Hill v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., CV-13-693

Decision Date18 December 2013
Docket NumberNo. CV-13-693,CV-13-693
Citation2013 Ark. App. 760
PartiesBARBARA HILL APPELLANT v. ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES and MINOR CHILDREN APPELLEES
CourtArkansas Court of Appeals

APPEAL FROM THE RANDOLPH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

[NO. JV-12-146]

HONORABLE KEVIN KING, JUDGE

AFFIRMED

KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge

Appellant Barbara Hill appeals from the termination of her parental rights to her son M.T., born on 06/10/10, and her daughter C.H., born on 04/21/12. Barbara's sole point on appeal is that the trial court erred when it failed to grant her oral motion for a continuance at the termination hearing. We affirm.

The evidence in this case demonstrated that DHS has an extensive history with Barbara dating back to 1999. In September 2008, the trial court terminated Barbara's parental rights to four of M.T.'s and C.H.'s siblings.

The present proceedings began on October 30, 2012, when M.T. and C.H. were removed from Barbara's custody, followed by an order for emergency custody entered on November 2, 2012. Emergency custody was taken after Barbara was arrested for texting a picture of her daughter's buttocks and vagina to the child's father, along with an explicit andinappropriate message. Based on that conduct, Barbara pleaded guilty to engaging a child in sexually explicit conduct, and in addition to that conviction she also had her probation revoked. Barbara was sentenced to three years in prison, and she is currently serving her sentence. Barbara has been incarcerated since the removal of her children.

The children were adjudicated dependent/neglected on November 27, 2012, and on January 29, 2013, the trial court entered a review order finding by clear and convincing evidence that Barbara had subjected M.T. and C.H. to aggravated circumstances because there was little likelihood that services to the mother would result in successful reunification. The trial court set the case goal as termination of Barbara's parental rights, and after DHS filed a petition the case proceeded to a termination hearing on May 21, 2013.

Barbara was represented by appointed counsel at the termination hearing, but at the outset of the hearing she asked for a continuance stating, "I have been told that my family has retained Larry Steele to represent me in this case." Barbara further said that attorney Steele was not there "because he did not know to be here." Both counsel for DHS and the attorney ad litem opposed the motion, and after hearing arguments from counsel the trial court denied Barbara's request for a continuance.

Barbara testified on her own behalf at the termination hearing, acknowledging that she was serving time in prison, but denying that she had done anything wrong with regard to the text message. Lindsey Smith, a DHS caseworker, testified that as a result of Barbara's conviction she would have to register as a sex offender. Ms. Smith stated that both children could be easily adopted, and she recommended termination of Barbara's parental rights.

On June 10, 2013, the trial court entered an order terminating Barbara's parental rights to M.T. and C.H. The trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that termination of her parental rights was in the children's best interest, and the court specifically considered the likelihood that the children would be adopted, as well as the potential harm of returning them to the parent as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(A) (Supp. 2011). The trial court also found clear and convincing evidence of several statutory grounds supporting termination, including that a court of competent jurisdiction had found that Barbara subjected the juveniles to aggravated circumstances, and that Barbara had her parental rights involuntarily terminated as to a sibling of the children. See Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(ix) (a)(3) and (4).

In this appeal Barbara does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting termination of her parental rights. Her only argument is that the trial court erred in denying her motion for a continuance. Barbara argues that in order to protect her parental rights she should have been afforded a continuance to consult with another attorney, Larry Steele.

A motion for continuance shall be granted only upon a showing of good cause. Sanderson v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2012 Ark. App. 481. We will not reverse the denial of a motion for continuance absent an abuse of discretion amounting to a denial of justice. Id. A circuit court abuses its discretion when it acts improvidently and without due consideration. Henderson v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2010 Ark. App. 481. The appellant bears the burden of showing that ...

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6 cases
  • SMG 1054, Inc. v. Thompson
    • United States
    • Arkansas Court of Appeals
    • 1 Octubre 2014
    ...first trial judge recused. A motion for continuance shall be granted only upon a showing of good cause. Hill v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2013 Ark. App. 760, at 3, 2013 WL 6685788. We will not reverse the denial of a motion for continuance absent an abuse of discretion amounting to a deni......
  • Elliot v. Hale
    • United States
    • Arkansas Court of Appeals
    • 8 Diciembre 2021
    ... 1 2021 Ark.App. 503 KELLIE ELLIOT APPELLANT v. ELI HALE ... the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) removed ... H.R.E. from Elliot's ... Williams v. Ark. Dep't of Hum ... Servs., 2019 Ark.App. 194, at 6, 575 S.W.3d 415, 419 ... continuance. Hill v. Ark. Dep't of Hum. Servs., ... 2013 Ark.App ... ...
  • Williams v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., CV-18-1014
    • United States
    • Arkansas Court of Appeals
    • 3 Abril 2019
    ...hearing where she can be present. A motion for continuance shall be granted only upon a showing of good cause. Hill v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs. , 2013 Ark. App. 760. We will not reverse the denial of a motion for continuance absent an abuse of discretion amounting to a denial of justice. ......
  • Schultz v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., CV-20-594
    • United States
    • Arkansas Court of Appeals
    • 24 Febrero 2021
    ...219 S.W.3d at 708. 10. Martin v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2015 Ark. App. 407, at 4, 465 S.W.3d 881, 883-84. 11. Hill v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2013 Ark. App. 760. 12. 2019 Ark. App. 194, 575 S.W.3d 415. 13. Supra. 14. 2016 Ark. App. 146. 15. Id. ...
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