RE: Termination of Parental Rights of John (2011-23) DoeAnnotate this Case
Appellant is a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States illegally in 2003. He married Jane Doe (Mother) in Payette, Idaho. After they were married, Appellant was arrested in 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 to be held for deportation. He agreed to voluntarily leave the United States and did so, returning to his parents' home in 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 2009, Mother and her boyfriend took the boyfriend's son to the hospital regarding severe bruising on his head. Because Mother and the boyfriend gave conflicting accounts of how the child was injured, medical personnel called law enforcement. The two were arrested, and the State initiated proceedings for care of the children in Mother's custody. The petition alleged the daughter's father was unknown, in Mexico, at an unknown address. Appellant spoke by telephone from Mexico with a State caseworker, expressing his wish to be reunited with Mother and his daughter. When informed that Mother was not adhering to the plan, Appellant attempted to have his daughter moved to Mexico so that he may care for her. For the next year, there was a breakdown in communications between Appellant and the state caseworker. The State decided to initiate termination proceedings against Appellant. A default judgment was entered against him and his parental rights to his daughter were terminated. Upon review, the Supreme Court found the magistrate's finding that Appellant "made no attempt to establish a relationship by the means that were available to him" was "absurd." The Court found the magistrate's decisions with regard to the child "clearly erroneous," and reversed the lower court's decision. The Court remanded the case with instructions for the State to make all reasonable steps to promptly place the daughter with Appellant in Mexico.