L.L., In Interest of, No. 89-883

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtConsidered by McGIVERIN; LAVORATO; J.L.'s list required him to do several things. First, he was to complete a substance abuse evaluation and undergo treatment. As a part of his treatment; Second; Third; Last; At first J.L. was very resistive to the p
Citation459 N.W.2d 489
Decision Date18 July 1990
Docket NumberNo. 89-883
PartiesIn the Interest of L.L., a child. J.L., Father, Appellant, State of Iowa, Appellee.

Page 489

459 N.W.2d 489
In the Interest of L.L., a child.
J.L., Father, Appellant,
State of Iowa, Appellee.
No. 89-883.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
July 18, 1990.
As Corrected Nov. 2, 1990.

Page 490

Thomas J. Miller, Atty. Gen., Gordon E. Allen, Deputy Atty. Gen., and Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

Stephen W. Newport, Davenport, for appellant.

Vincent Motto, Davenport, guardian ad litem for child.

Considered by McGIVERIN, C.J., and LARSON, CARTER, LAVORATO and NEUMAN, JJ.

Page 491

LAVORATO, Justice.

The father of a four-year-old child appeals from a juvenile court decree that terminated his parental rights. We originally transferred this case to the court of appeals, which reversed the juvenile court's decree. On further review, we now vacate the court of appeals decision and affirm the decree of the juvenile court.

L.L.--the child who is the subject of these proceedings--is the daughter of J.L. and G.R. J.L. is black and G.R. is Caucasian. J.L. and G.R. have never married. G.R. has another daughter--T.R.--who was born on April 3, 1984. J.L. is not T.R.'s natural father.

J.L. is also the father of A.T. J.L. claims to be the father of two other children, but has not been in contact with the children or their mother.

J.L.'s family first came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services in February 1986. At that time an undetermined report of child abuse was filed as to T.R., who was then two years old. The report alleged that T.R. had suffered bruises and abrasions to her face.

Several months later the department initiated in-home services for parenting and budgeting. These services continued until July 1986, when they were suspended because J.L. and G.R. did not get along with the homemaker. The following month, the department assigned a new homemaker to the family.

On August 2, 1986, another child abuse referral was made as to T.R. T.R. had received bruises as a result of a hard spanking administered by J.L. because she had wet her pants. Because of this latest incident, the department filed a child in need of assistance petition. See Iowa Code § 232.87 (1987). Following a removal hearing, the juvenile court ordered that T.R. remain in the home. The juvenile court, however, also ordered the department to make daily visits to the home to examine T.R. and L.L. for physical abuse.

In October 1986 the juvenile court--following an adjudication and dispositional hearing--adjudicated T.R. a child in need of assistance because of the physical abuse from J.L. The court, however, allowed T.R. to remain in the home. In addition the court ordered the department to visit the child weekly.

In December 1986 a physical abuse was substantiated with J.L. as the perpetrator and A.T. as the victim. See, e.g., Iowa Code § 232.70, 71. J.L. had backhanded A.T. off the toilet into a wall. As a result of this abuse, A.T. suffered a serious scalp laceration and bruising to the face. J.L. admitted to a police officer that he had caused the injuries. The juvenile court subsequently placed A.T. in foster care.

On May 7, 1987, G.R. suffered an epileptic seizure while she was cooking. T.R. and L.L. were in the home at the time. A fire started in the kitchen, and J.L.--on his way home from work--arrived in time to rescue the three from their smoke-filled apartment.

G.R. has a history of seizures. She has had at least five since L.L.'s birth. All the seizures occurred when G.R. was home alone with the children and usually when she did not take her medication.

On May 8, 1987, the juvenile court removed T.R. and L.L. from the home. The court placed the two in foster care due to a substantial denial of critical care on G.R.'s part. Since then the children have remained in foster care.

After the juvenile court removed the children from the home, the department established a case permanency plan. See Iowa Code § 232.102(6) (1987). The plan called for a responsibility list that each parent was to comply with as a condition of regaining custody of L.L.

