured Sarah to reconcile with him. After about three weeks, Sarah’s steadfast refusal to reconcile resulted in an angry emotional outburst by Garmon, punctuated by a thrown plate. Sarah immediately left and ensured she terminated all contact with Garmon by changing her phone number to preclude his calling again.
Sarah has completed the PEP and parenting classes, counseling and 12 step program required by SS Agency, which gave her the tools to avoid falling back into the toxic relationship with Garmon, despite Garmon’s insistent pressure to reconcile with him. Sarah neither intends nor desires to ever reconcile or otherwise associate with Garmon. Sarah assures the court she will never allow Garmon to come near her or her children again after she regains custody of her children.
II. Terminating PARENTAL Rights a Drastic Remedy
“The right of a mother to raise her own children is so fundamental that the termination of that right by state action must be viewed as a drastic remedy to be resorted to only in extreme cases. (In re Carmaleta B., supra., 21 Cal.3d 482, 489.) It also must be found that severing the parental relationship “becomes the least detrimental alternative for the children.” (Id., at p. 489.) For these reasons, there must be clear and convincing evidence of the facts necessary to declare the minor free from the custody and control of the parent. (§ 232, subd. (c); In re Angelia P. (1981) 28 Cal.3d 908, 918 [171 Cal.Rptr. 637, 623 P.2d 198].) This “requires a finding of high probability. … [It requires] that the evidence be “‘so clear as to leave no substantial doubt”; “sufficiently strong to command the unhesitating assent of every reasonable mind.”‘” (In re Angelia P., supra., 28 Cal.3d at p. 919.)” In re Terry E. (1986) 180 Cal.App.3d 932, 949, 225 Cal.Rptr. 803.
A. Findings Can Be Challenged At Every Hearing
The requirement for repeated findings of detriment under the preponderance of the evidence standard is expected to protect against an erroneous result. Therefore, collateral estoppel effect should not be given, at a 12or 18-month review, to a prior finding of child abuse made at a jurisdictional hearing when the accused parents continue to deny that any abuse ever occurred and there is new evidence supporting their denial. Applying collateral estoppel would be inconsistent with California’s dependency scheme which considered as a whole affords parents “repeated” opportunities to challenge detriment findings to, among other things, diminish the risk of erroneous fact-finding. See Blanca P. v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1738, 1757-58, 53 Cal.Rptr.2d 687.
B. SS Workers’ Subjective Opinions Not Evidence
In Blanca P. v Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1738, 1755 n.13, 53 Cal.Rptr.2d 687, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Third Div., asserted SS Agency’s attempts to break up that marriage was one of the most disturbing aspects of that case since the public policy behind California’s statutory dependency scheme is family reunification, not family destruction.
It is an outrageous injustice to use the fact parents deny they have committed child abuse as proof that they did it. Blanca P. v. Superior Court, 45 Cal.App.4th at 1753. The subjective belief of the an SS Worker, or the Court, that a parent or parents lack understanding of their responsibility and their roles in the incident that brought their child or children to SS Agency’s attention is not clear and convincing evidence of a substantial danger to the child’s physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being. In re Jasmine G. (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 282, 289, 98 Cal.Rptr.2d 93. A reported “lack of cooperativeness and the hostility” perceived by the SS Worker as parent’s having incorrect ideas about social workers, government intervention in family life, and the whole juvenile justice “system,” things that do not sit well with social workers, is not clear and convincing evidence of a substantial danger to the child’s physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being when there is objectively measurable evidence such as the parent(s) disavowing corporal punishment under oath. Id., at 290. The courts applying the juvenile dependency laws enacted by the Legislature—do not need to reconcile one couple’s family values with the predominate mores of  Orange County. Ibid. The Fourth District Court of Appeal, Third Div., has twice in recent years admonished the Juvenile Court and SS Agency that the subjective opinions of SS Workers are not evidence. Blanca P., 45 Cal.App.4th at 1751-52; In re Jasmine G., 82 Cal.App.4th at 289-92.
