Articles Posted in Maine Supreme Judicial Court

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court modifying a divorce judgment to confer sole parental rights and responsibilities on Mother and impose conditions on Father’s contact with the parties’ four children. The court held (1) the district court did not misinterpret or misapply Me. Rev. Stat. 19-A, 1653(3) in prioritizing the children’s safety and well-being when determining the children’s best interests; and (2) the district court acted within its discretion in ordering Father to undergo sobriety testing before and during all visits with the children and to have a psychological evaluation and begin any recommended treatment before the children resume overnight visits in his home. View "Miller v. Nery" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding that the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Parents’ parental rights to their child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i), (ii), (iv), with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the child’s best interest. The court held that, given the court’s findings of fact that were supported by competent evidence in the record, the court adequately explained how the deficits of the parents rendered each parent unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for the child in time to meet his needs and adequately explained how Mother failed to make a good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify with the child. View "In re Ryan G." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating her parental rights to her daughter pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a). Given the district court’s findings and the court’s other extensive, specific findings of fact, all of which were supported by competent evidence in the record, the Supreme Court held that the district court did not err in its determination of unfitness, nor did it err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Mother’s parental rights, with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Anastasia M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Father’s parental rights pursuant to 22 Me. Rev. Stat. 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), (iv). On appeal, Father argued that his counsel provided ineffective assistance and challenged the district court’s determination that termination was in the best interest of the child. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) Father failed to present a prima facie case of attorney ineffectiveness; and (2) the evidence in the record supported the district court’s findings and discretionary determination that termination of Father's parental rights was in the best interest of the child. View "In re Tyrel L." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Father’s and Mother’s parental rights to their son pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a), (B)(2)(b)(i)-(ii), (iv). The district court found that the parents failed to take responsibility for their son, they were unwilling or unable to protect him from jeopardy within a time reasonably calculated to meet his needs, they failed to make a good faith effort toward reunification, and termination of the parents’ parental rights was in the child’s best interest. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that there was competent evidence in the record for all of the district court’s findings and that the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Mother’s and Father’s parental rights, with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Richard M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the six children in this matter were in circumstances of jeopardy to their health or welfare if placed in the care of either Mother or Father. On appeal, Father did not contest the finding of jeopardy, but did contest the finding of an aggravating factor, arguing that his conduct was not “heinous or abhorrent to society.” The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the district court’s findings of jeopardy and an aggravating factor were supported by competent evidence in the record. View "In re Aliyah A." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her three children pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). On appeal, Mother argued that the court’s judgment terminating her parental rights should be vacated because the court found that the Department of Health and Human Services did not make reasonable efforts to “shape and monitor” counseling for her. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the record did not support Mother’s interpretation of the court’s findings; and (2) there was competent evidence in the record to support the court’s findings of unfitness and that termination was in the children’s best interests. View "In re Danika B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Father’s parental rights pursuant to Me. Rev. Sat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(b)(i)-(ii). The court held (1) the evidence showed that Father was unable, within a time reasonably calculated to meet his child’s needs, to protect the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for the child; and (2) because the district court’s findings of unfitness were supported by clear and convincing evidence and because permanent placement with the foster family would be in the child’s best interest, there was no error. View "In re Damein F." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating the parental rights of Parents to their child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). The court held (1) contrary to Father’s arguments on appeal, the court’s findings were sufficient for the court to have found at least one ground of parental unfitness; and (2) the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Parents’ parental rights, with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Keegan M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). The district court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that Mother was unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy and unwilling or unable to take responsibility for the child within a time reasonably calculated to meet his needs and that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. The Supreme Court held that the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that Mother was unfit and that termination of Mother’s parental rights, with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Noah B." on Justia Law