Bobby and Judith Young, whose 13-year-old daughter turned them in for allegedly having an ounce of cocaine in the family's Tustin home, were cleared Monday of allegations that they are unfit parents.
The ruling by Orange County Superior Court Judge David O. Carter dismissing a petition filed by the county Department of Social Services means that Deanna Young, who was to begin ninth grade today at Tustin High School, can remain in the permanent custody of her parents.
"We're just all very happy to be all back together," said Judith Young, smiling broadly after the short Orange County Juvenile Court hearing in Orange.
Appearing composed but self-conscious, the couple had walked arm in arm through a pack of television cameras and reporters before entering the courtroom.
Bobby Young smiled when Carter announced his ruling. He smiled again when he was asked in the court parking lot how Deanna has been doing since Aug. 21, when a Juvenile Court referee ruled the blonde teen-ager could return home temporarily from Orangewood, the county children's shelter.
"She's doing fine," he said with a grin. "She's doing great."
It was the first time either parent had spoken to the media since Aug. 13, when their only child carried a bag containing cocaine with an estimated street value of $2,800, a small amount of marijuana and drug packaging material into the Tustin police station and said it belonged to her mother and father.
The family has been hounded by reporters from all over the country ever since, and at least 30 Hollywood producers have contacted their attorney.
Both parents have been staying at the home of friends, who they would not identify, and their attorney said neither has been able to return to work because of the media attention.
"It's been too much," the father said quietly.
Their attorney, Gary L. Proctor of Santa Ana, limited the couple's statements Monday, saying he was concerned about the criminal drug charges they still face.
Bobby Young, a 49-year-old bartender at a Santa Ana tavern who also runs a masonry business from the family's rented home, and his wife, a 37-year-old federal bankruptcy court file clerk, have been charged with possession of cocaine.
They were released from jail on their own recognizance and are scheduled to enter pleas Sept. 23.
But James J. Mulgrew, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, has said he may recommend the parents attend a drug diversion program, in which case the charges could be dismissed.