RE: Termination of Parental Rights of John (2011-23) DoeAnnotate this Case
John Doe (Father) is a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States illegally in 2003. In mid-2007, he married Jane Doe (Mother) in Payette, Idaho. After they were married, Father was arrested in Ontario, Oregon, when he attempted to open a bank account with a false social security number. He served three months in jail, and was then transferred to a jail in Portland to be held for deportation. He agreed to voluntarily leave the United States and did so, returning to his parents’ home in Salamanca, Guanajuato, Mexico. Mother also went to Mexico, but she returned to the United States after she became pregnant. Their child (Daughter) was born in the United States in November 2008. Mother also had a four-year-old son by another man. In March 2009, Father reentered the United States illegally in an attempt to be with his wife and Daughter, but he was caught in Arizona and returned to Mexico. In March, 2009, Mother was living in Middleton, Idaho, with her boyfriend, who had a son who was about seven years old. Mother and her boyfriend took his son to the hospital regarding severe bruising on his head. Because Mother and her boyfriend gave conflicting accounts of how the boy was injured, the medical personnel notified law enforcement. The investigation disclosed Mother’s son had struck her boyfriend’s son several times with a hairbrush. Daughter and the boyfriend’s son were taken into custody by law enforcement, and on the same day the county prosecuting attorney filed a petition under the Child Protective Act with respect to those children. The petition alleged that the name of Daughter’s father was unknown and that he was in Mexico at an unknown address. Father spoke by telephone from Mexico with the Department’s caseworker that he would like to be involved in Daughter’s life and to be reunited with Mother and her son. He also said he would like Mother to begin the process that would allow him to come into the United States lawfully. In August, the Department’s caseworker told Father she would present a home study to the court if it was received in time. On September 15, 2010, the Mexican consulate emailed the report to the caseworker. The termination hearing was held on September 29. At that hearing, the Department did not present the study to the court. The caseworker testified that she disregarded the report because the Department had decided to terminate Father’s parental rights. Thus, default was entered against Father, even though he had clearly not been properly served with process regarding the termination proceedings. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the magistrate court and remanded this case with instructions for the court to order the Department to take all reasonable steps to promptly place Daughter with Father in Mexico.