IN RE ERIC J. P. ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Apr 25, 2013

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Norris Arthur Kessler, III, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles E. H.

Attorneys 2:

Jonathan C. Brown, Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Amanda M. P.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Leslie Curry, Assistant Attorney General, Douglas E. Dimond, and Wilson Harpe, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

The parents of three minor children appeal the termination of their parental rights. The trial court found the Department of Children’s Services established two grounds for termination: 1) severe child abuse pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-113(g)(4); and 2) persistence of conditions pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-113(g)(3). In a previous dependency and neglect proceeding, the Franklin County Circuit Court found that Father severely abused the children’s half-sister and that Mother knew of the abuse but did nothing to protect her child. Neither parent appealed that judgment; as a consequence, the severe abuse findings are res judicata. Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1- 113(g)(4), a court may terminate parental rights when the parent is found to have committed severe child abuse under any prior order of a court against any sibling or half-sibling. The trial court also found that termination of both parents’ rights was in the children’s best interests. We therefore affirm.