Furthermore, the Court’s based its findings on SS Workers’ allegations completely unsubstantiated by objective evidence and the subjective opinions of SS Workers which are discredited as evidence as a matter of law in this appellate jurisdiction. See Blanca P. v Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1738, 1751-52, 53 Cal.Rptr.2d 687; In re Jasmine G. (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 282, 289-92, 98 Cal.Rptr.2d 93.
C. Parents’ Testimoney Under Oath Controls
In re Jasmine G. suggests a far less draconian solution than dismembering the family or the marriage may be implemented in this case at the soonest possible instance. John testified under oath at the 04/20/2005 hearing he had read some material which had convinced him corporal punishment was improper and he had determined not to use corporal punishment to discipline children. John’s testimony under oath suffices to constitute clear and convincing evidence the boys would not be subject to a substantial risk of detriment to their physical and emotional well-being if they lived at home with their mother, Sarah, notwithstanding the opinions of SS Workers to the contrary. See In re Jasmine G., 82 Cal.App.4th at 290.
The Court is compelled to relinquish its custody of Sarah S.’s children and release them from SS Agency detention so the children can return to living at home with their mother, in accord with the circumstances of this case, the decisional law of this appellate district and the public policy of the statutory dependency scheme.
III. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees a criminal defendant effective assistance of counsel as of right; nominal representation does not suffice to render proceedings constitutionally adequate. Evitts v. Lucey, 469 U.S. 387, 83 L.Ed.2d 821, 105 S.Ct. 830 (1985), reh. den.. 470 U.S. 1065, 84 L.Ed.2d 841, 105 S.Ct. 1783. The accused is entitled to “a reasonably competent attorney,” whose advice is “within the range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases.” McMann v. Richardson, 397 US 759, 770-71, 25 L Ed 2d 763, 90 S Ct 1441 (1970). If no actual “Assistance” “for” the accused’s “defence” is provided, then the constitutional guarantee has been violated. To hold otherwise “could convert the appointment of counsel into a sham and nothing more than a formal compliance with the Constitution’s requirement that an accused be given the assistance of counsel. The Constitution’s guarantee of assistance of counsel cannot be satisfied by mere formal appointment.” Avery v. Alabama, 308 US 444, 446, 84 L Ed 377, 60 S Ct 321 (1940). Mere physical presence of counsel does not fulfill entitlement to effective assistance of counsel. Javor v. U.S., 724 F.2d 831 (9th Cir. 1984).
The constitutional requirement of substantial equality and fair process can only be attained where counsel acts in the role of an active advocate in behalf of his client, as opposed to that of amicus curiae. Anders v. California, 386 US 738, 745, 18 LED2d 493, 87 S Ct 1396 (1967).
“Unless a record clearly reflects circumstances of judicial or prosecutional indifference, or harassment or prejudice to the defendant, and it most certainly does not in the instant case, we should defer to trial counsel’s decisions regarding the management of the trial for it is his responsibility to conduct it, and do so in a manner and according to standards which we have carefully prescribed very recently in People v. Pope (1979) 23 Cal.3d 412, 425, 152 Cal.Rptr. 732, 590 P.2d 859. Trial courts can be trusted to monitor the cases carefully, constantly sensitive and alert to any instances of abuse or overreaching.” People v. Johnson (1980) 26 Cal.3d at 585-86 (dis. opn. of Richardson, J.).
Constitutionally adequate assistance must be determined by a standard bottomed on the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 15 of the California Constitution. People v. Pope, 23 Cal.3d at 422. “The meaning of the Sixth Amendment does not, of course, vary with the sensibilities and subjective judgments of various courts. The law demands objective explanation, so as to ensure the even dispensation of justice.” (Beasley v. United States, supra, 491 F.2d at p. 692.)” Id., at 423.
An indigent defendant is entitled to the reasonably competent assistance of an attorney acting as his diligent conscientious advocate. Id., at 423-24. The objective standard for testing the constitutional adequacy of appointed counsel’s representation is counsel’s pretrial advice must be within the range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases, he must act as an active advocate in behalf of his client and his actions must conform to those of an ordinarily prudent lawyer. Ibid.
