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In re Johnson

Supreme Court of Arizona

October 28, 1959

In the Matter of Jeffrey Richard JOHNSON and Charles Leo Johnson, III, Minors.

Rehearing Denied Nov. 10, 1959.

[86 Ariz. 298] Lewis, Roca, Scoville, Beauchamp & Linton and John P. Frank and A. Gordon Olsen, Phoenix, for Gene W. & Charlotte Blanpied.

Wade Church, Atty. Gen., Leslie C. Hardy, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., John Vanlandingham and Newman W. White, Asst. Attys. Gen., for Honorable Francis J. Donofrio, Judge of the Juvenile Court.

JOHNSON, Justice.

This is an appeal by Gene W. and Charlotte Blanpied from an order of the Juvenile Court of Maricopa County terminating an order previously entered declaring Jeffrey Richard Johnson and Charles Leo Johnson, III, to be dependent minor children.

The Attorney General of the State on behalf of the Judge of the Juvenile Court, filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the Blanpieds were not the real parties in interest and that the order dismissing the petitions was not an appealable order. It is necessary to consider the following facts to determine the merits of the motion.

Charles Johnson, who was born in 1946, and Jeffrey Johnson, who was born in 1949, are the issue of Charles Johnson, Jr., and Ann Johnson. In 1950 Charles Johnson, Jr., deserted his wife and children and they moved into the household of the aunt and uncle of the children, Gene W. and Charlotte Blanpied. Mrs. Blanpied is the sister of Charles Johnson, Jr. In 1952 the Blanpieds moved to Arizona where they established a home in which Mrs. Johnson and the minor children continued to reside.

Page 424

This living arrangement continued until later in 1952 when Mrs. Johnson went to California to work. It was mutually agreed that the minor children would remain with the Blanpieds, however, Mrs. Johnson returned periodically for visits with the children.

While residing in California Mrs. Johnson obtained a divorce from the father of the minor children and was awarded the custody of the children. Mr. Johnson was ordered to pay the sum of $125 per month to the mother of the children for their support, which amount was forwarded by her to the Blanpieds each month for the support and maintenance of the children.

On the 30th day of August, 1955, in an apparent attempt to secure the legal custody of the children Gene W. Blanpied filed verified petitions with the Juvenile Court of Maricopa County, alleging that the children were dependent and in need [86 Ariz. 299] of the care and protection of the Court. Thereafter the Juvenile Court directed the filing of the petitions and ordered the matter set for a formal hearing on the 11th day of October, 1955.

Thereafter as provided by A.R.S. § 8-222, a child welfare worker made a preliminary investigation of the facts surrounding the filing of the petitions and after interviewing Mrs. Johnson, reported to the court in writing as follows:

'* * * She (Mrs. Johnson) stated that her decision to place the physical custody of these children with Mr. and Mrs. Blanpied was no implication that she was not interested in the children, and that at some future time, she would want custody to be returned to her. She said that a plan had been thoroughly discussed between she and Mr. and Mrs. Blanpied. She pointed out that the children had had security and the advantage of a wholesome environment in their present home and she wished to plan to continue rather than have the children with her which would mean she would either have to provide babysitters or put them in the nursery while at her employment. * * * She, however, was very clear in stating that she did not want to place herself in a position that the children could not be returned to her * * *.'

The Juvenile Court on October 11th, 1955, after a formal hearing entered an order which provided in part as follows:

'Now, Therefore, It Is Ordered that Charles Leo Johnson and Jeffrey Richard Johnson are made wards of the Court and committed to the care, custody and control of Mr. and Mrs. Gene Blanpied of Phoenix, Arizona, subject to the protective ...


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