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.H.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

October 11, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF J.H., K.H., and K.A., Minor Children, J.L., Father of K.A., Appellant, A.A., Mother, Appellant, K.H., Father of J.H. and K.H., Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wright County, Paul B. Ahlers, District Associate Judge.

         Parents appeal from an order terminating their respective rights in their children pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2017). AFFIRMED ON ALL APPEALS.

          Justin J. Kroona of Kroona Law Office, Webster City, for appellant father J.L.

          Alesha M. Sigmeth Roberts of Sigmeth Roberts Law, P.L.C., Clarion, for appellant mother.

          Douglas E. Cook of Cook Law Office, Jewell, for appellant father K.H.

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

          Barbara J. Westphal, Belmond, guardian ad litem for minor children.

          Considered Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          McDONALD, JUDGE

         This case arises out of a juvenile court proceeding severing the parent-child relationship between three children and their respective parents pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2017). The mother of all three children, Annalease, and two of the three fathers, James and Kory, appeal from the order terminating their respective parental rights. On appeal, none of the parents challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the statutory grounds authorizing the termination of their parental rights. All three parents do challenge whether the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS) made reasonable efforts to provide services facilitating reunification of the family. James, in addition to challenging reasonable efforts, requests six more months to work toward reunification. Kory, in addition to challenging reasonable efforts, contends he was prejudiced because the juvenile court judge sentenced Kory to prison on unrelated criminal matters twice during the pendency of this juvenile proceeding.

         Our review of termination-of-parental-rights proceedings is de novo. See In re M.W., 876 N.W.2d 212, 219 (Iowa 2016). Although our review is de novo, we do afford the decision of the district court some deference for policy reasons both institutional and pragmatic. See In re M.J.W., No. 17-0149, 2017 WL 2665957, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. June 21, 2017). "We are not bound by the juvenile court's findings of fact, but we do give them weight, especially in assessing the credibility of witnesses." M.W., 876 N.W.2d at 219. Our primary consideration is the children's best interest. See In re J.E., 723 N.W.2d 793, 798 (Iowa 2006).

         We need not recite in any great detail the facts and circumstances giving rise to this proceeding. The relevant facts and circumstances are set forth in the juvenile court's thorough and well-reasoned order terminating parental rights. In sum, the family came to the attention of IDHS in July 2015 when Kory strangled Annalease and punched her in the stomach while she was pregnant. The two older children were removed from the home. Kory was incarcerated. When the third child, K.A., was born, she tested positive for methamphetamine. Over the life of the case, the parents have little ability and little desire to care for the children.

         -Little ability because the parents have not demonstrated the capacity to care for the children. Over the life of the case each lacked stable housing and employment. Each had a long history of substance abuse, untreated mental-health conditions, and violent and criminal behavior. Each was incarcerated during the course of these proceedings. At the time of the termination hearing, Annalease was in prison for assaulting a police officer, which was her fourth conviction for assault during the pendency of this case, and James was in prison for violating the sex-offender registry. There is no evidence these parents can care for the children at issue.

         __Little desire because no parent demonstrated any interest in the children. Annalease exercised few of the visitations offered and did not see the children for eight months. Kory missed significant time with his child due to his incarceration. When he was not incarcerated, he exercised only nineteen of fifty scheduled visits. James attended only six of thirty scheduled visitations with his child and ...


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.