The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee IN the INTEREST OF R.J., M.J., and A.J., children, and Concerning G.J.J. and M.S., Respondents-Appellants.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
County District Court No. 18JV50, Honorable Thomas W. Ossola,
Patrick Coleman, Mesa County Attorney, Jeremy Savage, Chief
Deputy County Attorney, Grand Junction, Colorado, for
Tallant, Guardian Ad Litem
W. Dodd, Office of Respondent Parents Counsel, Berthoud,
Colorado, for Respondent-Appellant G.J.J.
Patrick R. Henson, Office of Respondent Parents Counsel,
Denver, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellant M.S.
1] In this dependency and neglect proceeding, G.J.J.
(father) and M.S. (mother) appeal the district courts
judgment adjudicating R.J., M.J., and A.J. (children)
dependent and neglected. Before addressing the merits of
their appeal, however, we must determine whether we have
jurisdiction. To answer this question, we must decide whether
a parent may appeal an adjudicatory order to this court
without first seeking district court review of a magistrates
later dispositional order. We decide that a parent may.
Having confirmed that we have jurisdiction over the appeal,
we turn to the merits of the parents challenge to the
adjudicatory order, reject that challenge, and therefore
2] The Mesa County Department of Human Services
(Department) filed a petition in dependency or neglect
alleging that the children lacked proper parental care and
that their environment was injurious to their welfare. Both
parents denied the allegations and requested an adjudicatory
jury trial. After a three-day trial, the jury returned a
special verdict finding the children dependent and neglected.
3] A magistrate later entered dispositional orders
as to both father and mother that continued out-of-home
placement for the children and adopted treatment plans for
both parents. Father asked for more time to file a petition
for review of the magistrates dispositional order with the
district court. The district court granted that request;
however, no petition for review appears in the record.
4] Father then filed a request with this court to
file his notice of appeal out of time. Therein, he observes
that while C.A.R. 3.4(b)(1) and section 19-1-109(2)(c),
C.R.S. 2018, read in combination, require a party to file a
notice of appeal of an adjudicatory order and designation of
transcripts within twenty-one days after the entry of the
dispositional order, C.R.M. 7(a)(11) requires a party to seek
district court review of a magistrates dispositional order
before seeking appellate review in this court. This, he says,
creates uncertainty, and he asks us to decide whether this
court has jurisdiction to review
an adjudicatory order when a magistrate later enters the
dispositional order but no one seeks district court review of
5] We ordered the parties to address in their
principal briefs the finality — that is, the
appealability — of the adjudicatory order. Mother then
filed a notice of appeal, asked that we accept it out of
time, and also asked ...