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Emiliano L. v. Department of Child Safety

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

October 1, 2015

EMILIANO L., Appellant,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY, D.L., D.L., D.L., Appellees.

Not for Publication – Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. JD27462 The Honorable Connie Contes, Judge

COUNSEL John L. Popilek, PC, Scottsdale By John L. Popilek Counsel for Appellant

Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By JoAnn Falgout Counsel for Appellee

Judge Andrew W. Gould delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Donn Kessler and Judge Patricia K. Norris joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

GOULD, Judge:

¶1 This is an appeal of the juvenile court's decision to terminate Emiliano L.'s ("Father") parental rights to three of his children on the grounds of mental illness pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 8-533(B)(3). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶2 The Department of Child Safety ("DCS") first became involved in this case in July 2013. At that time, DCS received a report that Mother was hospitalized after she overdosed on Tylenol in an "attempt to leave [F]ather." The report also stated that Father and Mother engaged in domestic violence in front of the children and that Father had blackened Mother's eye in September 2012.

¶3 Between July and mid-November 2013, Mother did not live with Father. However, when Mother returned to the home, Father became increasingly controlling of her, accusing Mother of cheating on him, going through her phone and taking the car keys to stop her from leaving.

¶4 Father and Mother had a verbal argument on November 25, and Mother attempted to leave and go to her father's house; however, Father found her there and eventually convinced her to return home. On November 26, a DCS case manager attempted to call Mother, but Father repeatedly refused to allow Mother to speak with the case manager, and only finally permitted Mother to come to the phone after several requests. When Mother finally came to the phone she was crying. She told the case manager she would only be able to stay away from Father if he did not know where she was. As a result, the case manager went to the home on November 26 and took the two minor children into care. Mother was pregnant at the time.

¶5 Upon taking the two older children into care DCS initiated dependency proceedings as to both Mother and Father.[1] On February 4, 2014, Mother gave birth to a third child; because the dependency was still ongoing, DCS filed a petition of dependency and took the infant into custody on February 7.

¶6 As part of the services provided by DCS, Father underwent a psychological evaluation by Dr. Thal. Based on Dr. Thal's evaluation and recommendations, DCS moved to change Father's case plan to severance and adoption. The juvenile court granted the motion.

¶7 In its motion for termination of Father's parental rights DCS alleged Father was unable to discharge his parental responsibilities because of mental illness and there were reasonable grounds to believe Father's condition ...


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