Posts tagged "Gabe"

Adoption of Gabe (and one companion case) (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-117-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     12‑P‑1237                                                                             Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF GABE (and one companion case[1]). No. 12‑P‑1237. Berkshire.     March 4, 2013.  ‑  September 25, 2013. Present:  Berry, Sikora, & Milkey, JJ.     Adoption, Dispensing with parent’s consent.  Due Process of Law, Adoption, Assistance of counsel.  Constitutional Law, Assistance of counsel, Retroactivity of judicial holding, Waiver of constitutional rights.  Parent and Child, Adoption, Dispensing with parent’s consent to adoption.  Practice, Civil, Assistance of counsel, Waiver.  Retroactivity of Judicial Holding.       Petitions filed in the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on June 17, 2010.   The cases were heard by Richard A. Simons, J.     Dorothy Meyer Storrow for the father. Mark A. Papirio for the children. April Ann Knapp, pro se.     SIKORA, J.  The issue on appeal is whether a biological father (father) had a right to counsel in the adoption proceeding terminating his parental rights.  The father appeals from decrees of the Probate and Family Court (probate court) approving the adoption of his two sons and severing his parental rights and duties.  The petitioners are the children’s mother and stepfather.  Throughout the proceeding in the probate court, the father did not retain counsel nor receive appointed counsel.  Four days after the entry of the decrees, the Supreme Judicial Court in Adoption of Meaghan, 461 Mass. 1006, 1007-1008 (2012), held that an indigent parent in a termination and adoption proceeding brought by a private party is entitled to the appointment of counsel; that the children proposed for adoption hold the same entitlement; and that both rights rest on due process and equal protection principles.  We conclude that the declaration of constitutional rights in Meaghan has retroactive application to cases of adoption which were not final at the time of its announcement.  Therefore, we vacate the decrees and remand for a new trial at which the indigent father and the children will be entitled to appointed counsel. Background.  The trial judge received the following evidence. 1.  The parties.  Gabe and Adam were born in December of 2000, and April of 2004.  Their parents never married.  The father accumulated a history of verbal and physical abuse of the mother.  During the course of their relationship, he continually demeaned her with vicious epithets.  When the mother was pregnant with Gabe in September of 2000, the father pushed […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

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