“The constitutional right to the adequate assistance of counsel suggests a focus on the quality of the representation provided the accused, while due process concerns itself with the fairness of the trial as a whole. “One may receive ineffective assistance of counsel even though the proceedings have not been a farce or mockery.” Indeed, a substantial portion of the obligation counsel owes is not directly connected with the trial but involves investigation and advice at pretrial and posttrial stages.” Id., at 423 [citations ommitted].
“Defense strategy and tactics which lawyers of ordinary training and skill in the criminal law would not consider competent deny a criminal defendant the effective assistance of counsel, if some other action would have better protected a defendant and was reasonably foreseeable as such before trial. Reviewing courts should avoid second-guessing counsel’s informed choice among tactical alternatives, but a defense attorney’s freedom to make such decisions is not without limits. Every person accused of a criminal offense is entitled to constitutionally adequate legal assistance. That right is denied if trial counsel makes a critical tactical decision which would not be made by diligent, ordinarily prudent lawyers in criminal cases. This is true even if the decision were not made from ignorance of the law or a fact.” Pope, at 424 [citations ommitted].
[W]here the record shows that counsel has failed to research the law or investigate the facts in the manner of a diligent and conscientious advocate, the defendant has been deprived of adequate assistance of counsel. Pope, at 425-26 [citations ommitted]. “In order to render reasonably competent assistance, a criminal defense attorney should investigate carefully the possible grounds for seeking the suppression of incriminating evidence, explore the factual bases for defenses that may be available to the defendant, and otherwise pursue diligently those leads indicating the existence of evidence favorable to the defense. [cites] An important part of defense counsel’s job is to seek exclusion of evidence that is critical to the prosecution’s case or that is highly prejudicial. [cites]” In re Jones (1996) 13 Cal 4th 552, 582, 54 Cal Rptr 2d 52, 917 P2d 1175.
O.C. Superior Court Rule 907 § D, Standards of Representation, states:
All attorneys appearing in dependency proceedings shall meet the following minimum standards of representation:
1. The attorney shall thoroughly and completely investigate the accuracy of the allegations of the petition or other moving papers and the court reports filed in support thereof. This shall include conducting a comprehensive interview with the client, * * * and obtaining such other facts, evidence or information as may be necessary to effectively present the client’s position to the juvenile court.
Both Local Rule 907(D), W&IC § 317.5 and the Supreme Court recognize something more is required from appointed counsel than an impersonation of a car pool dummy. “Absent competent legal counsel, a parent facing dependency proceedings is very disadvantaged, from being thrust into a distressing and disorienting situation while lacking knowledge of the practice of juvenile law, unlikely to aid the court in reaching a well-informed, correct decision, which would be contrary to the best interests of the child and the parent’s constitutional right to parent.” IN RE EMILYE A. (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 1695, 1710-11, 12 Cal.Rptr.2d 294.
A. IAC: Erroneous Taking Uncorrected by Counsel
The failure of the parties to object to the Court’s jurisdiction does not relieve the Court of the duty of ascertaining from the record whether it can properly take or retain jurisdiction of an action. The rule is inflexible and without exception in requiring the Court of its own accord to deny its own jurisdiction in all cases where such jurisdiction does not affirmatively appear in the record on which, in the exercise of that power, it is called to act. Carden v. Arkoma Associates, 494 US 185, 190, 108 LED2d 157, 110 S Ct 1015 (1990). “[S]ubject matter jurisdiction cannot be conferred upon a court by consent, waiver or estoppel” nor can “unclean hands” confer jurisdiction where it does not exist. In re Marriage of Ben-Yehoshua (1979) 91 Cal.App.3d 259, 263, 268, 154 Cal.Rptr. 80.
The various provisions of § 300 generally apply when children are abused by parents’ intent or neglect (inflicted nonaccidentally, willfull or negligent failure, etc.). § 300(b) does cover children placed at substantial risk of suffering serious physical harm or illness due to the inability of the parent to provide regular care for the child due to the parent’s mental illness. Sarah would concur that a person who intentionally renders themselves unconscious by striking a wall with their head is likely to suffer a mental illness. However, nowhere does § 300 state or imply the statute covers children of crime victims rendered unconscious by their assailant and therefore temporarily unable to care for the children through absolutely no fault of their own, as in the factual circumstances of the case at bar.
