Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
From: Hamilton County Juvenile Court, TRIAL NO. F17-914z.
Appealed From Is: Affirmed.
Anzelmo Law and James A. Anzelmo, for Appellant Mother.
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Jonathan
Halvonik, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee
Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services.
Mother has appealed from the trial court's entry granting
permanent custody of her child L.D. to the Hamilton County
Department of Job and Family Services ("JFS"). In
one assignment of error, she argues that JFS failed to
establish by clear and convincing evidence that it should be
awarded permanent custody of L.D. We overrule mother's
assignment of error and affirm the judgment of the juvenile
JFS was granted interim custody of L.D. on March 28, 2017,
after mother's boyfriend overdosed in the home and
concerns arose about the safety of L.D. Mother admitted to
using methamphetamine, opiates, and marijuana at the time.
L.D. also tested positive for amphetamine and phentermine at
birth. On June 29, 2017, L.D. was adjudicated "abused
and dependent," and JFS was granted temporary custody.
On December 4, 2017, JFS filed a motion to award custody to
mother's sister, but later withdrew the motion. On
January 22, 2019, JFS moved for permanent custody. After a
hearing, the magistrate ordered that mother's parental
rights be terminated with respect to L.D., and that L.D. be
placed in the permanent custody of JFS. Mother filed
objections to the magistrate's decision. After a hearing,
the juvenile court overruled mother's objections and
adopted the decision of the magistrate.
Assignment of Error
Mother's sole assignment of error is that the state
failed to meet its burden of establishing by clear and
convincing evidence that permanent custody of L.D. should be
awarded to JFS.
In a case involving the termination of parental rights, an
appellate court reviews the record and determines whether the
juvenile court's decision was supported by clear and
convincing evidence. In re W.W., 1st Dist. Hamilton
No. C-110363, 2011-Ohio-4912, ¶ 46. Clear and convincing
evidence 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." Id.; Cross v.
Ledford, 161 Ohio St. 469, 120 N.E.2d 118 (1954),
paragraph three of the syllabus. Where some competent and
credible evidence supports the court's decision, this
court will not substitute its judgment for that of the
juvenile court. In re W.W. at ¶ 46.
"Although the termination of the rights of a natural
parent should be an alternative of 'last resort,'
such an extreme disposition is nevertheless expressly
sanctioned [under R.C. 2151.353] when it is necessary for the
'welfare' of the child." In re
Cunningham, 59 Ohio St.2d 100, 105, 391 N.E.2d 1034
(1979), quoting In re Fassinger, 42 Ohio St.2d 505,
330 N.E.2d 431 (1975).
When a child has been previously adjudicated dependent and
temporary custody has been granted to JFS pursuant to R.C.
2151.353(A)(2), JFS may move for permanent custody of the
child pursuant to R.C. 2151.413(A) and 2151.414. The court
will grant permanent custody to JFS if a two-prong test is
satisfied. See R.C. 2151.414(B).