Juvenile Court, JU-11-1534.04 and JU-15-732.02
PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
mandamus proceedings involve the jurisdiction of the Madison
Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court") to enter
orders granting a new trial in actions after it had granted
the petitions of the Madison County Department of Human
Resources ("DHR") to terminate the parental rights
of K.O.D., Sr. ("the father"). Because we determine
that the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the
father's untimely filed postjudgment motions seeking a
new trial, we direct the juvenile court to vacate the orders
granting a new trial.
20, 2017, the juvenile court entered separate judgments
terminating the father's parental rights to two children.
On July 6, 2017, the father, with the assistance of counsel,
filed a motion in each case seeking a new trial in which he
asserted the following:
"1) On May 20, 2017, this Honorable Court held a final
hearing terminating the Father's parental rights in the
"2) On June 20, 2017, this Honorable Court entered a
final order terminating the Father's rights.
"3) The Father was not transported for the final hearing
on May 20, 2017, and counsel for the Father was not aware the
final order was entered until July 7, 2017, as she has been
out of town since the week of June 17, 2017.
"4) As the Father was not transported from the Limestone
County Correctional Facility for any hearings, he
respectfully requests a new termination hearing where he may
be present and present testimony in support of his parental
"Wherefore, above premises considered, the Father
respectfully requests this Honorable Court set this matter
for a new hearing on this the 6th day of July, 2017."
10, 2017, the juvenile court entered an order in each case
setting the father's postjudgment motions for a hearing
to be held on July 13, 2017. On July 14, 2017, the juvenile
court granted the father's motions for a new trial and
set the cases for a termination-of-parental-rights trial to
be held on July 28, 2017.
18, 2017, DHR filed motions seeking to have the juvenile
court set aside its orders granting a new trial. DHR
asserted, in part:
"3. On July 14, 2017, this court entered an order
granting the father's motion and scheduling a new hearing
on July 28, 2017, which was electronically filed with the
clerk's office on July 14, 2017.
"4. DHR maintains that this court's order of July
14, 2017, is improper and that the court lacked jurisdiction
to enter same in that the court lost jurisdiction to do so
after July 5, 2017.
"5. DHR maintains that the father's postjudgment
motion was denied by operation of law after July 5, 2017,
which was the last day for filing same. The 14 days allowed
for filing said postjudgment motion would ordinarily have
expired on July 4, 2017, but since that day was an Alabama
state holiday and the court was closed to business the father
would have been allowed an additional day, July 5, 2017, to
file said motion. His failing to file same until ...