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In re Quidanny L.

Appellate Court of Connecticut

August 18, 2015

IN RE QUIDANNY L. [*]

Argued May 11, 2015.

Petition by the Commissioner of Children and Families to terminate the respondents' parental rights with respect to their minor child, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Britain, Juvenile Matters, and tried to the court, Cohn, J.; judgment terminating the respondents' parental rights, from which the respondent mother appealed to this court.

SYLLABUS

The respondent mother appealed to this court from the judgment of the trial court terminating her parental rights with respect to her minor child. The respondent sent to the child's father a video in which she placed a blanket over the infant child's head and proceeded to sit on the child's head as he kicked and squirmed in an effort to free himself. The father forwarded the video to the respondent's mother, who contacted the police. Officers arrived at the home and forcibly entered a room where they encountered the respondent squeezing the child tightly, such that the child was turning blue and appeared to be in great distress. After freeing the child, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he did not require further medical care. Thereafter, the petitioner Commissioner of Children and Families sought to terminate the parental rights of the respondent. The trial court rendered judgment terminating the respondent's parental rights pursuant to statute (§ 17a-112 [j] [C]) on the ground that the child had been denied the care, guidance or control necessary for his physical, educational, moral or emotional well-being due to the respondent's acts of parental commission or omission, from which the respondent appealed to this court. Held :

1. The respondent mother could not prevail on her claim that the trial court improperly determined that her attempted suffocation of the child constituted an act of parental commission pursuant to § 17a-112 (j) (3) (C), as the language of that statute plainly encompasses the act of a parent who attempted to suffocate a child, causing the child to turn blue; furthermore, under § 17a-112 (j) (3) (C), the petitioner must establish harm to the physical, educational, moral or emotional well-being of the child in question, which does not require proof of serious physical injury in cases of physical abuse, and the actions of the respondent here clearly constituted severe physical abuse as that language is used in the statute.

2. Contrary to the respondent mother's claim, the trial court did not erroneously conclude that the petitioner had proven an act of parental commission or omission pursuant to § 17a-112 (j) (3) (C) by clear and convincing evidence, which was sufficient to terminate her parental rights; the record contained ample evidence, including testimony from a social worker and a responding police officer, an affidavit from a social worker, and the relevant police report, which substantiated the trial court's finding that the respondent had engaged in acts of parental commission that denied her child the care, guidance or control necessary for his physical, moral or emotional well-being.

Michael S. Taylor, assigned counsel, with whom was James P. Sexton, assigned counsel, for the appellant (respondent mother).

Benjamin Zivyon, assistant attorney general, with whom were Elizabeth H. Bannon, assistant attorney general, and, on the brief, George Jepsen, attorney general, for the appellee (petitioner).

Robert W. Lewonka, for the minor child.

Gruendel, Beach and Sullivan, Js. GRUENDEL, J. In this opinion the other judges concurred.

OPINION

Page 1282

[159 Conn.App. 364] GRUENDEL, J.

The respondent mother appeals from the judgment of the trial court terminating her parental [159 Conn.App. 365] rights as to Q, her minor child.[1] ...


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