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State, Dep't of Health & Welfare v. Doe

July 6, 2010

STATE OF IDAHO, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & WELFARE, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
JANE DOE III, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Magistrate Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Bonner County. Hon. Debra A. Heise, Magistrate Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: W. Jones, Justice

2010 Opinion No. 78

The decision of the magistrate court is affirmed.

SUBMITTED ON THE BRIEFS

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case concerns the termination of parental rights of Jane Doe III (Doe). Doe is the biological mother of six children, five of whom are at issue in this proceeding. The children at issue are B.R., born 1999; K.R., born 2001; A.R., born 2002; D.R., born 2003; and M.K, born 2005. Doe's youngest child, J.K., is not part of this proceeding. The father of the four oldest children, B.R., K.R., A.R. and D.R., is Benjamin Ramirez (Ramirez), who consented to the termination of his parental rights and is not a party to this appeal. Parental rights of M.K.'s father, Anthony Cantelme (Cantelme), were terminated following the trial in the magistrate court, and he has not appealed. The father of J.K is Joshua Smalley (Smalley).

On January 17, 2006, four of Doe's children, B.R., K.R., A.R. and D.R., were removed from her custody and sheltered by the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare (the Department). A petition for legal custody was filed by the Department on January 19, 2006. A hearing before a magistrate court was held that same day, and the court entered an order of continuing shelter care and gave the Department legal custody of the children. Another hearing was held on February 15, 2006, and the court ordered that the children remain in the custody of the Department. The court also ordered that the parents and the Department develop a case plan to address the issues that led to custody by the Department so that the children may eventually be returned to their parents.

Doe and the Department formed a case plan for the reunification of Doe and her children. A case plan hearing was held on March 7, 2006, and the magistrate court entered an order approving and adopting the plan. Under the terms of the case plan, the children were to remain in the custody of the Department. Nevertheless, a review hearing was held on August 1, 2006, at which time the magistrate court ordered, with the recommendation of the Department, that custody of the children be returned to Doe. A written order was entered on August 16, 2006.

On November 1, 2006, the Department filed a petition for legal custody of five of Doe's children, B.R., K.R., A.R., D.R. and M.K. A hearing was held on November 28, 2006, and the magistrate court ordered that the Department have legal custody of the children. Also, the court ordered that the parents and the Department develop a new case plan.

Doe and the Department agreed upon a modified case plan. A hearing was held on December 20, 2006, and the magistrate court entered an order approving and adopting the plan. Under its terms, the children were to remain in the custody of the Department.

On March 6, 2008, the Department filed a motion to terminate the parental rights of the parents of B.R., K.R., A.R., D.R. and M.K. and vest legal custody of the children in the Department. Ramirez consented to the termination of his parental rights to B.R., K.R., A.R. and D.R., and the magistrate court entered an order terminating his rights. An amended petition was then filed on September, 18, 2008, for termination of parental rights of Doe to all five children and of Cantelme to M.K. Doe filed a motion to dismiss the petition. A trial was held for sixteen days between September 18, 2008, and February 19, 2009. On March 26, 2009, the magistrate court issued an order terminating the parental rights of Cantelme to his child M.K. and parental rights of Doe to B.R., K.R., A.R., D.R. and M.K.

Doe filed a notice of appeal on April 16, 2009, and then an amended notice of appeal on April 17, 2009, appealing from the order terminating her parental rights. Cantelme did not appeal.

II. ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the finding of the magistrate court that Doe had neglected her children within the meaning of I.C. § 16-2002(3)(b).

2. Whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the finding of the magistrate court that the Department had made a reasonable effort to reunify Doe with her children.

3. Whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the finding of the magistrate court that Doe had neglected her children within the meaning of I.C. § 16-2002(3)(a).

4. Whether the magistrate court ignored relevant evidence in the record. 5. Whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the finding of the magistrate court that Doe had been unable to discharge her parental ...


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