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In re James C.

Supreme Court of Maine

January 23, 2018

IN RE JAMES C.

          Submitted On Briefs: January 11, 2018

          Richard Charest, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant Father.

          Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine.

          Panel: ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         [¶1] 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).[1] 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 affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] 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 ...

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