J.L.'s list required him to do several things. First, he was to complete a substance abuse evaluation and undergo treatment. As a part of his treatment, J.L. was to document total abstinence from alcohol and drugs by attending three Alcoholic's Anonymous (AA) or aftercare meetings per week. He was also required to have a sponsor who would provide feedback about his progress.

Page 492

Apparently J.L. has had a drug and alcohol problem since his teen-age years. In the late 1970s, J.L. was in a drug treatment facility for thirty days. He was also arrested for delivery of cocaine in 1985 and received one year probation. G.R. has indicated that J.L. used marijuana and cocaine on a regular basis and drank beer excessively throughout their relationship.

Second, J.L. was to undergo a complete psychological evaluation and treatment. The treatment was to center on five of J.L.'s weaknesses: his inability to control his anger, a low frustration tolerance, his inflexibility, his tendency to blame others for his problems, and his need to control people.

Third, J.L. was to complete a domestic violence program and receive a recommendation from his counselor that he no longer posed a threat to his children.

Fourth, J.L. was to complete a suitable parenting program that would focus on helping him to: (1) better understand his child's needs; (2) learn management techniques other than corporal punishment; and (3) build and maintain a relationship with L.L. by visiting her weekly and caring for her during these visitations.

Last, J.L. was to have a place to live that was appropriate, safe, and clean for L.L. He was also to have an adequate income that would provide for his own necessities as well as those of L.L.

At first J.L. was very resistive to the plan requirements. For example, he did not participate in a domestic violence evaluation or treatment, he did not begin alcohol and drug treatment, and he did not visit L.L. as scheduled. During this period, J.L.'s behavior was extremely erratic, and he exhibited an explosive temper. J.L. did not participate regularly in aftercare treatment and he soon returned to his old erratic behavior.

Eventually--in July 1987--J.L. did enter outpatient drug treatment services, which he completed the following month. Although J.L. had agreed to attend AA meetings and aftercare support meetings at least twice a week after his release, he attended only ten such meetings from August 1987 to February 1988.

Toward the end of November 1987 J.L. discontinued his visits with L.L. for two months. It was during this period that J.L. and G.R. ended their relationship.

In March 1988 J.L. had a change of heart and began attending AA meetings regularly. He also secured a sponsor and appeared to be doing well.

During the spring of 1988 J.L.'s attitude continued to improve. Besides participating in AA, J.L. completed a parenting course and had individual counseling. He also participated in a domestic violence program. Directors of these programs gave good reports about J.L.'s progress.

With support from his caseworker and relatives, J.L. appeared to be making progress. During this period J.L. was living with his aunt and uncle. J.L.'s progress was significant enough that the department gradually increased his visitations with L.L. from one hour in the office, to a half day at home, to full days at home, to overnight visitation, to five days at home. It appeared that J.L. would regain custody of L.L. in July 1988.

However, in late June and early July, in the words of the juvenile court, "the bottom fell out." The department discovered that J.L. had not been honest with his caseworker. A social worker arrived early to pick up L.L. and discovered that someone had been smoking "pot" in the home.

J.L.'s aunt acknowledged that someone indeed had been smoking pot. In fact--the aunt reported--J.L. had not been chemically free throughout the time that he had been documenting his AA meetings. She also reported that J.L. had lost his job weeks before and that he was not spending time with L.L. during extended visitation.

In a telephone conversation with J.L.'s aunt, J.L.'s caseworker discovered that J.L. had returned from AA meetings with quarts of beer in his hand; that he did not promptly return from AA meetings which he attended during L.L.'s visitation; that on one occasion J.L. had said that he was going to a domestic violence appointment,

Page 493

but his car was seen at G.R.'s apartment instead; that because J.L. was gone most of the time, his aunt was providing primary care for L.L.; that J.L. had returned to his former group of friends, many of whom had drug and alcohol problems; and that J.L. had not worked in the previous two months because he quit his job.

When his caseworker confronted J.L. with his aunt's statements, J.L. did not deny them. He freely admitted that he was not yet ready to have L.L. placed with him. It was then--for the first time--that J.L. entered inpatient treatment for his alcohol and drug problems. He was released some three weeks later on August 2.

According to his inpatient counselor, J.L. was resistive to treatment for most of his stay. The counselor reported that J.L. did not recognize the need for long-term treatment until the last two days of treatment.

One week later J.L. met with his caseworker. J.L. told his caseworker that he was not responsible for the things that led to his inpatient treatment. J.L. blamed his aunt for his daily marijuana use and blamed his friends for pressing him into drinking again. J.L. minimized his drug and alcohol use and took no responsibility for the extensive time that L.L. had been in foster care. J.L. again admitted that he was not yet able to care for L.L. He then asked that visitation with L.L. be suspended until he could get his life back together.

During this period of time J.L.'s mental health hung in the balance. He demanded readmission to...

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386 practice notes
  • Johnson v. Dollar Gen., No. C 11-3038-MWB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • July 30, 2012
    ...that term is used in section 91A.3(1)—until it can be accurately estimated in accordance with the parties' agreement. Dallenbach, 459 N.W.2d at 489. We havePage 58likewise held that a bonus is not "due" if an employee fails to meet the eligibility requirements for the pay out. Phi......
  • Johnson v. Dollar Gen., No. C 11–3038–MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • July 30, 2012
    ...that term is used in section 91A.3(1)—until it can be accurately estimated in accordance with the parties' agreement. Dallenbach, 459 N.W.2d at 489. We have likewise held that a bonus is not “due” if an employee fails to meet the eligibility requirements for the pay out. Phipps v. IASD Heal......
  • Hinshaw v. Ligon Industries, L.L.C., No. C 07-3029-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • May 5, 2008
    ...and usual and necessary attorney's fees incurred in recovering the unpaid wages or expenses." Iowa Code § 91A.8; see Dallenbach, 459 N.W.2d at 489 ("As we read section 91A.8, intentional violation of section 91A.3 subjects an employer to liability for unpaid wages or expenses, liq......
  • In re J.E., No. 06-0459.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 17, 2006
    ...of neglect. We have previously said "our statutory termination provisions are preventative as well as remedial." In re L.L., 459 N.W.2d 489, 494 (Iowa 1990). They are designed to prevent probable harm to the child and the State is not required to wait until actual harm has occurre......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
386 cases
  • Johnson v. Dollar Gen., No. C 11-3038-MWB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • July 30, 2012
    ...that term is used in section 91A.3(1)—until it can be accurately estimated in accordance with the parties' agreement. Dallenbach, 459 N.W.2d at 489. We havePage 58likewise held that a bonus is not "due" if an employee fails to meet the eligibility requirements for the pay out. Phi......
  • Johnson v. Dollar Gen., No. C 11–3038–MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • July 30, 2012
    ...that term is used in section 91A.3(1)—until it can be accurately estimated in accordance with the parties' agreement. Dallenbach, 459 N.W.2d at 489. We have likewise held that a bonus is not “due” if an employee fails to meet the eligibility requirements for the pay out. Phipps v. IASD Heal......
  • Hinshaw v. Ligon Industries, L.L.C., No. C 07-3029-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • May 5, 2008
    ...and usual and necessary attorney's fees incurred in recovering the unpaid wages or expenses." Iowa Code § 91A.8; see Dallenbach, 459 N.W.2d at 489 ("As we read section 91A.8, intentional violation of section 91A.3 subjects an employer to liability for unpaid wages or expenses, liq......
  • In re J.E., No. 06-0459.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 17, 2006
    ...of neglect. We have previously said "our statutory termination provisions are preventative as well as remedial." In re L.L., 459 N.W.2d 489, 494 (Iowa 1990). They are designed to prevent probable harm to the child and the State is not required to wait until actual harm has occurre......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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