Articles Posted in Father and Mother’s Rights

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A recent ruling in the Illinois Appellate Court decided the controversial issue if a father was an unfit parent and should have his parental rights terminated.

The minor child A.F., allegedly suffered a fracture to her right femur and her left tibia by means other than accidental while in the care of her father. The State of Illinois filed charges against her father for subjecting A.F. to an environment injurious to her welfare due to the fractures the child suffered. Then, the State filed supplemental charges against A.F.’s father based on the allegations that “…the father having disregard for the minor’s pain or risks of moving the minor’s fractured limb.”

A.F.’s father stipulated to the allegations of the original petition, and that they could be proved by the preponderance of the evidence. That same day, the trial court entered an order finding that A.F. was neglected. Soon thereafter, the trial court entered an order finding the father unfit based on the physical abuse of A.F.

Also, these injuries that A.F. suffered gave rise to criminal proceedings against A.F.’s father. Initially, the father was charged with a Class X Felony of aggravated battery to a child, but based on a plea agreement, the father plead guilty to a Class 2 Felony of aggravated domestic battery. Based on the plea agreement, the Class X felony charge was dismissed, and the father was sentenced to a term of seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Then the State petitioned the court to have the father’s paternal rights terminated. The father’s paternal rights were petitioned to be terminated under 750 ILCS 50/1(D)(i), because the father was convicted of Aggravated Domestic Battery to a Minor. The father filed an answer to these claims and admitted to his conviction but claimed that he was rehabilitated and denied that it was in the best interest of the child to have his parental rights terminated. Continue reading

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Illinois Appellate Court Ruling on Due Process Rights of Incarcerated Parents

A recent ruling in the Illinois Appellate Court decided if an incarcerated father had his due process rights violated because he was unable to attend a hearing terminating his parental rights since he was in a federal correctional facility in Wisconsin.

Two very young children J.S. and T.S. were found home alone by the Rockford police in their mother’s home. J.S. (seven years old) stated to the responding officers that he sometimes would babysit his brother T.S. (one-year-old). During the investigation, police found marijuana, scales, and a BB Pistol at the unattended home. The Department of Children and Family Service took J.S. and T.S. under protective custody. At this time their father was already in a federal correctional facility in Wisconsin. The father was previously indicted and convicted of drug trafficking crimes and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes. The father had other prior convictions.

As a result of the incident, the State filed neglect petitions as to J.S. and T.S. The trial court was aware that the father was in Wisconsin due to his incarceration. The trial court appointed counsel to the children’s father and a writ of habeas corpus was issued asking the federal correctional facility to have the father delivered to the trial court, but the writ was denied. Typically, the federal government does not honor a state writ of habeas corpus. The mother of the children stipulated to one count of the neglect petition, which alleged that the minors were left unsupervised for an unreasonable period of time. The trial court concluded that J.S. and T.S. were neglected minors and DCFS was appointed as their legal guardian and custodian. Continue reading