In re Interest of B.P., No. 15–1997.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Iowa
Writing for the CourtBOWER, Judge.
Citation883 N.W.2d 537 (Table)
PartiesIn the Interest of B.P., Minor Child, B.P., Father, Appellant.
Decision Date23 March 2016
Docket NumberNo. 15–1997.

883 N.W.2d 537 (Table)

In the Interest of B.P., Minor Child,

B.P., Father, Appellant.

No. 15–1997.

Court of Appeals of Iowa.

March 23, 2016.

Jesse A. Macro Jr. of Gaudineer & George, L.L.P., West Des Moines, for appellant father.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathrine S. Miller–Todd and Janet L. Hoffman, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee State.

Jami J. Hagemeier of Williams & Hagemeier, P.L.C., Des Moines, for minor child.

Considered by TABOR, P.J., and BOWER and McDONALD, JJ.

BOWER, Judge.

A father appeals the order terminating his parental rights. We find the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) engaged in reasonable efforts to reunite the father with the child. The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying the father's motion to continue the termination hearing. We affirm the ruling of the juvenile court terminating the father's parental rights.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings

B.P. and E.V. are the parents of a child, who was born in 2009. B.P. was absent during much of the child's life because he was in prison in Florida on charges arising from his participation in an organized retail theft ring. He also has a previous conviction for lascivious acts with a child based upon sexual conduct with a thirteen-year-old girl and is a registered sex offender. The parties' child was removed from the mother's care in August 2013 after she tested positive for methamphetamine.

The juvenile court adjudicated the child to be in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(2), and (n) (2013). On February 20, 2015, the State filed a petition seeking to terminate the parents' rights. On June 4, 2015, B.P. was arrested on federal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, production of child pornography, possession of child pornography, and commission of a felony offense involving a minor by a registered sex offender, and he was placed in federal custody.1 In an order filed on August 27, 2015, the juvenile court determined there were grounds to terminate B.P.'s parental rights under section 232.116(1)(d) and (f) (2015) but determined it was not in the child's best interests to terminate parental rights at that time. Instead, the court did not terminate the parental rights of either parent because it determined the mother should have more time to work on reunification.

The mother did not actively participate in treatment and relapsed in the use of illegal drugs. The State filed a new petition for termination of parental rights on September 10, 2015. Prior to the hearing, B.P. filed a motion to continue, claiming federal officers had searched his cell and seized all his legal papers, including those pertaining to the termination action. He also filed a motion claiming DHS failed to provide reasonable efforts to reunite him with his child.

The juvenile court denied the motion to continue on the record at the termination hearing. The court filed an order on November 10, 2015, terminating B.P.'s parental rights under sections 232.116(1)(d) and (f).2 The court found, “To subject the child to the turmoil that would be caused by an ongoing legal relationship with...

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