Sarah’s appointed counsel, Frank Cosimo, D.P.D., has known from the beginning of this litigation that Sarah’s sons were taken into SS Agency custody consequent to Gorman head butting Sarah into a coma for a week on Sarah ordering Gorman to leave her home because she wanted to avoid any further physical violence from Gorman due to his increasing hostility to her pregnancy. Cosimo has also known Sarah only covered for Gorman by stating she had knocked herself out by intentionally hitting her head against a wall because Gorman concealed SS Agency had taken custody of Sarah’s children and she could not imagine such a statement could result in permanently losing custody of her children.
B. IAC: Sham Taking Uncorrected by Counsel
Statutory and decisional dependency law clearly instructs courts dependency rulings must separate children from offending parents while granting custody to the non-offending parents. Therefore, unless the Court agrees with SS Agency’s preposterous proposition that Sarah is the offending parent who committed domestic violence when Garmon put her in a coma with a head butt when attempting to terminate their abusive relationship by ordering Garmon to leave her home, the Court committed gross error in granting custody of Brianna to Garmon, the offending parent. The Court has essentially victimized a victim of domestic violence by taking her children away for being a domestic violence victim and rewarded the offending parent, the perpetrator of the domestic violence, while placing the child, Brianna, in harm’s way. The Court is compelled in the interests of justice and the welface of baby Brianna to immediately correct its error by rescinding its current custody order and grant Sarah custody of Brianna forthwith in accord with the facts and law of the case.
1. SS Agency Actions Evince Sham Taking
It has long been recognized in this state that a court has inherent power to dismiss an action when it is shown to be sham, fictitious or without merit in order to prevent abuse of the judicial process. Lincoln v. Didak (1958) 162 Cal.App.2d 625, 630, 328 P.2d 498. It is undeniable that false accusations of child abuse do happen. See Blanca P. v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1738, 1752-53, 53 Cal.Rptr.2d 687.
SS Agency took custody of Sarah’s baby, Brianna, to avoid the possibility Sarah jeopardizing Brianna’s physical and emotional health and welfare by exposing Brianna to domestic violence through Sarah’s associating with the offending parent, Garmon. SS Agency then gave custody of Brianna to Garmon, though SS Agency was aware Garmon was the offending parent in the domestic violence incident that resulted in the children being in SS Agency custody. It appears SS Agency’s ongoing detention of Sarah’s children includes an element of spite, as evinced by SS Agency seeking to deny Sarah custody of her children at all costs, including giving custody of the children to the offending parent in contravention of the law and public policy of the State.
C. IAC: Family Dismemberment Unchallenged by Counsel
The legislative intent is to encourage reunification with the biological parents, Christina K. v. Superior Court (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 1463, 1466, 229 Cal.Rptr. 564, as codified in W&IC § 300.2 (The focus shall be on the preservation of the family as well as the safety, protection, and physical and emotional well-being of the child.) Therefore, public policy mandates there must be good faith efforts to reunite the family. Christina K., 184 Cal.App.3d at 1468, because reunification is the goal. Ibid.
“Our society does recognize an “essential” and “basic” presumptive right to retain the care, custody, management, and companionship of one’s own child, free of intervention by the government. (See, e.g., Stanley v. Illinois (1972) 405 U.S. 645, 651, 31 L.Ed.2d 551, 558-559, 92 S.Ct. 1208; Lassiter v. Department of Social Services (1981) 452 U.S. 18, 27, 68 L.Ed.2d 640, 649-650, 101 S.Ct. 2153; Civ. Code, §§ 232 et seq., 4600, subd. (c), 7000 et seq.; Welf. & Inst. Code, § 361 et seq.) Maintenance of the familial bond between children and parents—even imperfect or separated parents—comports with our highest values and usually best serves the interests of parents, children, family, and community. Because we so abhor the involuntary separation of parent and child, the state may disturb an existing parent-child relationship only for strong reasons and subject to careful procedures.” In re Kieshia E. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 68, 76, 23 Cal.Rptr.2d 775; 859 P.2d 1290.
