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Mother’s appeal of termination of parental rights dismissed

February 27, 2014

The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed a mother’s appeal from the order terminating her parental rights to her twins, ruling she forfeited her right to appeal because she failed to file a timely notice of appeal.

Mother B.J.G. has a history of domestic violence, drug abuse, mental illness and periods of incarceration. Mother does not have custody of any of her seven children. She was incarcerated when she gave birth to twins, J.G. and C.G. The Department of Child Services initiated a child in need of services petition regarding the twins after mother tested positive for methamphetamine while pregnant.

The children were removed from her care and mother failed to complete any of the services and counseling needed to regain custody. She also repeatedly failed drug testing.

The trial court issued the order March 25, 2013, terminating her parental rights to the twins. She filed a notice of intent to appeal April 3 and asked for appointment of outside counsel for the appeal. The trial court appointed appellate counsel April 25 and she filed her notice of appeal May 3, past the 30-day time limit for filing appeals of final judgments.

The Court of Appeals dismissed her appeal, noting that it is untimely. The judges rejected her claim that the court should ignore the 30-day time limit in Appellate Rule 9(A) because appellate counsel was not appointed until the 30-day time limit had expired, citing In Re the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of D.L., 952 N.E.2d 209 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011).

“Mother is not eligible to file a belated appeal under P.C.R. 2, and her Notice of Appeal was not timely filed; therefore, we conclude that she has forfeited her right to appeal the trial court’s order terminating her parental rights,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote in In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: J.G. and C.G. (Minor Children) and B.G. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, 84A05-1305-JT-219.

The judges also found sufficient evidence supports the decision to terminate her parental rights.
 

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