NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS
California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115. (Alameda County Super. Ct. No. JD03049601)
In this juvenile dependency proceeding, L.G. (mother) appeals from a March 6, 2019 order (March 6 order) denying her motion to compel the Alameda County Social Services Agency (agency) to provide discovery to her for no cost due to her indigency. Her sole argument on appeal is that "the agency's unreasonable refusal to provide indigent parents with discovery at no cost, and the juvenile court's refusal to require it to do so, is a violation of [her] right to due process." She requests that we reverse the March 6 order and remand the matter with instructions to the juvenile court to order the agency to provide her with the requested discovery at no cost.
However, while this appeal was pending, we filed our opinion deciding mother's petition for an extraordinary writ in which she challenged an April 17, 2019, order declaring the child a dependent, removing the child from mother's custody, bypassing reunification services, and setting a Welfare and Institutions Code section 336.26 hearing. (L.G. v. Superior Court (A157122, dec. July 25, 2019) [nonpub. opn.].) In her petition, mother sought a new dispositional hearing on the ground the March 6 order constituted prejudicial error. (Id. at pp. 1-2.) We decided that mother was not entitled to a new dispositional hearing because she had failed to demonstrate any prejudicial error in the March 6 order under either the test for state law error (see People v. Watson (1956) 46 Cal.2d 818, 836), or under the " 'beyond a reasonable doubt' " test (Chapman v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 18, 24) "applicable to denial of discovery that implicates the federal constitutional guarantee of due process . . . . [Citations.]" (L.G. v. Superior Court (A157122), supra, at p. 10.)
All further unspecified statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.
Once our opinion in the writ proceeding became final, our ruling operated as law of the case. "The law of the case doctrine states that when, in deciding an appeal, an appellate court 'states in its opinion a principle or rule of law necessary to the decision, that principle or rule becomes the law of the case and must be adhered to throughout its subsequent progress, both in the lower court and upon subsequent appeal . . . .' " (Kowis v. Howard (1992) 3 Cal.4th 888, 892-893; see also James B. v. Superior Court (1995) 35 Cal.App.4th 1014, 1018, fn. 3 ["the Legislature in section 366.26 cases intended . . . plenary review of the merits leading to a written opinion which is law of the case"], 1019 ["we conclude that law of the case is entirely relevant . . . as the issues surrounding the setting of a section 366.26 hearing are vital to the remainder of the case and must be binding on the parties in future proceedings to terminate parental rights" ].)
Because we have already held in our prior writ opinion that the March 6 order did not constitute prejudicial error, the doctrine of law of the case precludes us from reviewing mother's challenge to that order in this appeal. We therefore affirm the March 6 order.
We deferred until this time mother's request that we judicially notice certain juvenile court and appellate court documents concerning other cases in which appellants challenged orders denying motions to compel discovery at no cost to indigent parents. We now deny the request for judicial notice as unnecessary to the resolution of this appeal. --------
The March 6, 2019 order is affirmed.
Petrou, J. WE CONCUR: /s/_________
Siggins, P.J. /s/_________