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 D.H.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Ashtabula

February 20, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF: D.H., E.S., AND A.S., NEGLECTED CHILDREN

         Appeal from the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Case No. 2015 JC 00006.

          Margaret A. Draper, Assistant Prosecutor, ACCSB, Nicholas A. Iarocci, Ashtabula County Prosecutor, and Shelley M. Pratt, Assistant Prosecutor, Ashtabula County Courthouse, (For Appellee).

          April R. Grabman, Law Offices of Michelle M. French, LLC, (For Appellant).

          Linda G. Silakoski, (Guardian ad litem).

          OPINION

          THOMAS R. WRIGHT, P.J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Lisa Miller, appeals the termination of her parental rights and the grant of permanent custody of her three children, D.H., E.S., and A.S., to the Ashtabula County Children Services Board (the Agency), appellee. We affirm.

         {¶2} David Hettmansperger fathered D.H, born in October of 2007, and Joseph Shaw fathered E.S., born in July of 2011, and A.S., born in October of 2012. Shaw and Hettmansperger do not appeal the termination of their parental rights. Miller also has two other teenager sons, in the custody and care of others at the time of the proceedings, and who are not in issue here.

         {¶3} D.H., E.S., and A.S. were placed in the Agency's temporary custody in January of 2015 following reports of drug manufacturing and illegal drug use in Miller and Shaw's home. Miller had custody of all three children since their respective births. The complaint for temporary custody also alleged repeated neglect of the children, including the oldest child, D.H., being locked out of the home, and all three children having little to no food and poor supervision. It also detailed Miller's ongoing abuse of illegal drugs as an additional ground for removal.

         {¶4} On April 10, 2015, the children were adjudicated dependent, as alleged under R.C. 2151.04(C). All three children were initially placed in a kinship home with Hettmansperger's first cousin. However, D.H. was subsequently removed from the home because he reportedly had inappropriate contact with the kinship parents' biological daughter. D.H. was placed in a structured, therapeutic foster care home, and E.S. and A.S. remained together in the Hettmansperger's cousin's home, with whom they are not related.

         {¶5} In August of 2015, D.H.'s father, Hettmansperger, moved for legal custody of him.

         {¶6} The children remained in the Agency's custody until it moved for permanent custody on August 16, 2016. It provided three alternative reasons supporting its motion. As cause, the Agency asserted that the children have been in its custody for 12 or more months of a consecutive 22-month period; that the children cannot and should not be placed with any of their parents in a reasonable time; and that Miller, Shaw, and Hettmansperger have continually failed to correct the conditions causing the children to be placed in the Agency's care.

         {¶7} The combined hearing addressing Hettmansperger's motion for custody and the Agency's motion for permanent custody was held November 28, 2016.

         {¶8} The guardian ad litem recommended, in her testimony and reports, awarding permanent custody of all three children to the Agency.

         {¶9} The magistrate issued her decision in December of 2016, and Miller and Hettmansperger filed objections. On October 26, 2017, the trial court overruled their objections and adopted the magistrate's decision permanently terminating Miller's, Shaw's, and Hettmansperger's parental rights regarding their respective children, and granted the Agency's motion for permanent custody.

         {¶10} Miller raises one assignment of error:

         {¶11} "THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE MOTION FOR PERMANENT CUSTODY AS SUCH DECISION WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE."

         {¶12} Her assigned error raises four subarguments. Miller first argues that the Agency failed to present clear and convincing evidence that she would not be able to parent her children within a reasonable time. Second, Miller claims that the Agency did not establish that she failed to substantially remedy the conditions initially causing the children to be removed from her custody and her lack of commitment to the children. Third, Miller asserts the Agency failed to use reasonable efforts in assisting her to remedy the issues causing the children's removal. Finally, she claims the court's finding that it was in the children's best interest to be placed in the permanent custody of the agency was erroneous

         {¶13} A parent's right to raise a child is a basic civil right. In re Phillips, 11th Dist. Ashtabula No. 2005-A-0020, 2005-Ohio-3774, ¶22, citing In re Hayes, 79 Ohio St.3d 46, 48, 679 N.E.2d 680 (1997). "The parent's rights, however, are not absolute. Rather, '"it is plain that the natural rights of a parent * * * are always subject to the ultimate welfare of the child, which is the pole star or controlling principle to be observed."' In re Cunningham (1979), 59 Ohio St.2d 100, 106, 391 N.E.2d 1034 (quoting In re R.J.C. (Fla.App.1974), 300 So.2d 54, 58)." In re West, 4th Dist. Athens No. 05CA4, 2005-Ohio-2977, ¶31.

         {¶14} Pursuant to R.C. 2151.414(B)(1), a court may grant permanent custody of a child to the state agency if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the child's best interests and one or more of the factors in R.C. 2151.414(B)(1)(a)-(e) applies. One of these factors is whether the child or children have been in the temporary custody of one or more public children services agencies for 12 or more months of a consecutive 22-month period. R.C. 2151.414(B)(1)(d).

         {¶15} "'Clear and convincing evidence is more than a mere preponderance of the evidence; instead, it is evidence sufficient to produce in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the facts sought to be established.' In re Aiken, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2005-L-094, 2005-Ohio-6146, ¶ 28." In re M.G., 11th Dist. Geauga No. 2013-G-3162, 2014-Ohio-974, ¶12.

         {¶16} In its 27-page decision, the court found that the children had been in the custody of the state for more than 12 months during a consecutive 22-month period. It also found that Miller had failed to substantially remedy the issues causing the children to be initially removed from her home and ...


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.