IN RE MALDONADO MINORSAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of OLIVIA CELIA MALDONADO and
RUBEN MALDONADO II, Minors.
FAMILY INDEPENDENCE AGENCY,
November 17, 1998
Saginaw Juvenile Court
LC No. 97-024508 NA
RACHEL MARIE NEITZELT,
Before: O’Connell, P.J., and Gribbs and Talbot, JJ.
Respondent-appellant Ruben Maldonado (“respondent”) appeals as of right from the juvenile
court order terminating his parental rights to the minor children pursuant to MCL 712A.19b(3)(g);
MSA 27.3178(598.19b)(3)(g). We affirm.
Respondent first argues that his due process rights were violated when the juvenile court denied
his request for appointed counsel at the initial hearing. We disagree.
The right to appointed counsel attaches to only a “respondent” in a child protective proceeding.
MCR 5.915(B). MCR 5.974(B)(2) defines “respondent” as “the father of the child as defined by
MCR 5.903(A)(4).” At the time of the initial hearing, respondent did not meet any of the criteria in
MCR 5.903(A)(4). Consequently, he was not a respondent in a child protective proceeding and was
not entitled to appointed counsel. See In re Gillespie, 197 Mich App 440, 445-446; 496 NW2d 309
(1992); In re Montgomery, 185 Mich App 341, 343; 460 NW2d 610 (1990).
Further, the right to appointed counsel concerns only proceedings where the respondent's
parental rights may be terminated. In re Nash, 165 Mich App 450, 458; 419 NW2d 1 (1987); In re
Perry, 148 Mich App 601, 613-615; 385 NW2d 287 (1986). At the time of the initial hearing,
termination was not an issue.
Next, the juvenile court did not clearly err in finding that the statutory ground for termination was
established by clear and convincing evidence. MCR 5.975(I); In re Hall-Smith, 222 Mich App 470,
472-473; 564 NW2d 156 (1997).
Moreover, once the court found a statutory ground for termination, the court was compelled to
terminate respondent’s parental rights unless respondent could show that termination was clearly not in
the children’s best interests. In re Hall-Smith, supra. Respondent did not present any evidence that
termination was clearly not in the children’s best interests. Thus, the juvenile court did not err in
terminating respondent’s parental rights to the children.
/s/ Peter D. O’Connell
/s/ Roman S. Gribbs
/s/ Michael J. Talbot