Submitted On Briefs: January 11, 2018
Richard Charest, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant Father.
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee
State of Maine.
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
The father of James C. Ill. appeals from a judgment of the
District Court (Lewiston, Dow, J.) terminating his
parental rights pursuant to 22 M.R.S. §4055(1)(A)(1)(a),
(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), (iv) (2017). He argues that the court
erred by finding by clear and convincing evidence that he is
unfit as a parent pursuant to section 4O55(B)(2)(b)(i), (if),
or (iv), and that it abused its discretion by determining
that termination of his parental rights now is in the
child's best interest. The court's findings that he
is unfit as a parent have support from competent evidence in
the record, and the court acted well within its discretion by
determining that termination of the father's parental
rights is in the child's best interest. We therefore
The court's findings concerning the father's
unfitness as a parent and its determination of the
child's best interest were grounded in the following
findings of fact from the termination hearing:
As for the father, the jeopardy order identified "risks
of serious physical harm, serious emotional harm and/or
serious neglect due to the father's extensive mental
health issues, patterns of domestic violence, impulse control
issues, and anger management issues."
In describing the incident that caused the mother to seek a
temporary protection from abuse order against the father, the
father blames the mother for the fact that he
"love-tapped her" on the back of the head because
"she pushed me to it"
The father described his history of "snapping" in
his relationship with the child's mother, with his own
mother, and with former job supervisors. He also complains
about service providers "not doing their job." In
the father's view, [the local hospital] messed up medical
care for [the child], necessitating the baby's move to [a
specialized hospital in] Boston. In the father's view,
[his initial] case management [provider] didn't do its
job, setting up med[ication] management services for him. The
[Court Ordered Diagnostic Evaluation (CODE)] evaluator failed
to work with him, DHHS failed to make referrals for him and
failed to return his calls, the visit supervisor failed to
get in touch with him, the driver didn't do his job, etc.
... [T]he father has developed no insight and has accepted no
responsibility for the jeopardy he poses to the child. His
testimony was one of the most offensive examples of domestic
violence blaming, denying, justifying, and minimizing that
the Court has ever heard
The father is unable to manage his own finances. He
acknowledges a history of impulsive spending. His father is
his representative payee for Social Security
At the time of trial, the father had only recently begun the
process of setting up case management through the hospital.
He was also looking for his own place, separate from his
alcoholic mother. The visit supervisor found that [the]
father had shown ...