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In re A.S.L.

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 8, 2015

In the Matter of A. S. L., a Child. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Petitioner-Respondent,
K. L. and J. R. L., Appellants

Submitted May 8, 2015

Clackamas County Circuit Court 140858J. Petition Numbers 140858J01, 140858J02. Susie L. Norby, Judge.

Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, and Shannon Storey, Juvenile Appellate Section Chief Deputy, Office of Public Defense Services, filed the brief for appellant K. L.

Megan L. Jacquot filed the brief for appellant J. R. L.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, and Peenesh H. Shah, Assistant Attorney General, filed the brief for respondent.

Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Nakamoto, Judge, and Egan, Judge.


[272 Or.App. 218] ARMSTRONG, P. J.

Father and mother appeal a judgment in which the juvenile court asserted jurisdiction over their 16-year-old son. The substance of parents' appeal is that the juvenile court erred by entering the jurisdictional judgment because the Department of Human Services (DHS) had not properly served parents with summons, as DHS was required to do for the juvenile court to enter a jurisdictional

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judgment. DHS responds that parents were properly served under ORS 419B.823, positing that service of summons is adequate under that statute if it meets the requirements of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We conclude that parents were properly served with the summons and, consequently, that the juvenile court did not err in entering the jurisdictional judgment.

The relevant facts are procedural and uncontested. DHS filed a dependency petition, in August 2014, that alleged jurisdiction over the child. DHS alleged in the petition that parents were using controlled substances, that they were not providing the child with stable housing, that the child did not live in a safe environment, and that parents were not meeting the child's behavioral needs. Shortly after DHS filed the petition, father agreed to participate in a number of programs designed to improve his parenting skills. The state consequently moved to dismiss the dependency petition, and the juvenile court entered a judgment of dismissal.

DHS subsequently filed a second dependency petition, and the juvenile court held a shelter-care hearing. At that time, Garrett, the DHS caseworker assigned to child's case, submitted an affidavit stating that father was no longer participating in services, that someone had erected barriers to prevent people from reaching parents' home by car, that no one could be found at parents' home, and that someone had placed a handmade sign outside of parents' home stating, " Go Away. You're not Welcome. Bye!!! Be Gone! Keep Out!" DHS had also learned that the child had missed the previous week of school. Based on those and other facts, the juvenile court awarded DHS temporary custody of the child. Hoping to locate the child, DHS sent father an email note [272 Or.App. 219] at an email address at which father had previously communicated with Garrett. Father responded to the DHS note with an email note in which he said that he would not make the child available to DHS because " [w]e signed [the child's] custody over to someone else prior to [the shelter-care hearing,] which supersedes your court order."

When DHS was unable to find the child, it asked the juvenile court to issue a warrant under ORS 419B.842[1] for father's arrest.[2] Garrett gave the juvenile court additional information at a hearing on that request. First, she testified that she had not had any communication with parents since receiving father's e-mail note in which father had said that he would not cooperate with DHS. She also testified that there was evidence that parents were hiding the child in Goldendale, Washington-- viz., parents had used food stamps in Goldendale and one of the child's friends had told a school teacher that child had sent the friend a text message that said that the child was in Goldendale.

The juvenile court asked at the hearing whether DHS had served parents with summons in the case. DHS responded that it had not done that, which led the juvenile court to conclude that it lacked authority to issue an arrest warrant because father had not " actually been court-ordered * * * to do anything." Consequently, the juvenile court agreed to " issue an order directing [father] to appear before this Court with the child" so that if father " does [not] show * * * then I will issue a warrant." The juvenile court also directed DHS to send the order " via mail, first class and certified" and to " send a sheriff out [to parents' home] to try to serve personally, and post it on [father's] sign. * * * Then if he does [not] appear on the date and time set, we [have] given him the ...

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