FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66FCV-16-523] HONORABLE JAMES O. COX, JUDGE
Goff, Ark. Dep't of Human Services, Office of Chief
Counsel, for appellant.
W. GRUBER, CHIEF JUDGE
Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) appeals from the
circuit court's reversal of an administrative decision
placing Santino Salcido's name on the Child Maltreatment
Central Registry. The DHS Office of Appeals and Hearings
(OAH) dismissed Salcido's appeal due to his failure to
timely provide it with a copy of the final disposition of his
criminal proceeding. On Salcido's petition for review of
the administrative order dismissing his appeal, the circuit
court remanded for a hearing on the merits. We reverse the
decision of the circuit court and affirm OAH's order
dismissing the case.
April 2, 2014, a referral alleging the child maltreatment of
AP listed Salcido as the alleged offender. The investigative
agency determined the allegation to be true based on the
preponderance of the evidence. On July 1, 2014, notice of the
finding was mailed to Salcido, who timely submitted a written
request for an administrative hearing. OAH set the hearing
for September 4, 2014. Salcido subsequently obtained counsel.
Pursuant to his counsel's request, OAH granted Salcido a
continuance and reset the hearing for October 12, 2014, to
allow counsel to familiarize himself with the case.
the September hearing occurred, the parties learned that
criminal charges regarding the matter had been filed on June
12, 2014, and the OAH administrative law judge (ALJ) sent a
letter to Salcido's counsel staying the administrative
hearing pending resolution of the criminal charges. The
ALJ's letter dated October 13, 2014, stated the
Based on information provided to the Office of Appeals and
Hearings by CACD that a criminal charge has been filed
regarding the occurrence that is the subject of the
administrative hearing, the hearing is stayed. The
180 day time limit shall not apply during this stay.
Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 12-18-801, the hearing
is stayed pending final disposition of the charges.
It shall be your duty as the petitioner to
report the final disposition of the proceeding to this
office, including a file-marked copy of the disposition.
The administrative case will be dismissed and your name
will be placed on the Child Maltreatment Central Registry,
if you as the petitioner fail to provide a file-marked copy
of the final disposition of the criminal proceedings
within thirty (30) days of the entry of a dispositive
judgment or order.
At the expiration of one (1) year from the date the
criminal charge was filed, the stay will be lifted and the
case will be set for an administrative hearing if no final
disposition has been provided to the OAH.
A stay may only be extended after one (1) year upon a
written notice from the party requesting the extension that
the criminal proceeding is still ongoing. Please pay
careful attention to the reporting requirements
imposed on the Petitioner in this letter.
(Emphasis in original.)
February 24, 2016, over a year and a half after the criminal
charges had been filed, OAH sent a notice that a hearing had
been scheduled for May 5, 2015. A corrected notice was
emailed on March 8, 2016, with the correct hearing date of
May 5, 2016. On March 8, Salcido's counsel emailed OAH
stating that the criminal matter was still pending and it was
his understanding the administrative hearing could not
proceed until the criminal process was complete. After
checking Court Connect records for Salcido, OAH discovered
that Salcido's case had been "nolle prossed,"
at which point OAH emailed a request to Salcido's counsel
for the new criminal-hearing date.
April 21, 2016, Salcido's counsel emailed OAH indicating
that he had "just talked to the Circuit Clerk in Logan
County" regarding the criminal case and discovered that
it had been dismissed on August 7, 2015. He explained that he
had not been provided a copy of the order of dismissal until
that day. On May 3, 2016, the ALJ sent an email to
Salcido's counsel and DHS counsel notifying them that the
appeal was dismissed because a file-marked copy of the order
in the criminal case had not been provided to OAH within
thirty days of its filing, that the hearing was canceled, and
that he would promptly issue an order to that effect. An
order was issued the same day dismissing Salcido's appeal
due to his ...