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In re Lyriq R.

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Hartford, Hartford, Juvenile Matters

August 6, 2018

IN RE: LYRIQ R., a child under the age of eighteen years [*]

          CORRECTED MEMORANDUM OF DECISION [1]

          GILLIGAN, JTR

         By petition filed with this court on December 27, 2017, the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families ("DCF") seeks to terminate the parental rights of Dha lia R. ("Mother") and Duval M. ("Father") as those rights pertain to the minor child, Lyriq R., born February 3, 2017.

         The respondent Mother and Father were served with the petition by a State Marshal, appeared and were appointed counsel. The court finds that the respondents were properly served and that notice of the proceedings was properly given in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes and the Practice Book. There is no known action pending in any other court concerning custody of the minor child nor any claim of Native American affiliation. Accordingly, the court finds that it has jurisdiction over this matter.

         On December 5, 2017, the court entered judgment adjudicating Father's paternity of the child. (Dannehy, J.) On September 5, 2017, Lyriq was adjudicated neglected and committed to DCF. (Dannehy, J.) On January 2, 2018, the court approved a permanency plan of termination of parental rights and adoption. (Dannehy, J.)

         A trial on the petition was conducted on May 15, 2018. Mother and Father were present and represented by court appointed counsel. At the commencement of the trial, the court provided Mother and Father with an advisement of their rights including her right to remain silent and the possibility that the court may draw an adverse inference from her failure to testify pursuant to In re Yasiel, 317 Conn. 773 (2015).

         Reasonable Efforts to Locate

         A termination of parental rights under General Statutes Section 17a-112(j) on non-consensual grounds requires the court to find, by clear and convincing evidence, that DCF has made reasonable efforts to locate the respondent parents.

         No claims or issues concerning DCF's efforts to locate Mother or Father were raised. Mother and Father we're properly served with the order of temporary custody, the neglect petition and the termination of parental rights petition, appeared personally and were appointed counsel. The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that DCF made reasonable efforts to locate Mother and Father.

         Adjudication of Father's Rights (Consent).

         With his counsel present, Father executed and tendered a written consent to the termination of his parental rights to Lyriq. Father was canvassed by the court on his understanding of the legal consequences of his consent and following a finding that the consent was knowingly and voluntarily made with the effective assistance of counsel, Father's consent was accepted and entered by the court. DCF's oral motion to amend the grounds in the petition to Father's consent was granted.

         Adjudication of Mother's Parental Rights

         In the termination of parental rights petition filed December 27, 2017, DCF alleges that the child has been found in a prior proceeding to have been neglected or uncared for and Mother has failed to achieve the degree of personal rehabilitation that would encourage the belief that within a reasonable time, considering the age and needs of the child, Mother could assume a responsible position in the life of the child, General Statute § 17a-112 (j) (3) (B) (I).

         The Evidence

         The court heard testimony from DCF social worker, Beatrice Velasquez, psychologist Bruce Freedman, PhD., a family support specialist with The Village for Families and Children, Lisa Rochester, parole officer Brian Norton, a case manager from the Chryallis Center, Shacara Hite, a licensed clinical social worker with St. Francis Behavioral Health, Jessica Clancy, a licensed clinical social worker with First Choice Health Center, Ephraim Diaz and Mother. DCF offered exhibits (Exhibits A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, and P.) which were admitted as full exhibits without objection. No exhibits were offered by Mother or the attorney for the minor child.

         Counsel for DCF moved for the court to take judicial notice of the court's prior proceedings and records. "There is no question that the trial court may take judicial notice of the file in another case, whether or not the other case is between the same parties." Drabik v. East Lyme, 234 Conn. 390, 398 (1995). A court may take judicial notice of the court's records for their existence, content and legal effect. State v. Gaines, 257 Conn. 695, 705 n.7 (2001), Grant v. Commissioner of Corrections, 87 Conn.App. 814, 817 (2005). See Tait & Prescott, Tait's Handbook of Connecticut Evidence §§ 2.3.4 (d) (5th ed. 2014). The court granted the motion, absent objection, and took judicial notice of the petitions and pleadings and their filing dates, court memoranda and transcripts of hearings, prior court rulings, findings, orders and judgments in the court files.

         The court was able to closely observe the appearance and demeanor of the respondent and the witnesses and determine the validity, cohesion, and credibility of the testimony. The court has reviewed and ...


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