Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Aurora M.

Supreme Court of Maine

January 23, 2018

IN RE AURORA M. et al.

          Submitted On Briefs: January 11, 2018

         Augusta District Court docket number PC-2016-01

          Douglas F. Jennings, Esq., Walker & Jennings, PA, Hallowell, and the father personally, for appellant father

          Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee Department of Health and Human Services

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

          PER CURIAM

         [¶1] The father of Aurora M. and Juelz M. appeals from a judgment of the District Court (Augusta, E. Walker, J.) terminating his parental rights to the children pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(iv) (2017).[1] He contends that the guardian ad litem failed to satisfy his statutory obligations to conduct an in-person interview with the father and to notify the father's attorney that the father was incarcerated before the cease reunification order went into effect.[2] See 4 M.R.S. § 1554 (2017);[3] 22 M.R.S. § 4005(1) (2017). We disagree and affirm the judgment.

          I. CASE HISTORY

         [¶2] The court found by clear and convincing evidence the following facts, which are supported by competent evidence in the record. See In re Hannah S., 2016 ME 32, ¶ 3, 133 A.3d 590.

         [¶3] The father was the primary caregiver of the children before the Department took custody of the children in January 2016. He has a lengthy history of illegal drug use. When the children were in his care, he injected heroin at least four times a day and spent money on drugs instead of on basic necessities for the children. The Department offered to provide the father with a substance abuse evaluation and counseling, but he refused to participate, stating that he needed more serious in-patient treatment. He also blames his inability to pay even minimal fees and his lack of transportation for his inability to attend counseling.

         [¶4] The father has a lengthy criminal history and is currently in a maximum-security facility after assaulting another inmate with a padlock while in a minimum-security facility. He is expected to be released sometime during the summer of 2018. The father has a history of domestic violence against the children's mother, with many of the incidents being witnessed by both children. This has caused significant psychological damage to the children, who openly fear him; Aurora suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of witnessing the violence. The father shows no understanding of the serious damage his abuse and neglect have caused his children and has no realistic plan for caring for them in the future.

         [¶5] The father has done almost nothing to reunify with his two children. He has had minimal contact with his attorney, his probation officer, the Department, and the court since the children were removed and has never inquired about visitation or even how the children are doing. The father has failed to appear for court, and he has failed to notify the Department of his whereabouts and to notify his probation officer of address changes. The court stated that it "understands that recovery is not a sprint, but is, instead, a marathon. The problem is that Father still hasn't even approached the starting line in this race." The children need a permanent home now and cannot wait for the father to get his life in order.

          II. LEGAL ANALYSIS

         [¶6] "We review the court's factual findings for clear error, evaluated pursuant to the clear and convincing evidence standard of proof." In re Hannah ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.