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New Jersey Division of Youth & Family Services v. M.R.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 20, 2013

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES [1], Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
M.R., Defendant-Appellant. IN THE MATTER OF D.S., J.G. and I.M., Minors.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted June 11, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hudson County, Docket No. FN-09-0288-12.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Leviston N. Brisolla, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Andrea M. Silkowitz, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Patricia A. Krogman, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney for minors (Damen J. Thiel, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Before Judges Fisher and Grall.

PER CURIAM

Defendant M.R. is the mother of three children. The oldest, D.S. (hereafter Danielle, a fictitious name), was born on April 10, 1994, [2] and was nearly eighteen years old when she and defendant got into a dispute in their home on January 2, 2012. Based on evidence adduced at a fact-finding hearing that she found credible, Judge Bernadette N. DeCastro concluded that Danielle was an abused or neglected child with regard to what occurred on January 2, 2012. Specifically, the judge found that, following an argument, defendant intentionally struck Danielle in the eye with some type of container.

Following the entry of a final order in this Title Nine action, defendant appealed, arguing:

I. THE DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES DID NOT PROVE ITS CASE BY A PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.46(a)-(b).
A. The Finding Of Abuse And Neglect Must Be Reversed Because The Evidence Provided By [The Division] Failed To Satisfy The Corroboration Requirement Contrary To N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.46(a)(4) As The Evidence Used To Support The Court's Finding That M.R. Abused And Neglected Her Child Was The Prior Uncorroborated Statement Of [Danielle].
B. The Court Improperly Relied Upon Inadmissible Hearsay Evidence In Violation Of The New Jersey Rules Of Evidence.
II. [THE DIVISION] FAILED TO PROVE THAT M.R. FAILED TO EXERCISE A MINIMUM DEGREE OF CARE UNDER N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(C)(4)(B) BECAUSE PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM AN ALMOST ADULT DAUGHTER DOES ...

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