Submitted On Briefs: January 17, 2019
P. Howaniec, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant father
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Meghan Szylvian, Asst. Atty.
Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee
Department of Health and Human Services
ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
Nicholas G. appeals from a family matter judgment entered in
the District Court (Biddeford, Dhscoll, J.) after a
judicial review hearing in a child protection matter. The
court dismissed the child protection matter without
prejudice, opened a family matter, and entered an order in
that family matter that conferred sole parental rights and
responsibilities for the child on the child's mother and
denied rights of contact to the father, who had been
convicted of multiple sex crimes against a child and of
possession of sexually explicit materials depicting children.
We dismiss the appeal from the child protection matter and
affirm the judgment entered in the family
The facts are drawn from the procedural record and from the
court's findings, which are supported by competent
evidence in the record. See 22 M.R.S. §
4036(1-A) (2017); Vibert v. Dimoulas, 2017 ME 62,
¶ 15, 159 A.3d 325. The child was born in May of 2003.
The Department of Health and Human Services petitioned for a
child protection order and preliminary protection order in
October of 2003 based on serious domestic violence by the
father against the mother and her sister. The court
[Foster, J.) signed an order of preliminary
protection on October 2, 2003, placing the child in the
custody of the Department.
The court (Janelle, J.) ordered a trial placement of
the child with her maternal grandparents, and in 2004, the
court [Foster, J.) held a hearing and found that the
child was in circumstances of jeopardy with each of her
parents. See 22 M.R.S. § 4035 (2017). In July
of 2006, the court entered an agreed-upon order granting
custody to the maternal grandparents and ordering that
parental reunification efforts cease and judicial reviews be
held only upon motion. See 22 M.R.S. §
A year later, the father moved for judicial review, seeking
visitation rights. In December of 2007, the court
[Mulhern, J.) held an evidentiary hearing and
ordered that any visits with the father be supervised.
In April of 2012, during a time of inactivity in the child
protection matter, the father was convicted of unlawful
sexual contact (Class A), 17-AM.R.S. § 255-A(1)(F-1)
(2017), sexual exploitation of a minor under age twelve
(Class A), 17-A M.R.S. §282(1)(C) (2010),  visual sexual
aggression against a child (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. §
256(1)(B) (2017), and sixty-five counts of possession of
explicit material of a minor under age twelve (Class C), 17-A
M.R.S. § 284(1)(C) (2010). The father committed the first
three charged crimes against a four-year-old girl whom he
babysat one night.
Four years after his convictions, in March of 2016, the
father moved for the appointment of counsel and for judicial
review in the child protection matter. The court [Foster,
J.) appointed new counsel and a new guardian ad litem.
Five months later, the father's counsel moved to withdraw
on the grounds that the father and counsel could not agree on
how to proceed and that the father had asked that he
withdraw. The court granted the motion and appointed new
counsel that September. When the court held a case management
conference in anticipation of judicial review in April of
2017, the father requested that his recently appointed
counsel withdraw and new counsel be appointed. The court
granted the motion, though it "could find no fault with
the representation [counsel] had provided."
A judicial review hearing was scheduled for July 9, 2018.
Just before that hearing, on June 22, 2018, the father's
counsel moved to withdraw on the grounds that the
attorney-client relationship had broken down and that the
father was seeking other counsel. The court [Duddy,
J.), noting a pattern of the father delaying the process
through his multiple requests for new counsel, denied
counsel's motion to withdraw on June 25, 2018.
The father, in a pro se pleading, moved to continue the
hearing and to appear by video. As grounds for the motion to
appear by video, he asserted that the county jail to which he
would have been transported refused to dispense necessary
medication and make "disability accommodations,"
though he offered no description of what specific medication
and accommodations he would ...