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Division of Youth and Family Services v. R.I.C.

November 20, 2008

DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
R.I.C., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF D.J.C. AND C.A.C., MINORS.
DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
M.B., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF D.J.C. AND C.A.C., MINORS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FG-12-60-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 21, 2008

Before Judges Collester and Graves.

In these consolidated matters initiated by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS or the Division), defendant R.I.C. appeals from a judgment terminating his parental rights to his daughter, C.A.C. (fictitiously, Christina), and defendant M.B. appeals from a judgment terminating his parental rights to his daughter, D.J.C. (fictitiously, Deidre). The mother of both children, J.B., executed an identified surrender of her parental rights to allow the current foster parents to adopt both girls.

On appeal, R.I.C. presents the following arguments:

POINT I. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND DEPRIVED THE DEFENDANT OF HIS DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO A FAIRLY CONDUCTED GUARDIANSHIP TRIAL BY FINDING THAT THE DEFENDANT WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO ASSIGNED COUNSEL AND WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO BE PRESENT AT THE GUARDIANSHIP TRIAL.

(A) THE RECORD CANNOT SUPPORT THE TRIAL COURT'S FINDING THAT THE DEFENDANT WAIVED ASSIGNED COUNSEL.

(B) THE RECORD CANNOT SUPPORT THE TRIAL COURT'S FINDING THAT THE DEFENDANT WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO BE PRESENT.

POINT II. THE JUDGMENT OF GUARDIANSHIP SHOULD BE REVERSED BECAUSE THE TRIAL COURT'S FINDINGS WITH REGARD TO THE FIRST, SECOND, AND FOURTH PRONGS OF THE "BEST INTERESTS" TEST ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD.

(A) THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE DEFENDANT "HARMED" D.J.C. AND C.A.C. UNDER THE FIRST PRONG.

(B) THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING SECOND-PRONG PARENTAL UNFITNESS.

(C) THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT TERMINATION OF DEFENDANT'S PARENTAL RIGHTS WOULD NOT DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD UNDER THE FOURTH PRONG.

M.B. argues as follows:

POINT I. SUBSTANTIAL CREDIBLE EVIDENCE DID NOT EXIST SUPPORTING THE COURT'S FINDING THAT THE "BEST INTERESTS" TEST WAS PROVEN BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE.

(A) THERE DID NOT EXIST CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE FINDING THAT THE HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHILD WERE AND WOULD CONTINUE TO BE ENDANGERED BY THE PARENTAL RELATIONSHIP.

(B) THERE DID NOT EXIST CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT A FINDING THAT THE APPELLANT WAS UNWILLING OR WAS UNABLE TO ELIMINATE THE HARM FACING THE CHILD.

(C) THERE DID NOT EXIST CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE DIVISION MADE "REASONABLE EFFORTS" TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO M.B.

(D) THE COURT'S FINDINGS THAT TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS WILL NOT DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD IS NOT SUPPORTED BY ...


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