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C.H. v. Franklin County Department of Human Resources

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

January 9, 2015

C.H.
v.
Franklin County Department of Human Resources R.H.
v.
Franklin County Department of Human Resources

Released for Publication August 5, 2015.

Appeals from Franklin Juvenile Court. (JU-12-50.02). Paula B. McDowell, Trial Judge.

For C.H., Appellant: C. Shane James, Hester & James, L.L.C., Russellville.

For R.H., Appellant: Rebecca Green Thomason, Russellville.

For R.H., Appellant: Rebecca Green Thomason, Russellville.

OPINION

Page 33

PER CURIAM.

On May 2, 2013, the Franklin County Department of Human Resources (" DHR" )

Page 34

filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of R.H. (" the father" ) and C.H. (" the mother" ) to their youngest child (" the child" ). While the petition was pending, the Franklin Juvenile Court entered a judgment on March 26, 2013, terminating the parental rights of the parents to their three older children. The mother and the father separately appealed, and this court entered orders affirming that judgment, without an opinion, on December 6, 2013. See C.H. v. Franklin Cnty. Dep't of Human Res. (No. 2120526, Dec. 6, 2013), __ So.3d __(Ala.Civ.App. 2013) (table); and R.H. v. Franklin Cnty. Dep't of Human Res. (No. 2120550, Dec. 6, 2013), __ So.3d __(Ala.Civ.App. 2013) (table). Our supreme court subsequently denied the mother's and the father's petitions for a writ of certiorari to this court involving those same appeals. See Ex parte C.H. (No. 1130322, Feb. 21, 2014), __ So.3d __(Ala. 2014) (table); and Ex parte R.H. (No. 1130321, Feb. 21, 2014), __ So.3d __(Ala. 2014) (table).

DHR amended its termination petition in this action to add the termination of the parents' parental rights to their three older children as an additional basis upon which it sought to terminate the parents' parental rights to the child. On April 21, 2014, the juvenile court conducted a hearing on DHR's petition. At the outset of the hearing, the attorney for DHR requested that the juvenile court take " judicial notice of everything that's set out in the [a]mended [p]etition." Also, upon questioning by the juvenile court, the attorneys for the parents agreed that the juvenile court could take judicial notice that the parental rights of the parents to their three older children had been terminated by the March 26, 2013, judgment of the juvenile court, which, as noted, had been affirmed on appeal.

On May 27, 2014, the juvenile court entered a judgment terminating the parental rights of both the mother and the father to the child. Both the mother and the father timely appealed. This court consolidated the appeals ex mero motu.

" The juvenile court's judgment based on ... ore tenus evidence is presumed to be correct and will not be overturned absent a showing that the judgment is plainly and palpably wrong. S.B.L. v. Cleburne County Dep't of Human Res., 881 So.2d 1029, 1031-32 (Ala.Civ.App. 2003).
" '" A parent has a prima facie right to custody of his or her child and this right can be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence that the child's best interests would be served by permanently terminating the parent's custody." Ex parte State Dep't of Human Res.,624 So.2d 589, 591 (Ala. 1993) (citing R.C.M. v. State Dep't of Human Res.,601 So.2d 100 (Ala.Civ.App. 1991)). When the State is petitioning to terminate a parent's parental rights, the trial court must first determine if the child is dependent and then must examine whether all viable alternatives to termination have been explored. Ex parte Beasley,564 So.2d 950 (Ala. 1990). On appeal, the trial court's determination is presumed to be correct, and it ...

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