IN RE JAMIE B., ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Barry Kolar on Jun 30, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Tiffany Kodman, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kisha M.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andre´e Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Rachel E. Buckley, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge(s): McBRAYER

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two of her children. Shortly after the filing of the petition to terminate parental rights, the juvenile court appointed counsel for the mother, who lacked the funds to afford one. However, on the day of trial, appointed counsel orally moved for leave to withdraw. The court granted the motion, and the trial proceeded with the mother representing herself. Ultimately, the court found clear and convincing evidence of five grounds for termination and that termination of the mother’s parental rights was in the children’s best interest. The mother argues on appeal, among other things, that the trial court erred in permitting her appointed counsel to withdraw. Because we agree, we vacate the judgment to the extent it terminated the mother’s parental rights and remand for further proceedings.