People in Interest of E.B., 2022 COA 8

In this case, the Court of Appeals found that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied a request from father’s counsel for a continuance of the termination hearing.

In support of its holding, the Court relied on the facts in the record that the father had tried to get in touch with his attorney in advance of the hearing and that father was trying to log into the Webex hearing but was having technical difficulties. Although the trial court took a break during the hearing to allow father’s attorney to attempt to contact father, the attorney was unable to reach father, and the court resumed the hearing. Father was reportedly attempting to use the free Wifi at a gas station to attend the hearing by video but was asked to leave.

In People in Interest of R.J.B., 482 P.3d 519, 525 (Colo. App. 2021), the Court of Appeals held that a video termination hearing does not violate a parent’s due process rights when, among other things, accommodations are provided to ensure that a parent who wants to participate in the hearing may do so. In E.B., the Court explored the limits of the parent’s due process rights to participate in a video hearing, finding that the court should have granted the father’s request for a continuance once it determined that father wanted to participate but was having difficulties due to a lack of access to internet.

Note: A petition for certiorari on this case has been filed with the Colorado Supreme Court.

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