In the Matter of JANE DOE III, A Minor Child Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age.
JOHN DOE I (2016-45), Respondent-Appellant. JOHN DOE and JANE DOE II, Husband and Wife, Petitioners-Respondents,
Opinion No. 54
from the Magistrate Court of the Third Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Frank P. Kotyk,
judgment of the magistrate court is affirmed.
Harden, Chief Public Defender, Caldwell, for appellant.
Christian Hardee & Davies, LLP, Boise, for respondent.
a parental rights termination and adoption case. John Doe I
("Father") is incarcerated. The magistrate court
held that it was in the best interest of Jane Doe III
("Child") that Father's rights be terminated so
that John Doe II ("Stepfather") may adopt her. We
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Doe II ("Mother") and Father are the natural
parents of Child. Mother and Father began living together in
2007, and Child was born in early 2008. Mother and Child
lived with Father until early 2011, when Mother and Father
separated due to continuous domestic violence perpetrated by
Father. Since her parents separated, Child has been in the
primary physical custody of Mother and has had minimal
contact with Father.
2011, Father was charged with second degree murder. In
November 2011, a jury found him guilty of second degree
murder and he was sentenced to a minimum of fifteen years
confinement, with a subsequent indeterminate period not to
Father was in jail awaiting trial, Mother and Child visited
him frequently. After sentencing, Father was transferred to
the Idaho State Correctional Institute in Boise. Mother and
Child visited him there once in September 2012. This was the
last physical contact Child had with Father. Shortly after
this visit, Father was transferred to a prison in Colorado.
In early 2016, he returned to the Correctional Institute in
Boise. Father made frequent phone calls to Child until 2013
when Mother, out of concern for Child, began restricting
calls to Child. Thereafter, Father sent a few letters to
Child, but has essentially had no contact with Child since
2013, Mother began dating Stepfather. In May 2015, Mother and
Stepfather were married. Mother and Stepfather have two
children together, and they, Child and their two children
live as a family in Nampa. Mother and Stepfather operate two
daycare centers in Nampa. Stepfather has acted as a father
figure to Child since he began dating Mother, and has had the
care, custody and control of Child since he married Mother in
2015. Stepfather loves Child and has normal parent-child
interactions with her. Although Child is aware that Father is
her biological father, she calls Stepfather "Dad."
Stepfather is willing and able to provide financial and
emotional support to Child.
February 2016, Stepfather, with the consent of Mother, filed
a pro se Petition for Adoption of Child. Father filed an
answer objecting to the petition and seeking dismissal of the
action. After obtaining counsel, Mother and Stepfather, as
co-petitioners, filed an Amended Petition for Termination of
Parent/Child Relationship and Adoption by Stepparent.
Thereafter, a trial was held and the magistrate court issued
its Memorandum Decision and Order. The court concluded that
Mother and Stepfather had proven by clear and convincing
evidence that Father would be incarcerated during Child's
entire minority and that it was in the best interest of Child
to terminate ...