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In re E.S.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Perry

July 12, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF: E.S.,

          Appeal from the Perry County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Case No. 2018C177

          For Plaintiff-Appellee EMILY STRANG TARBERT

          For Defendant-Appellant TINA KINGSOLVER, pro se, STEVE KINGSOLVER, pro se

          Judges Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, J.

          OPINION

          Baldwin, J.

         {¶1} Appellants assign as error the decisions of the Perry County Juvenile Court regarding appointment of a guardian ad litem, prohibiting their attendance at an ex parte hearing, placing the children in shelter care and prohibiting contact between the appellants and the children. Appellee is the Perry County Children Services.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS AND THE CASE

         {¶2} Appellants' statement of facts is difficult to interpret and a statement of the case is not provided. While we recognize that Appellants are acting pro se, pro se litigants are presumed to have knowledge of the law and correct legal procedures so that they remain subject to the same rules and procedures to which represented litigants are bound. Carskadon v. Avakian, 5th Dist. No. 11 CAG020018, 2011-Ohio-4423, ¶ 33 quoting Kilroy v. B.H. Lakeshore Co., 111 Ohio App.3d 357, 363, 676 N.E.2d 171 (8th Dist.1996). They are not given greater rights than represented parties, and must bear the consequences of their mistakes. Id. We also note that Appellants have not provided a transcript of the hearings before the trial court or a statement of the evidence pursuant to App.R. 9(c). Although we make some allowances for pro se litigants, we cannot change the fundamental requirement that Appellant, as the party asserting that there was an error in the trial court, bears the burden in the court of appeals to demonstrate error by reference to matters made a part of the record. Knapp v. Edward Laboratories (1980), 61 Ohio St.2d 197, 199.

         {¶3} Appellee also chose not to provide a statement of the case or facts, choosing to aver that Appellants' brief is so insubstantial and noncompliant that it should be disregarded. Appellee does conclude by requesting that we remand this case for a hearing on Appellants' pending motion to withdraw their pleas of admission to the allegations of dependency. The lack of a transcript or any agreement regarding the facts of this case would normally prevent a review of the assignments of error, but we find that the documents within the record allow us to come to a legal conclusion.

         {¶4} On July 25, 2018, Appellee filed an action in the trial court seeking temporary custody. An ex parte order was issued on July 25, 2018 and later on that same date, a shelter care hearing was conducted with appellant Tina Kingsolver in attendance. She denied the allegations of dependency and the adjudication of the complaint was scheduled for August 29, 2018. Appellants filed a motion requesting appointment of counsel and the motion was granted on August 1, 2018.

         {¶5} Counsel for appellant Tina Kingsolver filed a motion requesting the appointment of guardian ad litem. On September 5, 2018 the trial court addressed this motion and stated "the parties agreed to an in-camera interview, shall occur by Judge Cooperrider. (sic) The in-camera interview shall occur on October 3rd, (sic) 2018 at 11:30 AM."

         {¶6} On October 3, 2018 the adjudicatory hearing occurred with counsel and appellants in attendance. The trial court found the juvenile dependent and scheduled a dispositional hearing for December 19, 2018 at 10:00 AM. On October 26, 2018 Appellants submitted a written document to the court requesting that they be permitted to withdraw their plea admitting the dependency of the children. On November 2, 2018 appellants filed their notice of appeal of the judgment entry of October 3, 2018. On November 6, 2018 counsel for appellant Tina Kingsolver filed a motion for leave to withdraw as counsel and said motion was granted the same day.

         {¶7} On November 28, 2018 the trial court issued an order that stated as follows:

This matter will come before the court on December 19, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. for an Adjudicatory ...

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