|A California appeals court affirmed the appointment of a guardian ad litem for a girl whose mother led police on a 12-minute high-speed chase with her 7-month-old daughter in tow, kept feces and urine in jars near the kitchen sink, and told relatives to address her daughter, Esmeralda, as "Andrew," writing the new name on the girl's stomach in felt marker.
Justice McKinster concluded that the San Bernardino County Court violated Marlene G.'s due-process rights by appointing the guardian ad litem, but said the violation was harmless, because Marlene would probably have lost her parental rights, anyway.
After the high-speech police chase, Marlene was arrested, declared competent to stand trial and jailed for child endangerment. She later refused to take antibiotics for a fever that could have spread to her infant daughter.
She told the county Department of Children's Services that "she was hearing voices telling her that others are trying to break into her home and kill her."
She also mentioned Esmeralda likes to eat peanut butter and chocolate, though relatives said she was feeding her daughter peanut butter mixed with feces.
A psychological evaluation revealed that Marlene "feels sad, thinks of death, has racing thoughts, has difficulty understanding what people say to her, has problems understand what she reads, and cannot find her way home from familiar places," the ruling states.
The court ruled that Esmeralda should be kept in state custody, because her mother continued to show signs of mental illness and refused to take psychotropic medications.