IN RE WESLEY S. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Apr 9, 2013

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Robin P. Gunn, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wesley K.S.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Derek C. Jumper, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge(s): FRIERSON

This is a termination of parental rights case focusing on Wesley S. (“the Child”), the minor child of Wesley K.S. (“Father”) and Kari F. (“Mother”). The parents were runaway teenagers when the Child was born in August 2007. Father was incarcerated several times during the Child’s first two years. Father’s latest incarceration began on May 14, 2009, and he has been in jail continuously since that date. The Child was taken into custody by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) on December 17, 2010. On May 31, 2012, DCS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Father. The sole ground alleged was abandonment, based on his conduct prior to incarceration exhibiting a wanton disregard for the welfare of the Child. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the petition upon its finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that Father had abandoned the Child due to his pre-incarceration conduct. The court further found, by clear and convincing evidence, that termination was in the Child’s best interest. Father has appealed. We affirm.