January 2, 2019
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 Hartford, Juvenile Matters, and tried to the court, C.
Taylor, J.; judgment terminating the respondents'
parental rights, from which the respondent father appealed to
this court. Affirmed.
J. Reich, for the appellant (respondent father).
F. Kalichman, certified legal intern, with whom were Benjamin
Zivyon, assistant attorney general, and, on the brief,
Michael J. Besso, assistant attorney general, and George
Jepsen, former attorney general, for the appellee
DiPentima, C. J., and Alvord and Beach, Js.
respondent father, Aceion B., appeals from the judgment of
the trial court terminating his parental rights with respect
to his minor child, Tresin J. On appeal, the respondent claims
that the trial court erred when it determined, pursuant to
General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3) (D), that no ongoing
parent-child relationship exists between the respondent and
Tresin. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
following facts, as found by the trial court, and procedural
history are relevant to our resolution of the
respondent's claim. Tresin was born in June, 2011. The
respondent last spoke to Tresin in April, 2013, when Tresin
was less than two years old. In May, 2013, the respondent was
convicted of possession of marijuana, his probation was
revoked,  and he was sentenced to a term of
incarceration. The respondent subsequently was taken into
custody by federal authorities and detained for immigration
violations. The respondent remained in federal custody until
the fall of 2017.
July, 2016, the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and
Families, filed a neglect petition with respect to Tresin and
his two half-siblings, who were in the care of Tresin's
mother. In addition, the petitioner obtained an order of
temporary custody with respect to all three children.
August, 2017, the petitioner filed a petition to terminate
the parental rights of the respondent. The petitioner alleged
that, pursuant to § 17a-112 (j) (3) (D), the respondent
had no ongoing parent-child relationship with Tresin. The
termination of parental rights trial was held on February 5
and March 9, 2018.
thoughtful memorandum of decision, issued on May 22, 2018,
the court found that the petitioner had proved by clear and
convincing evidence that there was no ongoing parent-child
relationship with respect to the respondent and Tresin. In
reaching its conclusion, the court found that
‘‘Tresin does not know who his father is and has
no positive parental memories of his biological
father.'' Additional facts and procedural history
will be set forth as necessary.
begin by setting forth the standard of review and legal
principles that guide our analysis of the respondent's
claim. ‘‘Although the trial court's
subordinate factual findings are reviewable only for clear
error, the court's ultimate conclusion that a ground for
termination of parental rights has been proven presents a
question of evidentiary sufficiency. . . . That conclusion is
drawn from both the court's factual findings and its
weighing of the facts in considering whether the statutory
ground has been satisfied. . . . On review, we must determine
whether the trial court could have reasonably concluded, upon
the facts established and the reasonable inferences drawn
therefrom, that the cumulative effect of the evidence was
sufficient to justify its [ultimate conclusion]. . . . When
applying this standard, we construe the evidence in a manner
most favorable to sustaining the judgment of the trial court.
. . . To the extent we are required to construe the terms of
§ 17a-112 (j) (3) [(D)] or its applicability to the
facts of this case, however, our review is plenary. . . .
to terminate parental rights are governed by § 17a-112.
. . . Under [that provision], a hearing on a petition to
terminate parental rights consists of two phases: the
adjudicatory phase and the dispositional phase. During the
adjudicatory phase, the trial court must determine whether
one or more of the . . . grounds for termination of parental
rights set forth in § 17a-112 [(j)(3)] exists by clear
and convincing evidence. The [petitioner] . . . in
petitioning to terminate those rights, must allege and prove
one or ...