People v. Dana S. (In re Tamesha T.)

Citation16 N.E.3d 763
Decision Date28 July 2014
Docket NumberNo. 1–13–2986.,1–13–2986.
PartiesIn re TAMESHA T., Jacob T., Emmanuel T., Jeremiah T., Angel S., Malachi T., Minors, Respondents–Appellees (The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner–Appellee, v. Dana S., Respondent–Appellant).
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

Bruce H. Bornstein, of Chicago, for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Nancy Kisicki, and Nichole Lucero, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

Robert F. Harris, Public Guardian, of Chicago (Kass A. Plain and Christopher Williams, of counsel), guardian ad litem.

OPINION

Justice CUNNINGHAM

delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 This appeal arises from the August 12, 2013 adjudication and disposition orders entered by the circuit court of Cook County, which found respondents Tamesha T. (Tamesha), Jacob T. (Jacob), Emmanuel T. (Emmanuel), Jeremiah T. (Jeremiah), Angel S. (Angel), and Malachi T. (Malachi) to be neglected and abused, and which adjudged them wards of the court under the guardianship of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). On appeal, the minors' mother, respondent Dana S. (Dana), argues that: (1) the circuit court abused its discretion and prejudiced her by its questioning of the witnesses during the adjudication hearing; and (2) the evidence was insufficient to support the circuit court's findings of neglect and abuse. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Dana is the biological mother of Tamesha, Jacob, Emmanuel, Jeremiah, Angel and Malachi. Angel, whose putative father is Jermaine S. (Jermaine), was born on September 3, 2002. Emmanuel was born on April 9, 2004, Jacob was born on November 19, 2005, Tamesha was born on October 30, 2006, and Jeremiah was born on February 23, 2011. Twan T. (Twan) is the putative father of Emmanuel, Jacob, Tamesha, and Jeremiah. Malachi was born on October 23, 2012, and his legal father is Marvell S. (Marvell).1 Four of the six children have special needs.

¶ 4 In March 2012, DCFS became involved with the family after receiving two hotline telephone calls.2 The first hotline call alleged that, on March 12, 2012, when a bus driver came to pick Tamesha and Jacob up from the family home for school, neither child was waiting outside and no one answered the door. As the bus was leaving, then five-year-old Tamesha and six-year-old Jacob came around the corner. Tamesha was wearing a coat with nothing underneath the coat, as well as mismatched shoes. Jacob was minimally dressed in a thin T-shirt and gym shoes. The children informed the bus driver that their mother was at the laundromat. The second hotline call alleged that none of the children ever went to school and that the family lived in a home full of bugs and rodents. On March 17, 2012, DCFS received a third hotline call, which reported that the police had been notified that the children were found naked and playing outside on the window ledge of the family's third-floor apartment. Investigators found the home to be unsafe, discovered butcher knives on the floor of the home, and discovered that Dana was taking a bath with her youngest child while her other children were playing on the window ledge. Thereafter, the police arrested and charged Dana with child endangerment, to which she pled guilty on April 26, 2012, and the children were removed from the home.3 Although the children were temporarily removed from the home in March 2012, they were soon returned to Dana's care.4

¶ 5 On about March 20, 2012, DCFS opened an “intact case” and offered support services to Dana, including homemaker's services, parenting classes, and individual therapy. On September 6, 2012, the State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship (petition for adjudication) for each child, alleging that Tamesha, Jacob, Emmanuel, Jeremiah and Angel were abused due to a substantial risk of physical injury (705 ILCS 405/2–3(2)(ii)

(West 2012)), and neglected due to an injurious environment (705 ILCS 405/2–3(1)(b) (West 2012)) and lack of necessary care (705 ILCS 405/2–3(1)(a) (West 2012)), on the bases that Dana failed to make progress in DCFS services, that she had been psychiatrically hospitalized due to “homicidal ideations towards her unborn child,” that she had previously pled guilty to a charge of child endangerment, and that the family home was filthy. On that same day, September 6, 2012, the State filed motions for temporary custody, requesting that these five children be placed in temporary custody of a legal guardian because probable cause existed that they were neglected and abused. The circuit court granted the motion for temporary custody, appointed temporary custody to DCFS, and appointed a public guardian and guardian ad litem (GAL) for the five children.

¶ 6 On October 23, 2012, Dana's sixth child, Malachi, was born. On October 30, 2012, the State filed another petition for adjudication, alleging that Malachi was abused due to a substantial risk of injury (705 ILCS 405/2–3(2)(ii)

(West 2012)) and neglected due to an injurious environment (705 ILCS 405/2–3(1)(b) (West 2012)), on the bases that Dana failed to make progress in DCFS services, that she had previously pled guilty to a charge of child endangerment, and that she and Malachi's father had a history of domestic violence. On that same day, October 30, 2012, the State filed a motion for temporary custody, requesting that Malachi also be placed in temporary custody of a legal guardian. The circuit court then granted the October 30, 2012 motion and appointed DCFS temporary custody over Malachi.