IV. Constitutional Due Process Violation: Unfair Hearing: Notice
“While a criminal trial is not a game in which the participants are expected to enter the ring with a near match in skills, neither is it a sacrifice of unarmed prisoners to gladiators.” U.S. v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648, 657, 80 L.Ed.2d 657, 104 S.Ct. 2039 (1984). “A fair trial in a fair tribunal is a basic requirement of due process. Fairness of course requires an absence of actual bias in the trial of cases. But our system of law has always endeavored to prevent even the probability of unfairness.” Aetna Life Insurance v. Lavoie, 475 U.S. 813, 829, 106 S.Ct. 1580, 89 L.Ed.2d 823 (1986). “When notice is a person’s due, process which is a mere gesture is not due process.” MULLANE, 339 U.S. at 315.
“Notice, to comply with due process requirements, notice must be given sufficiently in advance of scheduled court proceedings so that reasonable opportunity to prepare will be afforded, and it must “set forth the alleged misconduct with particularity.” * * * The “initial hearing” in the present case was a hearing on the merits. Notice at that time is not timely; and even if there were a conceivable purpose served by the deferral proposed by the court below, it would have to yield to the requirements that the child and his parents or guardian be notified, in writing, of the specific charge or factual allegations to be considered at the hearing, and that such written notice be given at the earliest practicable time, and in any event sufficiently in advance of the hearing to permit preparation. Due process of law requires notice of the sort we have described–that is, notice which would be deemed constitutionally adequate in a civil or criminal proceeding. It does not allow a hearing to be held in which a youth’s freedom and his parents’ right to his custody are at stake without giving them timely notice, in advance of the hearing, of the specific issues that they must meet. GAULT, 387 U.S. at 33-34.
“A judgment is void for lack of jurisdiction of the person where there is no proper service of process on or appearance by a party to the proceedings. This fundamental principle of jurisdiction applies to juvenile dependency proceedings.” In re B. G. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 679, 688-89, 114 Cal.Rptr. 444, 523 P.2d 244. “In order for a social study to be admissible, due process requires that each party, (a) receive a copy of the report, (b) be given an opportunity to cross-examine the investigative officer and to subpoena and examine persons whose hearsay statements are contained in the report, and (c) be permitted to introduce evidence by way of rebuttal.” Malinda S., 51 Cal.3d at 382. In fact, WIC § 302(b) imposes a statutory requirement on SS Agency and its agents to give parents notice of all proceedings and copies of all SS Agency reports intended to be filed at the hearing, prior to the hearing.
The Court’s xxx is further undermined by the Court’s employing family dismemberment as the first and only solution to the possibility of the boys being subject to a substantial risk of detriment to their physical or emotional well-being if allowed to live at home because that solution in the first instance violates t
The Court is compelled by In Re Jasmine G., 82 Cal.App.4th at 290, to accept Sarah’s testimony under oath that she did not knock herself unconscious by hitting her head against a wall, but was put in a coma by Garmon’s head butting her. The Court is also compelled by In Re Jasmine G., Id., to accept Sarah’s testimony under oath that the children’s emotional and physical health and welfare would not be jeopardized by living with Sarah because Sarah will not associate with Garmon or allow Garmon contact with her children. The Court is compelled by In Re Jasmine G., Id., to accept Sarah’s testimony under oath that she has learned to recognize and avoid abusive relationships, so the children will never be exposed to domestic violence again. The Court is also compelled by In Re Jasmine G., Id., to only consider facts substantiated by objective evidence and ignore the subjective opinions of SS Workers because the subjective opinions of SS Workers are not evidence as a matter of law.
RE: Timothy and Matthew Sandy/Brianna Garmon Family Case
Thank you for courtesy in researching and responding to my concerns.
As you requested, this is a written summary of my case.
My case originated in July, 2009, in San Bernardino County . By September, 2009, the County of San Bernardino ‘s Family Court had prepared a Reunification Plan designed to bring me back with my children Timothy and Matthew. From that point until December 4, 2009, I was in compliance with the San Bernardino County reunification plan.
