Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re E.C.

March 05, 2003

IN THE INTEREST OF E.C. AND D.C., MINORS,
(THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
E.C., SR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Rita Mary Novak, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson

Released for publication April 7, 2003.

IN THE INTEREST OF E.C. AND D.C., MINORS,
(THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
E.C., SR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT).

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Rita Mary Novak, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson

PUBLISH

Following a hearing, the circuit court found respondent, Eddie C. Sr., to be an unfit parent to his children, Eddie C. and Darryl C., based on his repeated incarceration as a result of criminal convictions, which prevented the discharge of his parental duties. 750 ILCS 50/1(D)(s) (West 1998). The court granted the State's motion for summary judgment on this issue. At a subsequent hearing, the court held it was in the best interest of the minors to terminate respondent's parental rights.

Respondent contends on appeal: (1) the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for the State because there was a genuine issue of material fact; (2) the trial court erred in allowing the State to amend its petition to include an allegation that would apply retroactively to respondent; and (3) the court's decision to terminate his parental rights was against the manifest weight of the evidence. We affirm.

FACTS

Eddie was born on March 18, 1988; Darryl was born on June 17, 1989. *fn1 A finding of neglect was entered for both children on September 12, 1990. Respondent and the children's mother, Zina C., who is not a party to this appeal, were found unable, for some reason other than financial circumstances alone, and unwilling, to care for, protect, train, or discipline the boys. On December 18, 1990, the children were adjudicated wards of the court and placed under the guardianship of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

The State filed petitions on September 18, 1998, for termination of parental rights and appointment of a guardian with right to consent to adoption. The petitions alleged respondent was an unfit parent because he abandoned the children; failed to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility as to their welfare; failed to protect them from conditions in the environment injurious to the children's welfare; behaved in a depraved manner; failed to make reasonable efforts to correct the conditions which were the basis of removal of the children or to make reasonable progress toward the return of the children within nine months of the adjudication of neglect; and evidenced intent to forego his parental rights as manifested by his failure for 12 months to visit the children, communicate with them or their agency, and to maintain contact with them or plan for their future, in violation of subsections 50/1(D)(a, b, g, i, m, and n) of the Adoption Act and section 2-29 of the Juvenile Court Act. 750 ILCS 50/1(D)(a), (b), (g), (i), (m), (n) (West 1998); 705 ILCS 405/2-29 (West 1998).

The State filed a motion to amend its petition on June 2, 2000, seeking to include two additional allegations. Under subsection 1(D)(r) of the Adoption Act, the State alleged respondent was incarcerated as a result of criminal conviction at the time the petition was filed, prior to incarceration he had little or no contact with the children and provided little or no support for them, and his incarceration would prevent him from discharging his parental responsibilities for more than two years after filing of the petition. 750 ILCS 50/1(D)(r) (West 1998); 705 ILCS 405/2-29 (West 1998). The State also alleged under subsection 1(D)(s), respondent was incarcerated at the time of filing of the petition, has been repeatedly incarcerated as a result of criminal convictions, and his repeated incarceration has prevented him from discharging his parental responsibilities for the children. 750 ILCS 50/1(D)(s) (West 1998); 705 ILCS 405/2-29 (West 1998).

The State also filed a motion for summary judgment on June 6, 2000, contending no genuine issue of material fact exists, that the court should find respondent unfit as a matter of law. The State attached certified copies of respondent's three criminal convictions--possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 1994, burglary in 1993, and battery in 1989. Respondent was sentenced to three years, twelve years, and 250 days, respectively, for these convictions. The three-year and twelve-year sentences were to be served concurrently. The motion alleged respondent was currently incarcerated and was not scheduled for release until September 9, 2002.

Respondent filed a motion to strike the affidavits attached to the summary judgment motion, contending they were not based on the affiants' personal knowledge, but on information and belief. Respondent also filed a motion for involuntary dismissal under section 2-619(9) of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-619(9) (West 2000)), contending the additional grounds of unfitness alleged by the State under subsections 1(D)(r) and 1(D)(s) became effective July 30, 1998, *fn2 and could not be applied retroactively to respondent.

On July 17, 2000, the court held a hearing on the State's motion to amend the petition for termination of parental rights and motion for summary judgment. After hearing testimony from Mary Witherspoon, the children's foster parent, and Monese DeRamus, the children's caseworker, the court denied respondent's motion to strike the affidavits. *fn3 The court also allowed the State's motion to amend the petition for termination of parental rights to include the additional allegations.

On August 7, 2000, respondent filed a response to the summary judgment motion, contending he repeatedly sought visitation with his children, attempted to maintain contact and plan for his children's future, and never had the requisite intent to abandon his children or forego his parental rights. Respondent also contended the State's motion failed to establish he had been incarcerated more than once for a criminal conviction. Respondent attached a personal affidavit, contending since his incarceration in 1994 he had been unable to visit his children except on court dates. He had repeatedly sought visitation with the children by asking the foster mother and DCFS workers and seeking court orders, but he was denied all visitation. Finally, since his incarceration he had attempted to maintain contact with and plan for his ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.