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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.684. Contested hearing on petition

(a) Contested jurisdiction hearing (§ 355)

If the parent or guardian denies the allegations of the petition, the court must hold a contested hearing and determine whether the allegations in the petition are true.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Admissibility of evidence-general (§§ 355, 355.1)

Except as provided in section 355.1 and (c), (d), and (e), the admission and exclusion of evidence must be in accordance with the Evidence Code as it applies to civil cases.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective July 1, 1997.)

(c) Reports

A social study, with hearsay evidence contained in it, is admissible and is sufficient to support a finding that the child is described by section 300.

(1)The social study must be provided to all parties and their counsel by the county welfare department within a reasonable time before the hearing.

(2)The preparer of the report must be made available for cross-examination on the request of any party. The preparer may be on telephone standby if the preparer can be present in court within a reasonable time.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective July 1, 1997.)

(d) Hearsay in the report (§ 355)

If a party makes an objection with reasonable specificity to particular hearsay in the report and provides petitioner a reasonable period to meet the objection, that evidence must not be sufficient in and of itself to support a jurisdictional finding, unless:

(1)The hearsay is admissible under any statutory or judicial hearsay exception;

(2)The hearsay declarant is a child under 12 years of age who is the subject of the petition, unless the objecting party establishes that the statement was produced by fraud, deceit, or undue influence and is therefore unreliable;

(3)The hearsay declarant is a peace officer, a health practitioner, a social worker, or a teacher and the statement would be admissible if the declarant were testifying in court; or

(4)The hearsay declarant is available for cross-examination.

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective July 1, 1997.)

(e) Inapplicable privileges (Evid. Code, §§ 972, 986)

The privilege not to testify or to be called as a witness against a spouse or domestic partner, and the confidential marital communication privilege, does not apply to dependency proceedings.

(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective July 1, 1997.)

(f) Findings of court-allegations true (§ 356)

If the court determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the allegations of the petition are true, the court must make findings on each of the following, noted in the minutes:

(1)Notice has been given as required by law;

(2)The birthdate and county of residence of the child;

(3)The allegations of the petition are true; and

(4)The child is described under one or more specific subdivisions of section 300.

(Subd (f) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(g) Disposition (§ 356)

After making the findings in (f), the court must proceed to a disposition hearing under rules 5.686 and 5.690.

(Subd (g) amended effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective July 1, 1997.)

(h) Findings of court-allegations not proved (§§ 356, 361.1)

If the court determines that the allegations of the petition have not been proved by a preponderance of the evidence, the court must dismiss the petition and terminate any detention orders relating to the petition. The court must order that the child be returned to the physical custody of the parent or guardian immediately but, in any event, not more than two working days following the date of that finding, unless the parent or guardian and the agency with custody of the child agree to a later date for the child's release. The court must make the following findings, noted in the order of the court:

(1)Notice has been given as required by law;

(2)The birthdate and county of residence of the child; and

(3)The allegations of the petition are not proved.

(Subd (h) amended effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective July 1, 1997, and January 1, 2005.)

Rule 5.684 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as rule 1450 effective January 1, 1991; previously amended effective July 1, 1997, and January 1, 2005.

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