OPG Appellate Developments Archive

In re Malik B.-N., 2012 IL App (1st) 121706. Twelve-year-old Malik's mother hit him with a belt and her fists when he wouldn't make his bed.  Malik had marks on his face, neck and back and needed medical treatment.  After Malik was returned home, his mother smashed his head into a tree.  After the case came into juvenile court, Malik's mother did not use her therapy sessions to address her use of corporal punishment.  The appellate court affirmed the trial court's ruling that Malik was the victim of abuse due to excessive corporal punishment and due to a substantial risk of physical injury.  The court found that the corporal punishment was not reasonable and the mother thought it was normal to hit Malik with a belt and smash his head into a tree.  The court also affirmed the trial court's finding that Malik's mother was unable to care for him because she had not made progress in therapy.

For full text of opinion, click here

In re J.S., 2012 IL App (1st) 120615.  In this case, the mother dropped almost 15-year-old Jimmy off at a suburban police station and refused to pick him up.  She also refused DCFS  reunification services.  Jimmy had previously been psychiatrically hospitalized and placed on probation.  The trial court found that Jimmy was neglected because at the time the mother refused to take Jimmy back home, he was not a threat and the mother failed to make a care plan for her son.  This case is important because it shows that even if a teen's  behavior is challenging, a parent is responsible for providing care for her child.

For full text of opinion, click here  

In re Jacorey S., 2012 IL App (1st) 113427.   This case involved a father's appeal of the trial court's order terminating his parental right to his twin children.  During the first nine months after adjudication, the father's paternity was not established.  The father was found unfit for failing to make progress during this nine-month period and for failing to show interest, concern and responsibility for the twins.  On appeal, the father argued that he should not be found unfit during the first nine-month period because the court had not yet found that he was the twins' father.  The appellate court rejected this argument, holding that the lack of a paternity finding did not absolve the father of his duty to make progress during that time period.  Also, the father was inconsistent in visiting the twins and attending therapy.

For full text of opinion, click here  

In re Angela D., 2012 IL App (1st) 112887. This was a termination of parental rights case involving a mother with a significant PCP habit.  The evidence showed that although the mother visited Angela and her sister Delilah (the girls) consistently, she was habitually addicted to PCP as evidenced by her positive drug drops and failure to comply with drug treatment.  The appellate court affirmed the finding that the mother was unfit due to her addiction to drugs.  In addition, the evidence showed that although the girls had a relationship with their mother, they wished to stay in their foster home.  Also, the foster parents were willing to allow contact between the girls and their mother.  The First District affirmed the termination of the mother's parental rights.  The girls are doing well and in the process of being adopted by their foster parents.

For full text of opinion, click here

In re Julian K., 2012 IL App (1st) 112841 is a case where the trial court found the mother unfit and terminated her parental rights.  The evidence showed that the mother did not complete drug treatment, missed drug drops, refused psychotropic medication, and behaved inappropriately during visits with her son.  An evaluation concluded that the prognosis for Julian's return home to his mother was poor.  During the best interest hearing, evidence showed that Julian loved his mother.  However, he was also bonded to foster mother who was his maternal aunt,  and was doing well in her home.  The aunt was willing to allow Julian to have a relationship with his mother. 

For full text of opinion, click here

In re D.P., 2011 IL App (1st) 111631, involves a case where the mother posted confidential information about her teenage children on the internet.  Under the Juvenile Court Act, children are entitled to confidentiality regarding the disclosure of their identity.  The trial court ordered that the mother could view documents in her attorney's presence, but could not keep the documents.  The order was entered to prevent the mother from posting sensitive and confidential information on the internet.  The First District affirmed, finding that the order limiting access was supported by the Juvenile Court Act and in the children's best interest. This case was an important victory in the protection of our clients' privacy.

For full text of opinion, click here

In re Anaya J.G., 403 Ill. App. 3d 875 (1st Dist. 2010):  In In re Anaya J.G., the First District affirmed the trial court's order terminating the mother's parental rights. The opinion is notable primarily for its holding that the Indian Child Welfare Act's (ICWA) notice provisions weren't violated. Four-year-old Anaya had been born substance-exposed, had special needs, and was in foster care from birth while her mother disappeared for long periods of time. The mother occasionally engaged in services but relapsed, and only sporadically visited Anaya. The trial court terminated both parents' rights, finding the mother unfit on numerous grounds. Mother's main issue on appeal was related to ICWA. Father testified that the mother's mom was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian – information he claimed he got from the mother – even though the mother testified only that there was Cherokee blood on her mom's side of the family. More importantly, both parents testified that they themselves weren't members of any tribe, and neither parent said under oath that Anaya was a member of a tribe. The trial court did not order that notice of the pending Juvenile Court case be sent to the Cherokee or any other tribe. On appeal, the mother claimed that the trial court violated ICWA because the court had reason to know that Anaya was "an Indian child" and should have ordered notice sent to the Cherokee nation. The appellate court disagreed, saying the "bare assertions" of Cherokee status weren't sufficient. The appellate court also affirmed the trial court's ruling that termination of parental rights and adoption was in Anaya's best interest.

For full text of opinion, click here

In re S.D., 394 Ill. App. 3d 992 (1st Dist. 2009): This is a case of first impression, addressing the independent basis provision of 705 ILCS 405/2-27(1)(d), as amended effective June 1, 2008. Under Section 2-27(1)(d), a court may commit a child adjudicated delinquent or charged with a crime to DCFS custody if an independent basis of abuse, neglect or dependency exists. An independent basis exists when the allegations or adjudication of abuse, neglect, or dependency do not arise from the same facts, incident, or circumstances which gave rise to a charge or adjudication of delinquency. Here, in 1993, the trial court found two-year-old Sam abused and neglected due to the physical abuse of the mother's paramour. In March 2000, the trial court placed Sam in subsidized guardianship with his non-relative foster mother. In 2007, Sam's mother filed a motion to vacate the private guardianship. In January 2008, with the agreement of the State and GAL, the court returned Sam home to his mother under an order of protection. However, in May 2008, a report indicated that Sam had been charged with aggravated robbery for allegedly stealing an iPod on a bus. The report also indicated that Sam had been previously psychiatrically hospitalized and was currently at a psychiatric hospital. Several status hearings were held where the judge heard that Sam's mother could not meet his needs. Sam eventually pled guilty to aggravated robbery, and was sentenced to mental health probation. The trial court found that an independent basis of neglect existed under amended section 2-27(1)(d) of the JCA to place 17-year-old Sam in DCFS guardianship. DCFS appealed. The First District found that an independent basis of neglect existed that did not arise "from the same facts and circumstances which gave rise to the criminal charge." The court rejected DCFS' argument that the 2008 modified dispositional order that returned Sam to his mother rendered the 1993 adjudication moot. The court concluded that based on the 1993 adjudication of abuse and neglect, Sam "had an independent basis and therefore fit into the exception by which a minor charged with a crime could still be placed in DCFS' guardianship." This case allows teens like Sam to get the help and services they need.as a dependent child. Instead, it found that the mother did not want LaChristal in her home; that the mother acted affirmatively to keep LaChristal out of her home; and that LaChristal was in the State's care because the mother found her to be an embarrassment and desired to be rid of her.

For full text of opinion, click here


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