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People ex rel. K.J.B.

Court of Appeals of Colorado, First Division

December 4, 2014

The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee, In the Interest of K.J.B., a Child, and Concerning K.B., Respondent-Appellant

Page 598

Park County District Court No. 13JV5. Honorable Stephen A. Groome, Judge.

Gale A. Drexler, Denver, Colorado, for Petitioner-Appellee.

Joanna K. Smith, Guardian Ad Litem.

K.B., Pro se.

Opinion by TAUBMAN, JUDGE, Terry and Richman, JJ., concur.

OPINION

TAUBMAN, JUDGE

Page 599

[¶1] K.B. (mother) appeals the judgment adjudicating her child, K.J.B. (child), dependent and neglected by default and the order denying her request for a jury trial. We reverse in part, affirm in part, and remand the case for an adjudicatory trial.

I. Background

[¶2] The Park County Department of Human Services (department) took the child into protective custody, placed the child with her father, and filed a petition in dependency and neglect. Mother denied the allegations in the petition and requested a trial to the court. The court entered a denial on mother's behalf and scheduled the requested trial to the court.

[¶3] Shortly thereafter, mother filed two written demands for a jury trial. The initial motion averred that counsel had discussed with mother both types of trials (court and jury) and that mother appeared to understand. However, the motion went on to state that mother now wished to have a jury trial, and she had not voluntarily waived her right to a jury trial. The court denied mother's request for a jury trial and her subsequent motion to reconsider.

[¶4] Until that point in the proceedings, mother had participated in all the hearings by telephone. However, the court ordered mother to personally appear for the adjudicatory trial.

[¶5] Mother failed to appear for the adjudicatory trial as ordered. Mother's counsel, however, appeared on her behalf. Nonetheless, the department requested that the court enter default judgment against mother for failing to personally appear. The court found that mother had chosen to cease cooperating with the proceedings and had attempted to delay the proceedings through manipulation. Then, without hearing evidence, it sustained the department's allegations under multiple provisions of section 19-3-102(1), C.R.S. 2014, and adjudicated the child dependent and neglected by default judgment. The court also adopted a treatment plan for mother.

[¶6] Mother now appeals the court's adjudicatory order. See § 19-1-109(2)(c), C.R.S. 2014 (order adjudicating a child dependent or neglected shall be a final and appealable ...


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