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In re Guardianship and Conservatorship of Davis

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 21, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP AND CONSERVATORSHIP OF JAMES PERRY DAVIS, Ward.
v.
KATHERINE KERR-DAVIS, Defendant-Appellee. MISTY M. DAVIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Randy S. DeGeest, Judge.

         The sister of the adult ward appeals from the district court's order denying her petition for visitation. AFFIRMED.

          Misty M. Davis, Cedar Rapids, pro se appellant.

          Craig Arbuckle of Craig Arbuckle Law Office, Washington, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.

         Misty Davis appeals from the district court's order denying her petition to initiate visitation with her adult brother, James.[1]

         Misty maintains Katherine, her step-mother and the guardian of James, is keeping him from her. Misty first petitioned the court to initiate visitation with her brother in June 2015. Before the matter came on for hearing, Misty and Katherine reached an agreement, which the district court then incorporated into its October 7, 2015 order. The order noted that it was not granting Katherine the authority to deny communications, visits, or interactions between Misty and James but indicated Katherine did have the authority to "place reasonable restrictions." The order provided for a "slow progression of reunification efforts to reestablish" the relationship between Misty and James, beginning with Misty sending James a letter. Additionally, it stated James was to begin therapy after January 1, 2016.

         On May 17, 2016, Misty filed a motion for visitation. In the motion, Misty claimed that she had made reasonable attempts to reestablish her relationship with James, including "numerous communications in writing and by telephone through counsel." She maintains Katherine had "acted in a manner consistent with intent to thwart such reunification and reestablishment of the prior relationship." In response, the court issued an order indicating it understood Misty's motion to be an application for contempt sanctions. The matter was set for hearing in August 2016. We have no transcript or statement of the proceedings before us in the record. See Iowa R. App. P. 6.806(1).

         The court issued a written ruling on August 26, 2016. The court denied Misty's motion for visitation, stating in part:

Misty wanted and hoped that after receiving the letter that the Ward would write her back, telling her that he wanted to talk to her and see her. However, that was merely Misty's hope and it was not reality, as the Ward made it absolutely clear that he wanted no contact with Misty.
An examination of the protocol for reunification between Misty and the Ward clearly establishes that the process (if it was to continue) was dependent upon the letter writing supporting the reunification. Since it did not, the reunification process has stalled. The Court cannot and will not subject the Ward to emotional distress and ultimately trauma by requiring him to have contact with Misty. Unfortunately for Misty, the response from the Ward was not what she expected or wanted. However, she is stuck with it.
Misty argues that the Ward was influenced by the Guardian into not wanting contact with Misty. The overwhelming evidence is to the contrary. Both case workers, the Guardian Ad Litem, the Ward's therapist and a primary caretaker all testified that the Ward does not want contact with Misty, and that they observed no evidence that the Ward was influenced in that opinion by the Guardian.

         The court also denied the application for contempt, concluding, "Misty Davis did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Guardian willfully violated a Court Order. This Court finds that the Guardian did not violate the Order in any way and, in fact, has fulfilled the Order." Misty ...


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