State ex rel. E.A., 050318 UTCA, 20180060-CA

Docket Nº:20180060-CA
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:State of Utah, in the interest of E.A., N.L., E.L., and J.L., persons under eighteen years of age. v. State of Utah, Appellee. S.A., Appellant,
Attorney:Christopher M. Ault and Anthony M. Saunders, Attorneys for Appellant Sean D. Reyes, Carol L.C. Verdoia, and John M. Peterson, Attorneys for Appellee Martha Pierce, Guardian ad Litem
Judge Panel:Before Judges David N. Mortensen, Diana Hagen, and Ryan M. Harris.
Case Date:May 03, 2018
Court:Court of Appeals of Utah
 
FREE EXCERPT

2018 UT App 83

State of Utah, in the interest of E.A., N.L., E.L., and J.L., persons under eighteen years of age.

S.A., Appellant,

v.

State of Utah, Appellee.

No. 20180060-CA

Court of Appeals of Utah

May 3, 2018

Third District Juvenile Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Kimberly K. Hornak No. 1106080

Christopher M. Ault and Anthony M. Saunders, Attorneys for Appellant

Sean D. Reyes, Carol L.C. Verdoia, and John M. Peterson, Attorneys for Appellee

Martha Pierce, Guardian ad Litem

Before Judges David N. Mortensen, Diana Hagen, and Ryan M. Harris.

PER CURIAM

¶1 S.A. (Mother) appeals the juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights. Mother asserts that the juvenile court erred in finding multiple grounds for termination based solely on Mother's failure to complete the requirements of her service plan. Because the juvenile court's termination order is inadequate to demonstrate grounds for termination and the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the juvenile court's conclusion that termination is warranted, the juvenile court's order is reversed.

¶2 Whether a parent's rights should be terminated is a mixed question of law and fact. In re B.R., 2007 UT 82, ¶ 12, 171 P.3d 435. The ultimate conclusion that a parent is unfit or that other grounds for termination have been established is a legal question, "but such decisions rely heavily on the juvenile court's assessment and weighing of the facts in any given case." Id. Because of the factually intense nature of parental termination proceedings, "the juvenile court's decision should be afforded a high degree of deference." Id. Accordingly, to overturn a juvenile court's decision, it must be "against the clear weight of the evidence." Id. "When a foundation for the [juvenile] court's decision exists in the evidence, an appellate court may not engage in a reweighing of the evidence." Id.

¶3 "It has long been the law in this state that conclusions of law must be predicated upon and find support in the findings of fact[.]" Gillmor v. Wright, 850 P.2d 431, 436 (Utah 1993). "In considering whether to terminate parental rights-and to permit meaningful appellate review of the [juvenile] court's ultimate determination-the [juvenile] court's...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP