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In re Emilee J.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

September 10, 2013

In re Interest of Emilee J., a child under 18 years of age.
v.
Michael D., appellant. State of Nebraska, appellee,

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

Appeal from the Separate Juvenile Court of Lancaster County: Linda S. Porter, Judge.

Joy Shiffermiller, of Shiffermiller Law Office, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.

Carolyn Bosn, Deputy Lancaster County Attorney, for appellee.

Embody, Chief Judge, and Irwin and Riedmann, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL

Irwin, Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Michael D. appeals from the order of the juvenile court which terminated his parental rights to his daughter, Emilee J. On appeal, Michael challenges the juvenile court's finding that his parental rights should be terminated pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292(2) and (4) (Cum. Supp. 2012) and the court's finding that termination of his parental rights is in Emilee's best interests. Upon our de novo review of the record, we find that the State presented sufficient evidence to warrant termination of Michael's parental rights. As such, we affirm the order of the juvenile court terminating Michael's parental rights to Emilee.

II. BACKGROUND

These juvenile court proceedings involve Emilee, born in March 2007. Michael is Emilee's biological father. Josey J. is Emilee's biological mother. Josey's parental rights to Emilee have been terminated; however, she is not a party to this appeal, and her involvement in the juvenile court proceedings will be discussed only to the extent necessary to provide contextual background.

From the time of Emilee's birth in March 2007 through June 2011, Emilee resided with Josey. During this time, Michael had "regular visitation" with Emilee and saw her approximately once a week. Also during this time period, Michael struggled with a substance abuse problem and with criminal charges and convictions which occurred as a result of his substance abuse problem. Michael's struggles hindered his ability to see or care for Emilee.

In July 2009, Michael was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (a Class III felony) and with possession of more than 1 pound of marijuana (a Class IV felony). Michael was convicted of both charges. He was sentenced to a period of 360 days in jail for possessing more than 1 pound of marijuana. He began serving this sentence in May 2010. He was initially approved for the work release program, but quickly lost this status after he failed a drug test after returning from work one day. Michael was sentenced to 2 years of intensive supervision probation for his conviction for intent to deliver a controlled substance. He began serving this sentence after his release from jail in January 2011. Michael was still on probation when these juvenile court proceedings were initiated.

The events which resulted in these juvenile court proceedings occurred during the summer of 2011. In approximately June 2011, Josey brought Emilee to Michael's residence for a visit and did not immediately return. Emilee stayed with Michael for a few weeks before Josey returned to take Emilee. At that time, Josey apparently took Emilee to reside with a family member.

In August 2011, the State filed a petition alleging that Emilee was a child within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) (Reissue 2008) due to the faults or habits of Josey. Specifically, the petition alleged that Josey had failed to provide Emilee with safe and stable housing and admitted to using marijuana and that these actions placed Emilee at risk for harm. Ultimately, Josey admitted to these allegations and Emilee was adjudicated as a child within the meaning of §43-247(3)(a).

At the time the petition was filed, Emilee resided with her maternal grandmother. She has continuously remained in that placement throughout the ...


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