IN RE: M. D. - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Oct 3, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Cindy Howell Morgan, Sparta, Tennessee, for the appellant, D. D.

Attorneys 2:

Mark E. Tribble, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, S. D.

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, and, Martha A. Campbell, Deputy Attorney General, for the appellee, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge(s): SWINEY

This appeal arises from a finding of dependency and neglect. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition alleging that M. D. (“the Child”) was dependent and neglected based upon alleged sexual abuse by her father, D. D. (“Father”). The Child’s mother, S. D. (“Mother”), filed a cross-petition to intervene, and she sides with DCS on appeal. After a trial, the Circuit Court for Jackson County (“the Trial Court”) found the Child to be both dependent and neglected and a victim of severe abuse by Father. Father appeals to this Court. We find and hold that the evidence does not preponderate against the findings of the Trial Court, and the evidence rises to the standard of clear and convincing to prove the Child is dependent and neglected, as well as a victim of severe abuse. We further find no reversible error in the Trial Court’s considering Father’s drug use and troublesome courtroom behavior in assessing his credibility. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.