FROM THE CRITTENDEN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 18JV-16-196]
HONORABLE RALPH WILSON, JR., JUDGE
Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant.
Corbyn, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor child.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
Williams appeals the Crittenden County Circuit Court order
terminating his parental rights to his son, L.C. (born in
November 2013). On appeal, Williams argues that termination
was clearly erroneous due to the denial of due process and
the lack of evidence to support the circuit court's
best-interest finding. We affirm.
October 26, 2016, the Arkansas Department of Human Services
(DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect of L.C. and his three half siblings. The
petition listed Lola Conner as L.C.'s mother and Williams
as L.C.'s father. The petition further indicated that
Williams was incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of
Correction (ADC). The petition also included the fathers of
L.C.'s half siblings. In the affidavit attached to the
petition, DHS alleged that Conner had stabbed one of
L.C.'s half siblings twenty times. On October 28, 2016,
the circuit court entered an ex parte order for emergency
November 1, the court entered a probable-cause order. The
court ordered the parties to comply with the case plan, watch
"The Clock is Ticking", complete parenting classes,
and obtain stable housing and employment.
February 21, 2017, the court adjudicated L.C.
dependent-neglected due to Conner's physical abuse of a
child, and the court also found aggravated circumstances. The
court set concurrent goals of adoption and relative
6, DHS filed a petition to terminate Williams's and
Conner's parental rights. On June 20, the court entered a
review order. The court noted that L.C.'s paternal
grandmother, Felicia Linell, had inquired about placement of
L.C. but that DHS had recommended placing L.C. with his half
10, Williams filed a "written answer to the complaint or
a motion under Rule 12 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil
Procedure." In the answer, Williams denied harming L.C.
and asked the court to temporarily transfer his parental
rights to his mother. He also stated that he wanted to attend
the termination hearing.
August 15, the court entered a permanency-planning order. The
court noted that DHS was completing a packet for Linell
through the Interstate Compact Placement of Children (ICPC)
in Texas and that DHS would notify the court of the results.
January 19, 2018, the court entered an order terminating
Conner's parental rights; however, the court
"dismissed" Williams. The court made a handwritten
note that Williams "needed conflict counsel."
9, the court entered a permanency-planning order. The court
found that placement of L.C. with Williams was contrary to
the child's best interest because Williams remained
incarcerated. The court authorized DHS to file a petition for
termination of Williams's parental rights, and ...