IN RE K.F.R.T. ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Mar 10, 2016

Head Comment: With D. MICHAEL SWINEY, C.J., concurring and dissenting.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Thomas C. Jessee, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Crystal M. Goan, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Whittney N.L. Good, Guardian ad Litem.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, and, Mary Byrd Ferrara, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, the Tennessee Department of Children?s Services.

W. Joe Bell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, L.M.

Judge(s): SUSANO

This is a termination of parental rights case. The case proceeded to trial on the amended petition of the Department of Children?s Services seeking to terminate on multiple grounds the parental rights of L.M. to his children, K.F.R.T., L.E.M.R., and B.A.M.R. (collectively the children). The trial court dismissed the petition after a bench trial, finding and holding that DCS “ha[d] failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence any ground sufficient to justify termination of [father?s] parental rights.” Whittney N.L. Good, guardian ad litem for the children, appeals. We reverse because we hold that the evidence clearly and convincingly shows that father is guilty of a pattern of criminal conduct “exhibit[ing] a wanton disregard of the child[ren].” Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1- 102(1)(A)(iv) (2014). We find clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the children to terminate father?s parental rights.