State of Utah, in the interest of R.P.

Annotate this Case
State of Utah, in the interest of R.P., a person under eighteen years of age, Case No. 20010152-CA, Filed September 7, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


State of Utah, in the interest of R.P.,
a person under eighteen years of age.



State of Utah,

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20010152-CA

September 7, 2001 2001 UT App 262  -----

Third District Juvenile, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Sharon P. McCully

Wayne R.N. Searle, Midway, for Appellant
Mark L. Shurtleff and John Peterson, Salt Lake City, for Appellee
Martha Pierce, Salt Lake City, Guardian Ad Litem


Before Judges Jackson, Bench, and Thorne.


Under the plain language of Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-407 (1996), a juvenile court may terminate a parent's rights if it finds any one of the grounds enumerated therein. See In re M.E.C., 942 P.2d 955, 959 (Utah Ct. App. 1997). D.P.'s parental rights were terminated for the following enumerated grounds: 1) abuse; 2) unfitness or incompetence; 3) failure of parental adjustment; and 4) inadequate efforts to prevent abuse or to avoid being unfit. See Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-407(2)-(6).

D.P. does not specifically challenge the findings of fact supporting his termination, but instead raises a number of issues concerning R.P.'s initial removal, his alleged compliance with the State's service plan, his inability to present evidence and question witnesses, and the State's refusal to produce requested evidence. However, all of D.P.'s arguments fail. First, after an adjudication hearing in December 1999, the trial court determined that D.P. had sexually abused and neglected R.P. Because D.P. did not appeal the adjudication order or otherwise disprove the abuse determination, the trial court appropriately relied on it in terminating D.P.'s parental rights. See In re E.M., 922 P.2d 1282, 1284 (Utah Ct. App. 1996) (concluding if adjudication order entered under Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-310 constitutes determination on merits of abuse petition, order is final and appealable). Second, D.P. fails to prove that he preserved the issues he attempts to raise on appeal. For example, we find no indication in the record that D.P. moved to compel the discovery he now alleges was withheld or that the information sought would have been helpful to his case. Third, many of D.P.'s issues were rendered moot by subsequent hearings and orders. Fourth, regardless of whether D.P. completed the service plan, which the parties dispute, the trial court had the authority to terminate his parental rights. See In re M.E.C., 942 P.2d at 960 (stating that a juvenile court may terminate a parent's rights based on a finding of neglect, unfitness, or token efforts, regardless of whether State provided any services). Finally, the evidence supports the trial court's decision to terminate D.P.'s parental rights.

Accordingly, the termination order is affirmed.

Norman H. Jackson,
Associate Presiding Judge

Russell W. Bench, Judge

William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge