State of Utah, in the interest of M.M., M.A., G.A., and G.A.Annotate this Case
State of Utah, in the interest
of M.M., M.A., G.A., and G.A.,
persons under eighteen years of age.
State of Utah,
(Not For Official Publication)
Case No. 20000741-CA
F I L E D
June 21, 2001 2001 UT App 193 -----
Third District Juvenile,
Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Kathleen M. Nelson
John E. Laherty, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Mark L. Shurtleff and John Peterson, Salt Lake City, for Appellee
Martha Pierce, Salt Lake City, Guardian Ad Litem
Before Judges Bench, Orme, and Thorne.
M.L. appeals from an order terminating her parental rights. We affirm.
M.L. argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the trial court's finding that termination was in the children's best interest.(1) "In reviewing a [juvenile court's] decision to grant or deny a termination petition, '[w]e will not disturb the juvenile court's findings and conclusions unless the evidence clearly preponderates against the findings as made'" or we conclude that the court has exceeded its permitted range of discretion. In re R.A.J., 1999 UT App 329,¶6, 991 P.2d 1118 (quoting In re M.L., 965 P.2d 551, 559 (Utah Ct. App. 1998)) (second alteration in original).
M.L.'s argument challenges only the sufficiency of the evidence supporting finding number twenty-five and concludes with the assertion that absent finding twenty-five, the termination order is unsupportable. However, our review of the record reveals that among the court's thirty-two findings, finding twenty-five is but one of twenty-one findings involving the children's best interest. Additionally, at trial, the State presented substantial evidence supporting its argument that termination was in the children's best interest(2) and M.L. fails to address any of this evidence.(3) Therefore, even assuming that M.L.'s argument was correct and that the evidence presented was insufficient to support finding twenty-five, her failure to address both the remaining material findings and the evidence supporting these findings compels this court to affirm the juvenile court's termination order as adequately supported and factually based.
Accordingly, the juvenile
court's order terminating M.L.'s parental rights is affirmed.
William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge -----
Russell W. Bench, Judge
Gregory K. Orme, Judge
1. M.L. challenges only the juvenile court's finding that termination was in the children's best interest, leaving unchallenged the court's finding that she was unfit.
2. Specifically, the State introduced evidence that each child suffered from attachment disorders and learning disabilities. The State also introduced evidence that M.L. had repeatedly exposed the children to a violent drug culture, which clearly has negatively affected the children.
3. While M.L.'s failure to either raise or address these facts on appeal could have resulted in our affirming the juvenile court's order based on her failure to properly marshal the evidence, see In re J.M.V., 958 P.2d 943, 947 (Utah Ct. App. 1998), we decide this case on the merits.