Precedent Setting Cases

Rich has written briefs in 73 published opinions in state and federal cases. Some of the most important cases are:


Suzanne J. v. Superior Court (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 1165 and Suzanne J. v. Superior Court (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 785, this case involved a parent who was painted as being completely incompetent. However, the mother has been able to regain a relationship with her children despite the early findings.

Blanca P. v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1738, where a father was found to have molested his daughter and the family was about to be terminated. Additional information indicated the father might not have done what he was accused of doing, and when new information can question the dependency court’s earlier findings, a parent could be entitled to a new trial.

Jonathan M. v. Superior Court (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 1234, CPS cannot condition visitation with an incarcerated parent based on an arbitrary distance.

In re Cliffton B. (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 415, when parental rights are terminated and siblings have a relationship and are not placed together, the children must have independent counsel in litigating sibling visitation.

In re Matthew P. (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 841, a de facto parent has a due process right to request a change of a court order and a fair hearing regarding that request. In re Cesar V. (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 1023, CPS often does not want to place foster children with extended family, this case makes it clear that not only is placement with family a priority, but CPS cannot deny that placement, the decision
has to be made independently by the court.

In re S.D. (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 1068, a dependency petition cannot be sustained for abandonment if the inmate can make arrangements for care of their child. Additionally, challenging ineffective assistance of counsel can be raised in an appeal if the record is sufficient.

In re Suzanna L. (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 223, the Indian Child Welfare Act applies in a stepparent adoption. In re C.C. (2002) 111 Cal.App.4th 76, the doctrine of disentitlement can be raised
in a dependency case.

In re Zeth S. (2003) 31 Cal.4th 396, California Supreme Court case stating new evidence outside the record cannot be considered in a child dependency appeal. In re K.D. (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 1013, when a dependency court orders a guardianship, the guardian can live out-of-state but the court must maintain jurisdiction to ensure visitation with the parent.

In re M.R. (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 269, a mother’s parental rights to two younger children and established guardianships to her two older children, the court was required to make a visitation order for the mother and older children.

In re David M. (2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 822, one of the first marijuana/dependency cases finding removal for marijuana use was not appropriate when the parent
could still parent adequately.

In re Shirley K. (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 65, a grandparent could request return placement even after parental rights had been terminated and the court is not limited to reviewing CPS for an abuse of discretion but instead can review the Agency’s post-termination placement within the context of the child’s best interests.

In re Christopher L. (2006) 143 Cal.App.4th 1326, a child over the age of 12 can object to the termination of parental rights.

In re Lauren R. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 841, the relative placement preference did not apply to adoption of minor if not applying the caretaker preference would be seriously detrimental to child’s emotional well-being.

In re Hadley B. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 1041, CPS Can amend a dependency petition to include evidence of incidents occurring outside of the county. In re Brandy R. (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 607, a writ petition stays terminating parental rights until the opinion is issued but the juvenile court can proceed without the remittitur.

In re Neil D. (2007) 155 Cal.App.4th 219, the juvenile court can order a dependent child’s mother to complete in-patient drug treatment program.

D.M. v. Superior Court (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1117, clarified procedures for a report when a child can be both a dependent and a ward of the juvenile court.

Rodriguez v. Superior Court (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 1461, four year old’s mother died during surgery, and despite not timely opting out of the arbitration clause, the child was entitled to a jury trial in a medical malpractice suit.

In re S.A. (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 1128, a child in a dependency case can invoke the psychotherapist-patient privilege and the court has discretion to exclude the therapist’s prehearing statements.

In re A.C. (2011) 197 Cal.App.4th 796, dependency exit order must state sufficient visitation for the non-custodial parent.

In re F.A. (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 107, a dependency court has authority to forbid CPS from removing a child from successor foster parents’ home and placing child with initial foster parents.

In re K.M. (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 450, when ICWA is appealed from the termination of parental rights, the juvenile court lost jurisdiction during the pendency of the appeal and CPS could not render the appeal moot by correcting its errors.

In re Miguel S. (2016) 248 Cal.App.4th 164, CPS did not make active efforts to secure tribal membership for the children.

In re Ray M. (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 1038, a juvenile criminal court, even if it is in another county, where the juvenile also has an open child dependency case, notice must be given to the attorneys in the open case.

Criminal & Parole cases

In re Dalton (2002) 98 Cal.App.4th 958, the Fifth Amendment was violated when the court initiated the defendant’s testimony in the presence of the jury.

In re Barker (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 346 the parole violated the inmate’s due process rights because parole was denied solely on the unchangeable facts of the commitment offense.

In re Gray (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 379, Governor’s February 8, 2007 decision finding Gray unsuitable for parole shows that the Governor relied upon evidence which was not before the 2005 Board, including, (1) the district attorney’s opposition to Gray’s parole before the 2006 Board, and (2) the 2006 Board’s finding that Gray was unsuitable for parole based upon the gravity of the offense
because the motive for the crime was “ ‘simply inexplicable.’ ”

Butz v. Mendoza-Powers (2007) 474 F.3d 1193, federal case held a life inmate could have a new habeas corpus hearing.

In re Montgomery (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 930, one of the first cases that questioned the Parole Board and Governor’s authority to routinely deny parole despite apparent rehabilitation. This was the first (of several) times a request to hold Governor Schwarzenegger in contempt for not releasing an inmate in a timely manner pursuant to a court order.

In re Vasquez (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 370, the inmate’s commitment offense of second degree murder did not demonstrate unfitness for parole.

In re Loresch (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 150, in no uncertain terms, the appellate court chastised Governor Schwarzenegger for not listening to the Parole Commissioners he appointed who only grant parole on a limited basis.

In re Prather (2010) 50 Cal.4th 238, California Supreme Court case that addressed the proper scope of a remand order when a court concludes that the Parole Board’s decision to deny parole was not supported by some evidence and violated the inmate’s right to due process.

In re David (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 675, a victim’s next of kin has no standing to request the parolee reside 35 miles away.

In re Sanchez (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 962, the inmate need not adopt the official version of the crime to be paroled.

People v. Swanigan (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 1, the inmate need not admit guilt to be paroled.

People v. Zamarripa (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 1179, defined the term “prior conviction” in a Proposition 47 case.

In re William Ilasa (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 489, a denial of a sentence reduction for a non-violent second strike inmate is appealable and the inmate is entitled to due process because he has a liberty interest in the sentence reduction.

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