IN RE RACHEL ROSEMARIE JAGARS-WELLS MINORAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of RACHEL ROSEMARIE JAGARSWELLS, Minor.
FAMILY INDEPENDENCE AGENCY,
November 13, 1998
Allegan Juvenile Court
LC No. 96-006064 NA
JANICE RACHEL JAGARS and ORRIN
Before: Whitbeck, P.J., and Cavanagh and Neff, JJ.
Respondents appeal as of right from a juvenile court order terminating their parental rights to the
minor child under MCL 712A.19b(3)(b)(ii) and (g); MSA 27.3178(598.19b)(3)(b)(ii) and (g). We
Respondents raise several issues regarding the adjudicatory trial and the juvenile court’s
decision to exercise jurisdiction over the child. However, the juvenile court’s exercise of jurisdiction
was subject to challenge only in a direct appeal. It is not subject to collateral attack in an appeal from
an order terminating parental rights. In re Hatcher, 443 Mich 426, 437, 444; 505 NW2d 834 (1993).
Accordingly, all issues related to the juvenile court’s exercise of jurisdiction are not properly before this
In any event, we find no merit to respondents’ issues. The juvenile court did not err in
determining that it could exercise jurisdiction over the child where the child was physically present within
the county. MCL 712A.2(b)(2); MSA 27.3178(598.2)(b)(2); In re Mathers, 371 Mich 516; 124
NW2d 878 (1963). Also, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to authorize a
special verdict form at the adjudicatory trial. MCR 2.514(A); State Hwys Comm v Abood, 83 Mich
App 612; 269 NW2d 247 (1978); see also Martin, Dean & Webster, Michigan Court Rules
Practice, Rule 2.514, Authors’ Comment, pp 209-210. Further, the juvenile court did not err when it
overruled respondent-father’s objection and allowed petitioner’s counsel to state in closing argument
that the minor child had been sexually assaulted. Finally, respondents have presented no evidence to
support their speculative claim that the court bailiff made improper remarks to the jury.
Next, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to admit respondent-father’s
polygraph test results into evidence at the termination hearing. People v Barbara, 400 Mich 352, 415
16; 255 NW2d 171 (1977). Assuming, without deciding, that the rule announced in Barbara applies
to a termination hearing, we agree with petitioner that the conditions for admissibility set forth in
Barbara were not satisfied. Accordingly, the juvenile court properly exercised its discretion in
excluding the evidence.
Next, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to reopen the proofs after
receiving a report from the State Court Administrative Office. See People v Solomon (Amended
Opinion), 220 Mich App 527, 532; 560 NW2d 651 (1996). The juvenile court expressly stated that it
was not considering the report in its decision.
The juvenile court also did not clearly err in finding that the statutory grounds for termination set
forth in MCL 712A.19b(3)(b)(ii) and (g); MSA 27.3178(598.19b)(3)(b)(ii) and (g), were established
by clear and convincing evidence. MCR 5.974(I), In re Miller, 433 Mich 331, 337; 445 NW2d 161
(1989); In re Cornet, 422 Mich 274, 277; 373 NW2d 536 (1985). Further, because respondents
failed to show that termination of their parental rights was clearly not in the child’s best interests, MCL
712A.19b(5); MSA 27.3178(598.19b)(5), the juvenile court did not err in terminating respondents’
parental rights to the child. In re Hall-Smith, 222 Mich App 470, 472-473; 564 NW2d 156 (1997).
We further reject respondents’ arguments that they were not given sufficient time to remedy
their problems. Although respondents contend that funding problems delayed services, the FIA
caseworker testified that no services were denied because of a lack of funding, although counseling was
delayed. In any event, the record indicates that ample services were provided to respondents,
particularly respondent-mother, who began receiving services two years before the initial neglect petition
was filed. Further, after the minor child returned to Michigan in August 1996, services were provided
to both respondents pursuant to their parent/agency agreements, including medical and dental tests and
treatment for the child, counseling for respondents and the child, and psychological evaluations for both
respondents. The evidence established that respondents did not comply entirely with their
parent/agency agreements, particularly respondent-mother who did not follow through with counseling.
Contrary to respondents’ contention, this case is factually distinguishable from In re Newman, 189
Mich App 61; 472 NW2d 38 (1991). Here, respondents were given a “full and fair opportunity” to
regain custody of their children, and reasonable efforts were made to reunite the family. MCL
712A.18f; MSA 27.3178(598.18f). Accordingly, the juvenile court properly terminated respondents’
Finally, respondents have failed to provide any page references to the record showing that they
preserved the issue of the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 USC 12101
et seq., by raising it below, and there is no indication in the record that the issue was addressed by the
juvenile court. Accordingly, we find that the issue is not preserved. Furthermore, we find no factual
support in the record for respondent-mother’s contention that she was “developmentally disabled”
within the meaning of the ADA and, therefore, our failure to review this issue will not result in manifest
injustice. MCR 7.212(C)(7); People v Grant, 445 Mich 535, 546; 520 NW2d 123 (1994); Alford v
Pollution Control Inds, 222 Mich App 693, 699; 565 NW2d 9 (1997).
/s/ William C. Whitbeck
/s/ Mark J. Cavanagh
/s/ Janet T. Neff