Ruling: Mother didn't waive rights by being late for hearing

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(Source: CBS 5/ 3TV) (Source: CBS 5/ 3TV)

A court ruling says a mother's tardiness for a hearing on severing her parental rights doesn't mean she skipped it altogether and waived some of her rights.

The Arizona Court of Appeals overturned a judge's decision to sever the mother's parental rights and ordered the judge to conduct a new hearing.

The judge had ruled that the woman couldn't testify and that her lawyer couldn't address some issues because the woman arrived 25 minutes after the hearing started.

Arizona law says parents who skip hearings can be deemed to have waived their rights and admitted allegations in severance petitions.

But the appeals court says being tardy isn't the same as not appearing and that the restrictions placed on the woman and her lawyer violated her constitutional rights to due process.

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