IN THE INTEREST OF L.W., Minor Child, J.P., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W.
Seidlin, District Associate Judge.
father appeals the termination of his parental rights.
Nicholas Dial of Dial Law Office, P.C., West Des Moines, for
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.
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.
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. Following a hearing, the juvenile court
terminated the father's parental rights.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 ...