In re Jason M.

In re Jason M.
Conn. App. January 30, 2013

Termination of Parental Rights, Due Process, Failure to Rehabilitate

Respondent mother appealed trial court’s judgment terminating her parental rights to her four children, claiming that the court improperly found that DCF made reasonable efforts to reunify her with her children, that she had failed to rehabilitate and she had no ongoing relationship with her children.  The appellate court (Bear, J.) affirmed the trial court’s findings, holding that the record contained ample evidence as to each finding and that there was no legal basis to overturn the court’s conclusions.

The appellate court also rejected the respondent mother’s claim that her due process rights and sixth amendment right to confrontation were violated because she did not receive notice of the trial dates and consequently did not appear for trial or personally cross-examine witnesses.  The appellate court noted evidence in the record that the respondent received verbal notice from the court of the trial dates, written notice from DCF (including transportation support) and that the respondent had called DCF to inform them that she would not appear for trial.

Finally, the appellate court rejected the respondent mother’s claims that the trial court erred in its handling of respondent mother’s numerous post-trial motions to open the judgment.  The motions were filed on various grounds, including the notice ground outlined above, an effective assistance of counsel claim and a failure to grant a continuance.  The appellate court held that there was no indication that the trial court abused its discretion in its handling of these motions.

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