On December 4, 2009, a change of venue for my Reunification Plan was accepted by the County of Orange . At that time, my case was transferred to Deanna Peterson, Special Unit Investigator, Orange County Social Services. At that time I was pregnant, and Ms. Peterson advised me of the possibility of my losing custody of my daughter at birth, which was expected to be January 28, 2010. My understanding was that if I remained in full compliance and cooperation with the Reunification Plan, I would be allowed to bring Brianna home upon release from the hospital.
In the month of February, I had not yet given birth. Ms. Peterson contacted me to ask whether I was prepared for the baby. I confirmed to her that I had prepared a room for the baby and was fully prepared to bring Brianna home as soon as she was born. She complimented me several times on how I was doing with the Reunification Plan, and informed me that she had contacted a case worker from the Bridges Program, who was to assist me in bringing Brianna home.
I gave birth to Brianna Faith Garmon at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach on February 22, 2010. She was healthy, weighed 6 pounds and 12 ounces, was 19 inches long, and assessed with a 9 on the apgar test. She was a full-term baby with no complications who had full-time prenatal care. I called Ms. Peterson the hospital to notify her that Brianna was born.
On February 23, 2010, the foster parents of Timothy and Matthew brought the boys to the hospital to greet their newborn sister. At that time during the visit, Sheila Mecado, an Orange County social worker, and Deanna Peterson came to visit the baby as well (that is, while the boys were present with me). They sent the boys and foster parents out of the room and did not allow any guests in the room while they talked to me. It was my impression at that time that Brianna would be coming home with me. Ms. Peterson voiced her opinion that it was in Brianna’s best interest to come home with me. Ms. Mecado walked outside to make her final decision about Brianna’s placement. When she returned, she told me that she had decided it would not be in Brianna’s best interest to come home with me. However, Brianna was removed from my care later that day as I remained a patient in the hospital.
On February 24, 2010, an emergency T.D.M. hearing scheduled. The father brian Garmon and I both attended. Brianna was placed in Orangewood Children’s Center. On February 25, 2010, Brianna was placed in a Brianna emergency foster home (with Gracia). I had asked then for visits with my daughter Brianna, and Gracia made continuous excuses for not meeting my needs to visit with my daughter. At 9 a.m. that day I personally appeared in a court hearing to determine where Brianna would be placed. The judge ruled that I would be allowed eight (8) hours of visitation a day, seven (7) days a week. The judge also ruled that I would be allowed to breastfeed. I contacted Gracia so I could visit Brianna, but Gracia said she was busy. I contacted Gracia daily after that, and she told me each day that she was busy. I was unable to see Brianna for three days because of Gracia’s refusal to cooperate with my visitation rights. Note: While in Gracia’s care, Brianna developed a serious case ,mof thresh, which reflected poor care and neglect.
Without my knowledge or consent, Gabriela Quillen (Brianna’s Orange County Social Services worker) and Brian Garmon (Brianna’s biological father) prepared Joni Garmon, Brian’s sister-in-law, placed at Ms. Garmon’s home. Gabriela contacted me and asked me if that would be okay. I agreed at that time contingent upon her agreement that she would respect the visitation that had been granted to me by the court, and told her it was important to me that the boys have regular time with their baby sister every week.
By March 9, 2010, Joni was out of compliance visitation agreement we had established, which was less time than the court awarded me because I trusted Joni to take care of Brianna. I had thought she respected the time I had to visit with my daughter. I felt that Gabriella quillen as well had no respect for the court order that allowed me to have visits with my daughter and often sided with joni and brian garmon..
I tried to work with gabriella to mange the situtation durring the time Brianna was in Jonis care, as a result in that all parties could not come to an agreement with visitaion even at 2 times a week.
On april 20th 2010 Gabreilla called me at approximatly 5:00 pm to inform me that the very next morning Brianna would be placed in a new foster home, at that time i felt that gabriella should have mediated the situation between joni and I and put Briannas best interest into consideration and defused the situation beytween joni and i, which i was more then will to cooperate with joni so that she would keep Brianna in her care. I feel many times that gabriella feed the tension between Brian joni and I. durring the conversation I asked gabriella about the foster parents which she has no information about to give me and left me worried. Gabriella then informed me that joni and spoke with them and the placement worker and i would meet them the next day. As a direct result of that I was very upset worried and full of fear and did not go into my very important parinatel classes due to the extreme stress that whole sudden situation had put me under.
