WI Court of Appeals – District III
Case Name: J. S. v. J. T.
Case No.: 2023AP000038
Officials: Gill, J.
Focus: Termination of Parental Rights-Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Jasmine appeals orders terminating her parental rights (TPR) to two of her sons, Cameron and Carter. Jasmine argues that she received ineffective assistance of counsel during the grounds phase of the TPR proceedings due to her counsel’s failure to object to allegedly irrelevant evidence at trial—namely, a home assessment of the children’s current placement and a social worker’s testimony. The appeals court determines that Jasmine was not prejudiced by the admission of this evidence.
The appeals court presumes that “jurors follow the jury instructions given by the [circuit] court.” Here, the jury was instructed to decide only whether Jasmine had failed to assume parental responsibility for Cameron and Carter. Further, the jury was instructed not to consider dispositional factors—namely, the best interests of Cameron and Carter—in making its determination.