IN THE MATTER OF THE TERMINATION OF THE PARENTAL RIGHTS OF:JANE DOE (2016-31), Respondent-Appellant.
December 2016 Term, 2016 Opinion No. 155
from the Magistrate Court of the Fifth Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, in and for Lincoln County. Hon. Jennifer
L.K. Haemmerle, Magistrate Judge.
judgment of the magistrate court is affirmed.
Pittard, Lincoln County Public Defender, Burley, argued for
T. Baird, Deputy Attorney General, Twin Falls, argued for
respondent Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
B. Lothspeich; Williams, Meservy & Lothspeich, LLP;
Jerome, argued for the Guardian Ad Litem.
an appeal out of Lincoln County from a judgment of the
magistrate court terminating a mother's parental rights
in her three children. The only issue on appeal is the
district court's denial of the appointment of a guardian
ad litem for the mother. We affirm the judgment of the
Lincoln County Sheriff took three children into shelter care
on July 10, 2013, pursuant to Idaho Code section 16-1608(1)
on the ground that the children were endangered in their
surroundings and that prompt removal was necessary to prevent
serious physical or mental injury to the children. On the
same day, the prosecuting attorney filed a petition under the
Child Protective Act ("CPA") and the magistrate
court appointed a public defender to represent the
children's mother ("Mother") and another public
defender to represent the children's father
("Father"). On the following day, the parties
stipulated that the children had an unstable home environment
and a lack of education, and on July 24, 2013, the court
entered an order placing the children in the custody of the
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
("Department") pending the adjudicatory hearing.
The adjudicatory hearing was held on August 21, 2013. Mother
did not appear, but her counsel was present as was the
children's father and his counsel. Based upon the
stipulation to certain evidence by the parties present and
the court taking judicial notice of two reports, the court
found that the children were within the purview of the CPA.
It ordered that legal custody of each of the children was
vested in the Department until each child's eighteenth
29, 2015, the Department filed a petition to terminate the
parental rights of Mother and Father. The evidentiary hearing
on that petition was held on March 29 and 30, 2016. On the
morning of the first day of the hearing, Mother's
counsel, Mr. Pittard, stated that Mother requested a
continuance because she did not feel she had had enough time
to speak with him. He also stated that he would like the
magistrate court to determine whether a guardian ad litem
should be appointed for Mother pursuant to Idaho Code section
16-2007(5). The magistrate court denied the requested
continuance and the appointment of a guardian ad litem. Based
upon the evidence presented during the hearing, the court
found that the parental rights of Mother and of Father should
be terminated on the ground that they each had neglected the
children and that termination of their parental rights was in
the best interests of the children. The court entered its
judgment on June 21, 2016, and an amended judgment on July
21, 2016. Mother timely appealed, but Father did not appeal.
The factual basis for the court's findings need not be
addressed because Mother has not challenged the court's
findings of fact and conclusions of law on appeal.
the Magistrate Court Err in Failing to Appoint a Guardian ...