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In re M.W.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 5, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF M.W., Minor Child, S.W., Mother, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.

         A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her daughter.

          Joseph G. Martin, Cedar Falls, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anna T. Stoeffler, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Tammy L. Banning of Juvenile Public Defender's office, Waterloo, guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         The mother appeals the juvenile court's order terminating parental rights to her child, M.W., and the denial of her motion for new trial. M.W. was born in April 2018. The juvenile court terminated the mother's rights to that child pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and (h) (2018) in March 2019.[1]After the entry of the termination order, the mother moved for a new trial under Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.1004, arguing that a new trial should be granted to address the best interests of both M.W. and her half-sibling, who was born the day of the termination trial in February 2019. That half-sibling is currently the subject of child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceedings. The juvenile court denied her motion, and the mother now appeals both the denial of her new-trial motion and the juvenile court's termination of her parental rights.

         I. Standards of Review

         We review termination cases de novo. In re L.T., 924 N.W.2d 521, 526 (Iowa 2019). "We are not bound by the juvenile court's findings of fact, but we do give them weight." In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014).

         Denials of motions for new trial are reviewed for abuse of discretion. In re Marriage of Wagner, 604 N.W.2d 605, 609 (Iowa 2000). "A district court abuses its discretion if it rests its ruling on 'clearly untenable or unreasonable grounds.'" Fry v. Blauvelt, 818 N.W.2d 123, 128 (Iowa 2012) (quoting Lawson v. Kurthals, 792 N.W.2d 251, 258 (Iowa 2010)). Motions for new trial based on newly discovered evidence are not favored. In re D.W., 385 N.W.2d 570, 583 (Iowa 1986).

         II. Analysis

         A. Termination ...


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