I recently appeared for a trial in a case. The Child Protective Services (“CPS”) worker was recommending that my client’s Family Reunification Services (“FR”) be terminated and that the case be set for a Welfare and Institutions Hearing (“WIC”) pursuant to section 366.26. At this hearing the CPS worker would be recommending that my client’s parental rights be terminated, and the children be adopted by the non relative foster parents.

So, in my opinion, this trial was going to be a BIG deal. At the calendar call, where only the attorneys are present, the court inquired how many witnesses I was planning to call. I responded that I had 7 witnesses, plus the social worker and my client. The response in the courtroom, including attorneys not even on the case, was surprise, with even a few chuckles. It was as if they thought that I didn’t know what I was doing. But I knew exactly what I was doing.

It was suggested that we cut the number of witnesses based on something called “stipulated” testimony. That’s where the attorneys agree in writing to what is going to be testified to by the witness. I usually never agree to this, and I rarely recommend it. And, I didn’t agree to it in this case. As a parents’ attorney, it is very rare for the County Counsel and CPS, and the minors’ attorney, to agree to the stipulated testimony.

It was also suggested that we just “argue” the case based on the CPS reports. That’s where the attorneys just argue the case without calling any witnesses. The problem with this is that Appellate Courts in California have ruled that an attorneys’ argument is NOT evidence. So just arguing leaves the clients with NO evidence presented on their part, CPS has their reports, so by definition, the parents will LOSE the trial.

I rejected both suggestions. Then an unusual thing happened. CPS decided to drop the part of the case completely against my client! And this part of the case included allegations that she sexually abused her kids, and that she allowed her then husband to sexually abuse the children. After reviewing about 4 hours of video interviews of the children, I got the feeling that the children had been coached to say some unbelievable things about their parents.

So the moral of the story is, if you’re going to trial…DO THE TRIAL. Call witnesses to the stand, present documentary evidence to the judge, and fight for your children. In very few instances should you ever agree to stipulated testimony or just argue on the CPS reports. Of course, this will be determined on a case by case basis. And yes, you should always listen to and evaluate the advice of your attorney.

By the way, even though CPS dropped the serious allegations against my client; she did not get the children back. There was another part of the case that was decided against her before she hired me. We are now working on that part of the case, and move towards getting the children back before her parental rights are terminated.


When you talk to me, Vincent W. Davis, you can be sure of one thing, that I am listening. Child Protective Services (CPS or DCFS) and your accusers have their story, and it is our job to make sure that your story is heard and we keep your family together. If your kids or grand-kids have already been taken, we will find the best and fastest way to reunite your family.

Call me personally - 888-888-6582 - I am waiting to hear your story now, to defend you and keep your family together or reunite you and your precious loved ones.

We Are Your Juvenile Dependency Lawyers and we are proud to serve    Los Angeles,   Orange,   Riverside,   San Bernardino , Ventura, and  San Diego Counties.

Email: v.davis@vincentwdavis.com


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