Locating Missing Parents - Due Diligence Efforts Required Prior To Filing A Sade C. Brief.

Prior to filing a brief in accordance with In re Sade C. at the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, counsel must have made efforts to contact the client. If the original address provided for the client is no longer valid, counsel must search for the client. Because the Court in Division Three sends an order allowing the client to file a supplemental brief, the Court needs an updated address. Counsel will need to keep a checklist of efforts made. The following search efforts should be undertaken, as well as any others counsel believes may turn up a good address:

  • Check the background information sheet from both trial counsel and the client for addresses and telephone numbers listed, and call and write to them. If you call and leave a message, let the party know a collect call will be accepted. Convey the best time of day to reach you by telephone. When you write, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply.
  • Call the trial counsel, even if the case was a termination of parental rights. Trial counsel may know how to reach the client from past experience.
  • Review the social worker reports in the clerk's transcript. Included in the reports may be addresses or telephone numbers for family members to contact.
  • Call custodial institutions if the client is likely to be incarcerated. You will need to get the birth date from the record, usually available in the clerk's transcript from the screening summary or a social worker's report.
  • Call Prison Locators at (916) 445-6713 and give them your client's full name and date of birth. You will need to call county jails separately. Check our website for telephone numbers or ADI paralegals or administrative assistants may be able to provide it.
  • If your client is in the military, call the service involved.
  • If you think your client could be at an Immigration and Naturalization detention center for deportation, call the INS for information.
  • If all else fails, call Appellate Defenders, Inc. Be sure to have a list of all the search efforts you have made prior to calling.

Put this or a comparable check list in the file for each client and use it when it becomes necessary. If you are unable to contact your client when you are about to file a Sade C. letter, you should call the supervising attorney at Appellate Defenders, Inc., to let them know of the efforts you have made before you file the letter. We then can inform the Court of Appeal that efforts have been made to contact the client, and those efforts were not successful. That way, no attorney-client privilege is waived.


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