Dep't of Child Safety v. Beene

In Dep't of Child Safety v. Beene, 235 Ariz. 300, 303,6, 332 P.3d 47, 50 (App. 2014), the juvenile court, without considering the children's best interests, denied DCS's motion to preclude parents from calling their young children as witnesses at the termination adjudication hearings to confront and cross-examine them. Beene, 235 Ariz. at 303,5, 332 P.3d at 50. Although we recognized "parents have a due process right to challenge their children's statements received in evidence at a severance trial," we held that right is not absolute and must be weighed and balanced against the child's best interests. Id. at 302,1, 332 P.3d at 49. In determining whether Parents would be denied due process if they are not allowed to call their children as trial witnesses, the weighing and balancing of these factors is contextual and case-specific. Contrary to Parents' argument, however, the best interests of the children (including the potential harm to the children if required to testify at trial) properly may be considered in that weighing and balancing. If warranted by the facts and circumstances, that weighing and balancing may mean that Parents do not have a due process right to call their children as witnesses to confront and cross-examine them about the children's prior statements admitted in evidence at a severance trial. Id. at 307,19, 332 P.3d at 54.