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 L.W.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF L.W., Minor Child, J.P., Father, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, District Associate Judge.

         A father appeals the termination of his parental rights. AFFIRMED.

          Nicholas Dial of Dial Law Office, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant father.

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

          ConGarry Williams of State Public Defender's Office, Des Moines, guardian ad litem for minor child.

          Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.

          DOYLE, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         L.W. was born in September 2016 and tested positive for methadone, hydrocodone, and benzodiazepines at birth. The test results were reported to the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), and the child was ultimately removed from her parents' care. The child was placed in the care of the child's maternal grandmother, where the child has since remained.

         Almost two years after the child's birth, the State filed a petition seeking termination of the parents' parental rights. The mother consented to the termination of her parental rights; the father contested termination.[1] Following a hearing, the juvenile court terminated the father's parental rights.

         The father now appeals. He maintains the court should have granted him visitation while he was incarcerated at a correctional facility or given him additional time for reunification, given his "short prison sentence" and because he "availed himself of numerous services while in prison." He also suggests the juvenile court erroneously delegated its authority in determining whether his request for visitation at the prison should be granted. Upon our de novo review, see In re A.S., 906 N.W.2d 467, 472 (Iowa 2018), we disagree.[2]

         The father has a significant criminal history, dating back to at least 2001, when he was arrested for assault causing bodily injury. His criminal activities include numerous charges related to domestic violence as well as use of illegal substances. From 2001 to April 2016, the father was convicted of more than twenty crimes. Though the convictions were mostly misdemeanors of all levels, he had two felony convictions in 2006 relating to domestic abuse assault.

         Before the child's birth in 2016, the father was charged with driving while his license was barred and placed in jail. While in jail, he was also charged with fifth-degree theft. He was released around August 2016, but he was subsequently incarcerated for violating a no-contact order and again for driving while barred. He was released from jail and, while not present at the child's birth, he was at the hospital the night of her birth, though he questioned the child's paternity. The father's paternity was established at the end of November 2016. In December 2016, the father was arrested on a charge of domestic abuse assault, second offense, for allegedly punching his paramour in the face. He was also charged with probation violations. He was again placed in jail, and he remained there until April 2017, when his probation was revoked.

         Following the revocation of his probation, the father was moved from jail to the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility, where the father was imprisoned for approximately thirteen months. During that time, the father requested visitation with the child at the prison, despite having had very limited contact with the child since her birth. Based upon the father's minimal involvement in the child's life up to that point, the great distance between the child's home and the correctional facility, and the short visitation time allowed by the correctional facility, and other factors, the DHS did "not believe it [was] reasonable for [the] child to have visitation/interactions with the father while he [was] in prison."

         In the court's July 2017 review order, the court adopted and incorporated the DHS's recommendations set out in the State's report to the court, thus rejecting the father's request for visitation at the prison. The court specifically addressed the father's request for prison visitation in its ...


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.