Doe, Matter of, No. 14050

Docket NºNo. 14050
Citation1982 NMSC 65, 98 N.M. 198, 647 P.2d 400
Case DateJune 16, 1982
CourtSupreme Court of New Mexico

Page 400

647 P.2d 400
98 N.M. 198
In the Matter of Jane DOE, a child.
STATE of New Mexico, ex rel. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Petitioner,
v.
Eloida MINJARES, Respondent.
No. 14050.
Supreme Court of New Mexico.
June 16, 1982.

[98 N.M. 199]

Page 401

Jeff Bingaman, Atty. Gen., Bruce M. Burwell, Asst. Atty. Gen., Santa Fe, for petitioner.

Larry R. Hill, Alamogordo, for respondent.

OPINION

EASLEY, Chief Justice.

The Human Services Department (Department) sought to terminate the parental rights of Mrs. Minjares. The trial court granted the Department's petition, but the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the trial court's decision was not supported by clear and convincing evidence. We granted the petition for certiorari, and we reverse the Court of Appeals.

We discuss whether the trial court's decision to terminate parental rights on the grounds of neglect is supported by clear and convincing evidence.

Mrs. Minjares lived with her seven children in squalid conditions. The furniture contained lice and leeches. Roaches roamed throughout the small, three room house, which had no indoor plumbing. The floor had human feces on it. Upon discovery of this, the Department assigned a homemaker to Mrs. Minjares to help supervise the children and to teach her and her children cleanliness. The Department also moved her and the children into government subsidized housing and obtained a second-hand set of furniture free of the lice and leeches. After moving to the subsidized housing, Mrs. Minjares gave birth to Jane Doe. Jane Doe has a birth defect which requires her to wear a hip harness in accordance with medical instructions. The homemaker continued to assist Mrs. Minjares and, according to her testimony, the household deteriorated within a month-"Just another mess." The homemaker said that Mrs. Minjares did not put on Jane Doe's hip harness.

On one of the homemaker's scheduled visits, she found Jane Doe, age eleven months, and another child, age three years, by themselves. One of her sons, age five, returned. The homemaker then called the caseworker, seeking advice on what to do with the children. The caseworker contacted the district attorney, and the children were taken to foster care. Mrs. Minjares returned and was very upset. She said that she left the children when they were sleeping to get some milk and diapers for Jane Doe.

Mrs. Minjares was found by the Childrens' Court to have neglected the three children. Two of the children were shortly reunited with Mrs. Minjares, but Jane Doe remained in foster care. The reason for not returning Jane Doe at the same time as the other children, according to the caseworker's testimony, was Mrs. Minjares' "mental condition."

For Mrs. Minjares to get custody of Jane Doe, she would have to comply with the Department's service plan and show progress in it. The service plan called for improvement of Mrs. Minjares' supervisory abilities over her children, instruction on home cleanliness and an increase in her awareness of the seriousness of the situation. Four years later, the service plan was reduced to writing and modified, providing for weekly visits with Jane Doe for two hours, weekly conferences with the caseworker, and weekly meetings with a counselor. This 1979 service plan included language, which was deleted at the insistence of Mrs. Minjares, to the effect that failure to abide by the plan may result in termination of her parental rights of Jane Doe.

The Department's visitation records indicate that Mrs. Minjares saw Jane Doe on the average of two hours a week twice a month. There was also one overnight visit during the last five years. Mrs. Minjares is [98 N.M. 200]

Page 402

too poor to own a car and lives in Alamogordo, while the foster parents reside in Ruidoso.

After Mrs. Minjares was adjudged a neglecful...

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14 practice notes
  • Darla D. v. Grace R. (In re Tristan R.), NO. 34,327
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • August 31, 2016
    ...and convincing evidence and if it applied the proper rule of law. State ex rel. Dep't of Human Servs. v. Minjares , 1982–NMSC–065, ¶ 12, 98 N.M. 198, 647 P.2d 400. “Clear and convincing evidence” is defined as evidence that “instantly tilt[s] the scales in the affirmative when weighed again......
  • Adoption of J.J.B., Matter of, No. 14318
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • November 30, 1993
    ...on the part of the parent through intentional or negligent disregard of the child's well-being and proper needs. See In re Doe, 98 N.M. 198, 201, 647 P.2d 400, 403 (1982) (neglected child is one who is without proper parental care and control necessary for child's well-being because of pare......
  • State ex rel. Cyfd. v. Cosme V., No. 28,328.
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • May 26, 2009
    ...are strong countervailing interests, which are equally significant." (internal quotation marks and citations omitted)); In re Jane Doe, 98 N.M. 198, 200, 647 P.2d 400, 402 (1982) ("We begin by emphasizing that parental rights are among the most basic rights of our society and go to the very......
  • State v. Brothers, No. 22,377.
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • September 25, 2002
    ...in order to terminate parental rights. See In re Doe, 98 N.M. 367, 370, 648 P.2d 1180, 1183 (Ct.App.1981), rev'd on other grounds, 98 N.M. 198, 647 P.2d 400 (1982) (interpreting NMSA 1978, § 40-7-4 (1977, repealed 1985)). He argues that, just as a court terminating parental rights must find......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Darla D. v. Grace R. (In re Tristan R.), NO. 34,327
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • August 31, 2016
    ...and convincing evidence and if it applied the proper rule of law. State ex rel. Dep't of Human Servs. v. Minjares , 1982–NMSC–065, ¶ 12, 98 N.M. 198, 647 P.2d 400. “Clear and convincing evidence” is defined as evidence that “instantly tilt[s] the scales in the affirmative when weighed again......
  • Adoption of J.J.B., Matter of, No. 14318
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • November 30, 1993
    ...on the part of the parent through intentional or negligent disregard of the child's well-being and proper needs. See In re Doe, 98 N.M. 198, 201, 647 P.2d 400, 403 (1982) (neglected child is one who is without proper parental care and control necessary for child's well-being because of pare......
  • State ex rel. Cyfd. v. Cosme V., No. 28,328.
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • May 26, 2009
    ...are strong countervailing interests, which are equally significant." (internal quotation marks and citations omitted)); In re Jane Doe, 98 N.M. 198, 200, 647 P.2d 400, 402 (1982) ("We begin by emphasizing that parental rights are among the most basic rights of our society and go to the very......
  • State v. Brothers, No. 22,377.
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • September 25, 2002
    ...in order to terminate parental rights. See In re Doe, 98 N.M. 367, 370, 648 P.2d 1180, 1183 (Ct.App.1981), rev'd on other grounds, 98 N.M. 198, 647 P.2d 400 (1982) (interpreting NMSA 1978, § 40-7-4 (1977, repealed 1985)). He argues that, just as a court terminating parental rights must find......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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