Ex parte B.C.Annotate this Case
The Alabama Supreme Court granted B.C.'s petition for certiorari review based on the Court's recent decision in "Ex parte L.J.," ([Ms. 1121462, September 30, 2014] So. 3d (Ala. 2014)), in which the Court held that a juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction under 12-15-114 of the Alabama Juvenile Justice Act ("the AJJA") over a termination-of-parental-rights action when the subject of the termination was not a child alleged "to have committed a delinquent act, to be dependent, or to be in need of supervision." B.C. gave birth to a child in 2008. In 2010, the Limestone Juvenile Court entered a judgment adjudicating A.H. as the father of the child. In 2013, B.C. petitioned the juvenile court to terminate the father's parental rights to the child, alleging he abandoned the child, failed to adjust his circumstances to fit the child's needs, and that he failed to provide any financial support for the child. B.C. did not allege that the child was dependent, delinquent or in need of supervision. At a hearing on the mother's petition, father did not attend, but was represented by counsel, who moved to dismiss the termination proceedings on the lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The juvenile court ultimately entered an order terminating the father's parental rights. After review, the Supreme Court concluded, based on its holding in "Ex parte L.J.," that the judgment of the juvenile court was not void because it did not find the child to be delinquent, dependent, or in need of supervision. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Civil Appeals and remanded the case for that court to consider any arguments that may have been pretermitted by the Court of Civil Appeals' analysis of the effect of 12-15-114.