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Termination of Parental Rights-Sufficiency of Evidence

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//December 4, 2023//

Termination of Parental Rights-Sufficiency of Evidence

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//December 4, 2023//

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WI Court of Appeals – District I

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. M. E. E.

Case No.: 2023AP001510

Officials: White, J.

Focus: Termination of Parental Rights-Sufficiency of Evidence

M.D. (Mary) was born in November 2020. At the hospital, Mary’s mother, Parker, had significant mental health issues, drug use during pregnancy, and showed an inability to care for Mary. The Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services (DMCPS) detained Mary and she has remained in foster care, staying in the same home from three weeks old though the pendency of this case. M.E.E. (Michael) was alleged to be Mary’s father at the hospital; however, DMCPS had safety concerns about Michael due to criminal history and Parker’s fear of him. After his paternity was confirmed by DNA testing, Michael had supervised visitation with Mary. Michael appeals the order terminating his parental rights to his daughter. Michael argues that the there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdicts that grounds existed to terminate his parental rights. He further argues that the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion in the dispositional phase when it ordered the termination of his parental rights.

The appeals court concludes that there was sufficient, credible evidence in the record to support the jury’s verdicts in the grounds phase of the TPR trial; and concludes that the circuit court’s decision to terminate Michael’s parental rights to his daughter Mary was not an erroneous exercise of discretion.

Affirmed.

Decided 11/28/23

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