State of Utah in the interest of C.I.E. and C.R.J.Annotate this Case
State of Utah, in the interest of
C.I.E. and C.R.J.,
persons under eighteen years of age.
State of Utah,
(Not For Official Publication)
Case No. 981151-CA
F I L E D
June 4, 1999
1999 UT App 183 -----
Fifth District Juvenile, St. George
The Honorable Hans Q. Chamberlain
Kenneth L. Combs, St. George, for Appellant
Jan Graham and John Peterson, Salt Lake City, for Appellee
Martha Pierce, Salt Lake City, Guardian Ad Litem
Before Judges Bench, Davis, and Orme.
Although in some instances the State should inform the parent of her inadequacies and afford an opportunity to improve the conditions justifying termination of parental rights, seeState v. Lance, 23 Utah 2d 407, 464 P.2d 395, 399 (1970); State ex rel. P.H. v. Harrison, 783 P.2d 565, 570 (Utah Ct. App. 1989), this requirement is narrow and not applicable here. As we have stated, "it is clear that the state only has a duty when the reason for termination is parental unfitness [and] even if the allegation is unfitness, Lance does not 'apply when children are physically endangered by abuse or neglect.'" State ex rel. P.H., 783 P.2d at 570-71 (citation omitted). AccordIn re M.E.C., 942 P.2d 955, 959-60 (Utah Ct. App. 1997).
In this case, the trial court terminated appellant's rights in C.I.E. for her abuse and neglect, i.e., for subjecting C.I.E. to an environment in which he was physically and sexually abused by Jarrell. Because termination was not merely for parental unfitness, no rehabilitative services need have been offered. As to C.R.J., appellant denied her own and Jarrell's culpability and intended to continue her relationship with Jarrell, thereby exposing C.R.J. to the same abusive environment. Consequently, because C.R.J. was endangered by the palpable risk of physical and sexual abuse, appellant's parental rights could be terminated without an offer of rehabilitative services.
We reject the numerous additional arguments raised by appellant. In particular, appellant's arguments assailing the testimony of Dr. Ririe are without merit. First, no claim of therapist-patient privilege was raised below. See State v. Bryant, 965 P.2d 539, 546 (Utah Ct. App. 1998). Second, given Dr. Ririe's testimony as to his extensive qualifications, experience, and personal interview with appellant, the trial court did not abuse its broad discretion in determining the testimony would aid the court, as trier of fact, notwithstanding the interview lasted only thirty to forty-five minutes. SeeSchindler v. Schindler, 776 P.2d 84, 89 (Utah Ct. App. 1989) (noting that the trial court retains great discretion in determining whether foundation for purposes of Rule 702 has been established).
We reject appellant's additional claims of error inasmuch as appellant concedes they lack any support or are harmless, or fails to adequately indicate in the record where such issues were preserved. See State v. Jacoby, 363 Utah Adv. Rep. 23, 25 (Utah Ct. App. 1999) ("'"[A] reviewing court is entitled to have the issues clearly defined with pertinent authority cited and is not simply a depository in which the appealing party may dump the burden of argument and research."'") (citations omitted).
In future appeals, counsel would better serve his client and this court by eschewing the "shotgun" approach employed in this case and limiting his brief to a discussion of only those issues with some chance of success. See also Utah R. Prof. Conduct 3.1 (proscribing frivolous arguments); Utah R. App. P. 33. In the words of Judge Aldisert of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals: "You cannot afford to dilute, or shall I say, pollute, one or two perfectly good arguments with a number of superfluous contentions that not only will never get anywhere, but weaken the good ones by their mere presence." Ruggero J. Aldisert, Winning on Appeal: Better Briefs and Oral Argument 115 (1996).
Gregory K. Orme, Judge
Russell W. Bench, Judge
James Z. Davis, Judge