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In re L.C.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 20, 2013

In re: L.C., (K.O., Appellant). In re: L.B., (K.O., Appellant).

APPEALS from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, Juvenile Branch. C.P.C. Nos. 11JU-11-14606, 11JU-11-14607

Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Katherine J. Press, for appellee State of Ohio.

Reves and Westbrook, LLP, and Randal M. Reves, for appellant.

DECISION

BROWN, J.

{¶ 1} K.O., appellant, appeals the judgments of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, Juvenile Branch, in which the court found her two children, L.B. and L.C., were neglected and dependent.

{¶ 2} Appellant is the biological mother of L.B., a boy born in November 2006; L.C., a girl born in December 2010; T.B., a girl, and H.B, a girl. M.R. is the father of L.B., and D.C. is the father of L.C. C.B. is the father of H.B. and T.B. In October 2009, Franklin County Children Services ("FCCS") filed a case alleging that L.C., T.B., and H.B. were neglected and dependent, based upon appellant's drug use and her leaving the children unattended. That case was dismissed when C.B. was granted legal custody of H.B. and T.B., and L.B. was placed with M.R. Appellant also agreed to participate in several services to address her drug problem and parenting deficiencies. Soon thereafter, appellant became pregnant with L.C. In June 2010, appellant was involved in two traffic infractions within a few days of each other, both involving drug or alcohol usage.

{¶ 3} After L.C. was born in December 2010, her father, D.C, assumed care of her. In May 2011, appellant was arrested for driving while under the influence. She was incarcerated on May 25, 2011. On August 16, 2011, FCCS filed complaints alleging L.C. and L.B. were neglected and dependent. M.R. was granted temporary custody of L.B., and D.C. was granted temporary custody of L.C. Appellant was released from jail in October 2011.

{¶ 4} The complaints were dismissed but then re-filed on November 9, 2011. The court subsequently removed L.C. from D.C.'s care because he tested positive for cocaine and had an extensive criminal history. Thereafter, D.C. had no further contact with FCCS.

{¶ 5} A neglect and dependency hearing was held before a magistrate on various dates through January and February 2012, and, on February 14, 2012, the magistrate issued a decision finding L.C. and L.B. were neglected and dependent. Appellant filed objections to the magistrate's decision.

{¶ 6} On November 30, 2012, the trial court issued a decision, overruling appellant's objections and adopting the magistrate's decision finding L.C. and L.B. were neglected and dependent. Appellant appeals the judgment of the trial court, asserting the following assignment of error:

THAT THE JUVENILE COURT ERRED IN THAT THE EVIDENCE LACKED THE CLEAR AND CONVINCING STANDARD THAT THE CHILDREN ARE NEGLECTED AND DEPENDENT CHILDREN PURSUANT TO OHIO REVISED CODE §2151.03 (A)(2) AND §2151.04 (C).

{¶ 7} Appellant argues in her sole assignment of error that the trial court lacked clear and convincing evidence that the children were neglected and dependent. In determining whether a child is abused, neglected or dependent, a trial court must determine whether the record contains clear and convincing evidence of that status. R.C. 2151.35; In re N.P., 10th Dist. No. 07AP-797, 2008-Ohio-1727, ¶ 7. Clear and convincing evidence is more than a mere preponderance but is "that quantum of evidence which will produce in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the facts sought to be established." Id. On review, we must affirm the trial court if competent, credible evidence going to all the essential elements of the case supports the trial court. Id.

{¶ 8} With regard to neglect, R.C. 2151.03(A) provides, in ...


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