R.M., In Interest of, No. 88-205

CourtCourt of Appeals of Iowa
Writing for the CourtConsidered by OXBERGER; HABHAB
Citation431 N.W.2d 196
Decision Date24 August 1988
Docket NumberNo. 88-205
PartiesIn the Interest of R.M. and E.M., Children, D.M., Mother, Appellant.

Page 196

431 N.W.2d 196
In the Interest of R.M. and E.M., Children,
D.M., Mother, Appellant.
No. 88-205.
Court of Appeals of Iowa.
Aug. 24, 1988.

Page 197

Nancy Baumgartner, Linn County Public Defender's Office, Cedar Rapids, for appellant mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Atty. Gen., Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Robert A. Kimm, Asst. Linn Co. Atty., for appellee State.

Considered by OXBERGER, C.J., and DONIELSON and HABHAB, JJ.

HABHAB, Judge.

The two children in question (E.M. and R.M.) are boys born in March 1980 and August 1982. They are the youngest of four sons born to D.M. at the time she was married to R.M., Sr. R.M., Sr. denies paternity

Page 198

of the younger two children and has had little contact with them since the dissolution of his marriage to D.M. We parenthetically note that D.M. had two daughters prior to her marriage to R.M., Sr. and that her parental rights were terminated and her two daughters adopted by their maternal grandparents.

The family, prior to the birth of E.M. and R.M., has received repeated assistance and intervention from the Department of Human Services. All four children were adjudicated to be children in need of assistance in 1983; at that time the four children were removed from the mother's home and were placed in foster care. The two older children were never returned to their mother's care, and the parental rights as to them have been terminated. However, the two younger children were shifted between foster care and the mother's home until March 1986. At that time they were placed in foster care where they have since remained.

In 1987 the State filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of both parents with respect to E.M. and R.M. The children's putative father did not object to the termination.

The evidence shows that the mother has led a chaotic life and has failed utterly to provide a stable home. There is also evidence that she flies into rages which terrorize the children, that she has endangered the children's lives by neglecting to give them medical care, and that she has neglected to provide other basic needs.

The juvenile court terminated the parental rights of both parents. As grounds for termination, it relied on Iowa Code section 232.116(5). The mother has appealed. The father has not. We affirm.

I.

Appellant asserts she was denied effective assistance of counsel during the proceedings concerning the termination of her parental rights. She alleges this happened in two ways.

First, appellant asserts the juvenile court based its decision to terminate parental rights on economic considerations, and as such violated certain of her constitutional rights. Appellant claims her counsel failed to raise this issue, which resulted in actual prejudice to her.

In another termination of parental rights appeal, In Interest of J.P.B., 419 N.W.2d 387 (Iowa 1988), our supreme court set out the standards for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim to be successful:

The Strickland principles require the party claiming ineffective assistance of counsel to show (1) that counsel's performance was deficient, and (2) that actual prejudice resulted. Unless both showings are made, the claim must fail. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687, 104 S.Ct. [2052] at 2064, 80 L.Ed.2d at 693. [ (1984) ]

In Interest of J.P.B., 419 N.W.2d at 390.

We must now determine if appellant met her burden. In doing so, we once again note appellant's contention that the trial court committed error by relying on economic conditions to make its decision. In this regard, the supreme court has said, "[c]ourts are not free to take children from parents simply by deciding another home offers more advantages." Matter of Burney, 259 N.W.2d 322, 324 (Iowa 1977). Nor do economic and cultural advantages "tip the balance" in the assessment of parental fitness. Id.

If the trial court did in fact base its decision on economic factors alone, then it committed error. We find, however, that this is not the case.

Specifically, the court noted in its ruling and order that R.M. and E.M. had to be removed from D.M.'s custody under an emergency removal due to reports of her "uncontrolled rages." It was felt that the children's emotional as well as physical health was jeopardized by D.M.'s "angry outbursts when she would threaten the children's lives." A case plan was implemented for D.M. and extensive services were provided. E.M. and R.M. were returned to their mother's care in May 1985. They remained with their mother until March 24, 1986, when another emergency removal order issued due to medical neglect

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of R.M. leading to his hospitalization for pneumonia. The children have since remained in foster care.

There were two review hearings to determine if D.M. had been complying with case plan requirements. The first one, dated April 10, 1986, resulted in the determination that the children could not be protected from harm within their mother's home. After D.M. had been given a "last chance," the second review hearing resulted in the same finding.

The failure of counsel for...

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37 practice notes
  • D.E.D., In Interest of, No. 90-1398
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 27 Agosto 1991
    ...decision of the trial judge who is closer and more able to observe the parties and the actual family dynamics. See generally, In re R.M., 431 N.W.2d 196, 199 (Iowa App.1988). We reject the mother's argument on these The mother's last contention is her parental rights should not be terminate......
  • H.L.B.R., In Interest of, No. 96-2041
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 29 Mayo 1997
    ...evidence to support the termination. See In re D.W., 385 N.W.2d 570 (Iowa 1986); In re C.M.T., 433 N.W.2d 55 (Iowa App.1988); In re R.M., 431 N.W.2d 196 (Iowa Kathy next contends the State did not use reasonable efforts to help her reclaim Hakeem. There is a requirement that reasonable serv......
  • J.P., In Interest of, No. 92-1328
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 23 Febrero 1993
    ...children's best interests, we consider the children's long-range as well as immediate interests. Dameron, 306 N.W.2d at 745; In re R.M., 431 N.W.2d 196, 199 (Iowa App.1988). We also look to the parent's past performance because it may indicate the quality of care the parent is capable of pr......
  • R.E., In Interest of, No. 90-574
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 26 Septiembre 1990
    ...statutory termination provisions are preventative as well as remedial. They are designed to prevent probable harm to a child. In re R.M., 431 N.W.2d 196, 199 (Iowa App.1988) (citing to Dameron, 306 N.W.2d at 745); see also In re A.C., 415 N.W.2d 609, 613 (Iowa I. Due Process The sole issue ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
37 cases
  • D.E.D., In Interest of, No. 90-1398
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 27 Agosto 1991
    ...decision of the trial judge who is closer and more able to observe the parties and the actual family dynamics. See generally, In re R.M., 431 N.W.2d 196, 199 (Iowa App.1988). We reject the mother's argument on these The mother's last contention is her parental rights should not be terminate......
  • H.L.B.R., In Interest of, No. 96-2041
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 29 Mayo 1997
    ...evidence to support the termination. See In re D.W., 385 N.W.2d 570 (Iowa 1986); In re C.M.T., 433 N.W.2d 55 (Iowa App.1988); In re R.M., 431 N.W.2d 196 (Iowa Kathy next contends the State did not use reasonable efforts to help her reclaim Hakeem. There is a requirement that reasonable serv......
  • J.P., In Interest of, No. 92-1328
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 23 Febrero 1993
    ...children's best interests, we consider the children's long-range as well as immediate interests. Dameron, 306 N.W.2d at 745; In re R.M., 431 N.W.2d 196, 199 (Iowa App.1988). We also look to the parent's past performance because it may indicate the quality of care the parent is capable of pr......
  • R.E., In Interest of, No. 90-574
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 26 Septiembre 1990
    ...statutory termination provisions are preventative as well as remedial. They are designed to prevent probable harm to a child. In re R.M., 431 N.W.2d 196, 199 (Iowa App.1988) (citing to Dameron, 306 N.W.2d at 745); see also In re A.C., 415 N.W.2d 609, 613 (Iowa I. Due Process The sole issue ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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