¶ 7 On August 12, 2013, an adjudication hearing commenced, during which both Dana and Marvell were present. At the start of the hearing, the circuit court admitted into evidence, without objection, six exhibits presented by the State: (1) a certified statement of conviction for Dana's guilty plea of child endangerment (People's Exhibit 1); (2) certified and delegated “individual counseling & family behavioral therapy

preliminary report” from Mary & Tom Leo Associates, Inc. counseling services (People's Exhibit 2); (3) certified and delegated case notes from At Home Health Services (People's Exhibit 3); (4) a certified and delegated record of a psychological evaluation performed by Dr. Kyle Hunneke (People's Exhibit 4); (5) certified and delegated medical records from Saint Bernand Hospital, where Dana had been involuntarily hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation in September 2012 (People's Exhibit 5); and (6) certified and delegated medical records from Illinois Medical Center of Chicago, where Dana had been voluntarily hospitalized for psychiatric treatment after her involuntary hospitalization at Saint Bernard Hospital in September 2012 (People's Exhibit 6).

¶ 8 Deborah Jackson–Crawford (Jackson–Crawford) testified on behalf of the State that she was a DCFS “intact worker” who was assigned to the family's case from the period of time when DCFS first became involved with the family until the time Dana's children were taken into DCFS protective custody in September 2012. She testified that on April 5, 2012, she met with Dana and recommended support services to her, including participation in a psychological evaluation, parenting classes, parenting coaching, and enrollment in a homemaker service. Jackson–Crawford explained that the purpose of the homemaker service was to help Dana learn how to keep the house clean, how to be consistent with the children, what to do when the children awoke in the morning or afternoon, how to prepare meals, and how to organize her finances. The homemaker visited the family every weekday. Although Dana completed the psychological evaluation and the parenting classes, she was still in need of homemaker services and parenting coaching at the time her children were placed into protective custody. Jackson–Crawford testified that, on May 22, 2012, she met with Twan, the father of Emmanuel, Jacob, Tamesha, and Jeremiah, who informed her that he was incapable of taking care of his children and that there were issues of domestic violence between him and Dana. She recommended certain DCFS support services to Twan, who failed to participate in any. After Jackson–Crawford's meeting with Twan, she determined that Dana was also in need of domestic violence counseling, for which she did not immediately enroll Dana so as not to overwhelm her. During her time as the family's DCFS caseworker, Jackson–Crawford visited Dana's home nearly every weekday, but in August 2012, Dana disappeared with her children for nearly three weeks and did not participate in any services during that time. Jackson–Crawford further testified that on September 4, 2012, she and a DCFS investigator visited Dana's home, where she had the opportunity to observe the minors and the conditions of the home. Despite the fact that the homemaker services were still in place on September 4, 2012, she described the home as “unclean,” stating that there was food all around the kitchen and on the floor, that there was a diaper with feces on it in one of the back rooms, that there were clothes all over the back porch and in the bathtub, and that there were clothes everywhere in the front room where the children slept with Dana on mattresses. Jackson–Crawford also had some concerns about Angel, who was autistic, because Dana wanted to home-school her. However, Angel was eventually enrolled in school. At the end of the State's direct examination of Jackson–Crawford, the circuit court posed several questions to the witness. Specifically, the court asked whether Dana's other children were also enrolled in school, to which Jackson–Crawford replied in the affirmative. The court then asked whether the minors were supposed to be in school on September 4, 2012, to which Jackson–Crawford stated “No [,] * * * if I recall, school was just beginning.” Upon the court's...

To continue reading

Request your trial
12 cases
  • People v. Carrasquillo
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 31, 2020
    ...and is the reason that trial counsel gave for selecting a bench trial. See In re Tamesha T. , 2014 IL App (1st) 132986, ¶ 26, 384 Ill.Dec. 370, 16 N.E.3d 763 ("the risk of prejudice is less"). Third, decisions regarding the propriety of uniformed police officers in the courtroom are general......
  • People v. Mario L. (In re J.L.), 1–15–2479.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • May 13, 2016
    ...the court's finding of abuse due to a substantial risk of physical injury.” In re Tamesha T., 2014 IL App (1st) 132986, ¶ 44, 384 Ill.Dec. 370, 16 N.E.3d 763. Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the trial court's findings of abuse and neglect with respect to M.L., A.L., and J.L. were n......
  • People v. Arielle T. (In re N.T.)
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 20, 2015
    ...to during trial and raised in a posttrial motion is forfeited on appeal. In re Tamesha T., 2014 IL App (1st) 132986, ¶ 25, 384 Ill.Dec. 370, 16 N.E.3d 763. However, application of the forfeiture rule is less rigid when the basis of the objection is the trial court's conduct. In re Tamesha T......
  • Zion M. v. Southern
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • December 17, 2015
    ...also found that Zion was abused due to a substantial risk of physical injury. In re Tamesha T., 2014 IL App (1st) 132986, ¶ 44, 384 Ill.Dec. 370, 16 N.E.3d 763. The State mirrors the arguments made by the public guardian.¶ 22 In response, Neatre argues that the trial court was correct in fi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT