Monday, June 21, 2010

"In Re A.B....... Simplified

I asked Human Services and Corrections staff coordinator, Jennifer Strus, to give a quick interpretation on the results of our win in A.B.S. (Note: If I asked myself for the email train through public disclosure...I would turn this over to myself and publish it.)

".... Since you seem pretty familiar with the facts of the case, I won’t go into them at this point other than to say that the parental rights of the father were terminated by the trial court without an explicit finding that the father was currently an unfit parent. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court and said that a parent has a “constitutional due process right not to have his or her relationship with a natural child terminated in the absence of a trial court finding of fact that he or she is currently unfit to parent the child.” The court also said that “when an appellate court is faced with a record that omits an explicit finding of current parental unfitness, the appellate court can imply or infer the omitted finding if – but only if – all the facts and circumstances in the record clearly demonstrate that the omitted finding was actually intended, and thus made, by the trial court.”

I went back and looked at our TPR (Termination of Parental Rights...PR) statute because I had always thought it required an explicit finding of unfitness but indeed it does not. It requires things like “there is little likelihood that conditions will be remedied so that the child can be returned to his or her parent,” but it does not require an explicit finding of current unfitness....

I then asked if our court was "making law" by doing this. Her response was:

"They have interpreted the law we wrote in a way that comports with what the US Supreme Court requires in termination cases."


Anonymous said...

So, Senator, can you find out what the implications would be on this if someone met the de facto criteria? Many grandparents and extended family are de facto even though the courts are favoring lesbian/gays regarding this status.

Christy said...

The courts call it "case law".

Max Lawson said...

Dear Ms. Roach,thanks for all you do, you're God sent. I can tell you care about family. God Bless You!! Thank you for your support. You are a Great American.

Max Lawson
U.S. Army Retired