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In the Matter of: E.J.

October 31, 2011

IN THE MATTER OF: E.J.


CHARACTER OF PROCEEDING: Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Case No. 21030137

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Farmer, J.

Cite as In re E.J.,

JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, J. Hon. John W. Wise, J.

OPINION

JUDGMENT: Affirmed

{¶1} On October 21, 2010, appellee, Muskingum County Children's Services, filed a complaint for permanent custody of E.J., born the same date. Mother of the child is appellant, Heidi Schrack; father is Raymond Johnson.

{¶2} A hearing before a magistrate was held on March 23, 2011. By decision filed April 20, 2011, the magistrate recommended permanent custody of the child to appellee. The trial court approved and adopted the magistrate's decision on the same date. Appellant did not file objections to the decision.

{¶3} Appellant filed an appeal and this matter is now before this court for consideration. Assignments of error are as follows:

I

{¶4} "THE MAGISTRATE COMMITTED PREJUDICIAL ERROR BY GRANTING THE MOTION FOR PERMANENT CUSTODY AND DENYING A MOTION TO CONTINUE WHEN THERE WAS A VIABLE FAMILY PLACEMENT OPTION THAT HAD NOT BEEN FULLY INVESTIGATED WHEN THERE EXISTED AMPLE TIME TO COMPLETE AN INVESTIGATION THAT HAD ALREADY BEGUN."

II

{¶5} "APPELLANT WAS DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL PURSUANT TO STRICKLAND V. WASHINGTON (1984), 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 IN VIOLATION OF HER CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY RIGHT TO COUNSEL WHEN HER COUNSEL FAILED TO OBJECT TO THE STATE'S PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, WHEN HER COUNSEL FAILED TO CALL THE PROSPECTIVE RELATIVE PLACEMENTS TO TESTIFY, WHEN HER COUNSEL FAILED TO REQUEST A TRANSCRIPT, WHEN HER COUNSEL FAILED TO FILE TIMELY OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION, AND WHEN HER COUNSEL FAILED TO INFORM APPELLANT THAT HE WAS NOT GOING TO FILE OBJECTIONS ON HER BEHALF SO THAT APPELLANT COULD FILE HER OWN PRO SE OBJECTIONS."

III

{¶6} "THE TRIAL COURT AND APPELLANT'S COUNSEL FAILED TO ADEQUATELY WARN APPELLANT THAT SHE ONLY HAD FOURTEEN DAYS TO OBJECT TO THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION. THE TRIAL COURT FAILED TO APPOINT COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT WITHIN THE FOURTEEN DAY OBJECTION PERIOD FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBJECTING TO THE STATE'S PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND FOR FILING TIMELY OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION."

I

{¶7} Appellant claims the trial court erred in denying a request for a continuance of the permanent custody hearing as there was a "pending" home study for relative placement that was not completed and unresolved. We disagree.

{¶8} The grant or denial of a continuance rests in the trial court's sound discretion. State v. Unger (1981), 67 Ohio St.2d 65. In order to find an abuse of that discretion, we must determine the trial court's decision was unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable and not merely an error of law or judgment. Blakemore v. Blakemore (1983), 5 Ohio St.3d 217.

{¶9} The following discussion was held at the commencement of the hearing:

{ΒΆ10} "Shirley King: We would like to try to get custody of [E] but we didn't have time. We were wondering if, we were wondering if we could get time to get an ...


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