Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re J.R.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 21, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF J.R., S.C., and J.R., Minor Children, K.R., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan Choate Cox, District Associate Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her three children. AFFIRMED.

          Jami J. Hagemeier of Williams & Hagemeier, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          John P. Jellineck of Public Defender Office, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

          TABOR, Judge.

         This termination-of-parental-rights appeal illustrates the intractable and destructive nature of domestic violence. A mother, Kyra, appeals from a juvenile court order terminating her parental rights to her three children-five-year-old J.C.R., three-year-old S.C., and one-year-old J.L.R. Kyra argues the State failed to prove the statutory grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence and termination was not in the children's best interests. Specifically, she contends the juvenile court should not have based its termination decision solely on her inability to protect the children from exposure to domestic abuse perpetrated against her by the children's father, Shane. Kyra asserts she tried to cut off contact with Shane, but her safety plans "did not work."[1] In addition, Kyra maintains the court should not have terminated her parental rights due to the close bond the children share with her. She alternatively asks for additional time to work toward reunification.

         No doubt exists that Kyra was the victim of repeated acts of domestic violence committed by Shane. The mother's attorney makes compelling arguments in the petition on appeal, alleging "re-victimization" faced by Kyra in these child-welfare proceedings. But after reviewing the entire record and giving appropriate deference to the juvenile court's credibility determinations, we find clear and convincing evidence to support the thorough findings of the juvenile court and its ultimate conclusion that "the mother cannot and/or will not protect the children from their 'dangerous' father."[2]

         I. Background Facts and Prior Proceedings

         Shane has engaged in a pattern of domestic abuse against Kyra, often in the presence of their oldest child, J.C.R. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) first became involved with the family in December 2012, when J.C.R. was one year old, after Kyra reported to the police that Shane had strangled her during an argument. The State charged Shane with child endangerment and domestic-abuse assault but later dismissed both counts, indicating "victim's statements post-arrest has made her unavailable for trial."

         In the next three and a half years, the domestic violence continued, and the DHS repeatedly expressed concerns to Kyra about her relationship with Shane. The juvenile court first ordered the removal of J.C.R. and S.C., who was born in January 2014, from Kyra's care in March 2014 as a result of those concerns. The court adjudicated J.C.R. and S.C. as children in need of assistance (CINA), ordered no contact between Kyra and Shane, and returned the children to Kyra's care three days after removal.

         The children's return home was short-lived. The following month the court again ordered their removal after the State presented recordings of phone calls between Kyra and Shane while he was in jail. Between 2014 and 2016, the children moved in and out of Kyra's home on three separate occasions. Kyra participated in therapy and domestic-violence-awareness classes and consistently denied having contact with Shane. Yet observations of DHS case workers, police reports, and, occasionally, Kyra's own admissions all indicated the parents continued to spend time together.

         The juvenile court terminated Shane's parental rights on July 31, 2015.[3]That same evening, a social worker saw Kyra and Shane at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant with the children. About a week later, on August 7, J.C.R. and S.C. were removed from Kyra's care after a social worker made an unannounced visit at Kyra's apartment and found Shane in her bed. J.C.R. and S.C. have not ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.