On april 21st 2010 Brian and I met at starbucks to exchange the baby to the new foster home. there were to orange county social service workers there durring this time. It was my impression by gabrielle that the most crucial reason to change homes for brianna was to allow me my visitaion.At the time of intruduction with alice the new foster care provider i made a deatail schedule for her of my availabilty and locations for visits and we had came to an agreement at the time, as so did Brian make his own schedule with her. we had all came to an agreement at the time April 21st 2010 at starbucks on garfield and beach social workers involved were,,, the placement worker and monitor and gabrielle has the names of those two county workers involved,
in april 22nd day one of my first visit with baby after the new placement we were to have visit at boyson park in anaheim with the boys who have not seen sister in a month.
Al ice did not call nor show and did not answer any of my phone calls.
on april 23 2010 at 930 at night she has called me and told me gabrielle has to approve visits and would not further honor the court visiataion plan untill further notice with gariella who happened to be absent from her office at that time for the next 4 days.
I felt at that time cheated tricked and very mislead. and as i felt when i first met alice the new care provider with her dirty filtly car and with a very distant attitude all my fear of deceit came to. Another deep worry I had for my daughter brianna garmon as she was placed in alices care, is the filth of the old car seat used for brianna by alice it was very neglected and not well maintained or cleaned, i had asked alice how old the car seat was and she had no clue, i then asked her if that car seat had ever been in an auto accident again she had no clue. please contact choc hosp car seat rules and classes for details on car seat safety and government requirements and standards.
it took gabriella more then 5 days to go investigatealice home where the baby was placed. i had deep concern it was dirty as everything was only at min. requirements for a child.
Alice had stated she was only aloowed 50 dollars a month allowance to buy the thing brianna would need through a month . for a new born baby that awakened me to deep concern.
when i was in contact with alice i asked her the agency’s name she is with so i can look into it myself and due some research on statistics and so forth of that agency, she would not give me the correct name, i didnt feel comfortable the way she mislead me, she also refused to give me the name of her direct social worker, As this is a reunification plan i thought we could all work together and be on the same page so no more misunderstandings would occur.
I had made gariella fully aware of my needs and requirements for the care provider of my daughter. I asked that we could meet the visit needs and expressed my understanding of everyone involved to be in compliance and that if there were times of emergencies or tardies that would be ok. I wanted to be able to communicate and know how my baby was developing as she growns for the first years are crucial. that can be varrified through olive crest parenting programs and pediatricians . I was really hoping to find a caring foster home that would treat my daughter like the angel she was to her father and I and provide the best for her menatlly emotionally and all the true ways a beautiful healthy new born should be treated. this foster home requires min. allowance and feeds my daughter water instead of formual which is dangerous to her kidneys. i was allowed to breastfeed my daughter and gabriella would not enforce the judges desicion, water is dangerous for babies please look up the information by oc physicians. and enfamile also offers the healthy advice for you to research.
i have been kept away from my new born baby only allowed to see her max 2 hours a day once a week … when the jusdge ordered me an allowance of 7 days a week up to 8 hours a day. some times only seeing her every other week on many occations.
I love my baby brianna faith garmon. her father loves her dearly as well, We only want the best for all our children and strive to make that possible, we welcome social service interuption and have taken our case plan very seriously to better our family. we are more then willing to be in full compliance and do what ever is asked of us. as a mother who just gave birth to her brand new baby girl, i am begging you to take into consideration a crisp program or anything to have her with me.
I am sadden by the little investigation that took place on feb 23rd when brianna was removed from the only constant she had, her mothers voicel. her mothers milk. no true investigation was involved, just the matter of opionnion form someone that did not know me.
they did not know me as a healthy memeber of sociady and a loving mother willing to go the lentghs for her children. they did not know me as a business women bor a meneber of my church that taught children the words of the lord.
i have had 2 child abuse alligations brought up against me for brianna when she isnt even in my care and i feel that is harrassement by the foster care agaency and is so inconsederate that i am still greiving fighting the rights to see my new baby and that she never got home.