In the Matter of: Jane Doe II, A Child Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age.
JOHN DOE, Respondent-Appellant. JOHN and JANE DOE I. Petitioners-Respondents,
from the Magistrate Court of the First Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Bonner County. Barry E. Watson,
amended judgment of the magistrate court is affirmed.
Catherine E. Enright, Bonner County Public Defender's
office, Sandpoint, for appellant.
P. Featherston, Featherston Law, Sandpoint, for respondents.
an expedited appeal from a Bonner County magistrate
court's termination of the parental rights of John Doe
(Father) to his minor child (IW). John and Jane Doe I, the
maternal grandmother and step-grandfather (collectively
"Guardians"), filed a petition to adopt IW and
terminate Father's parental rights. Guardians alleged
that Father abandoned IW and that termination was in her best
interests. The magistrate court granted the Guardians'
petition, and Father timely appealed. We affirm the
magistrate court's amended judgment because there is
substantial and competent evidence to support its findings.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
eight years old. At the time of IW's birth, Father owned
a house in Vallejo, California, in which Father, Mother, IW,
and IW's maternal half-sister, MW, resided. Father and
Mother were regular drug users at the time of IW's birth.
was called upon to provide care for IW after she was born.
Late one evening, Grandmother received a call from an unknown
person stating that IW's parents had left IW with her.
Grandmother immediately drove to Vallejo and retrieved the
infant. Neither parent was present when Grandmother took
custody of IW. IW began residing with Guardians full time.
Shortly thereafter, IW's older half-sister, MW, who is
also the granddaughter of Grandmother, came to live with
was about six months old, Grandmother filed for legal
guardianship of both IW and MW, in Solano County, California,
listing step-grandfather as an additional guardian. The
California court granted the petition over Father's
objection. When the guardianship was granted, the California
court issued a written explanation of duties and obligations
for Guardians, which they acknowledged by signing the
document. Central to this case, the document contained a
provision which stated that Guardians did not have the right
to change IW's residence to a place outside of California
without the court's permission.
two months after the California court granted
Grandmother's guardianship petition, Father was arrested
on charges relating to sexual contact with MW. Following two
jury trials, both resulting in hung juries, Father pleaded
guilty to a Lewd Act upon a Child and was sent to prison.
incarcerated, Father filed for divorce from Mother. Custody
of IW was not addressed in the divorce decree as it was
"previously established" in the Guardians'
California guardianship case. Mother testified at the hearing
on the Guardians' petition at issue here that Mother and
Father's relationship was tempestuous. Mother accused
Father of domestic violence, testifying that he threw her
down steps and broke her arm. Mother also testified that she
pulled a shotgun on Father upon finding out that he was
abusing her daughter, MW.
was released from prison and placed on parole on March 31,
2014, when IW was three-years-old. There was no contact
between Father and IW between the time of his release from
prison and the time of the termination hearing except that
Father claims to have sent a drawing of angel wings to IW and
MW at the Guardians' last known address. The record does
not contain any evidence establishing whether the drawing was
November 2015, Guardians moved with IW to Priest River,
Idaho. There is no dispute that Guardians did not inform the
California court that they were moving, nor did they seek
permission from the court prior to moving, as was required by
the terms of the ...