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Kloss v. Arkansas Dept. of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

September 18, 2019

Clint KLOSS, Appellant
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES and Minor Children, Appellees

Page 726

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, EIGHTH DIVISION [NO. 60JV-17-620], HONORABLE WILEY A. BRANTON, JR., JUDGE

          Leah Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant.

          One brief only.

         OPINION

         PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge

          Clint Kloss appeals a Pulaski County Circuit Court order terminating his parental rights to his daughters, K.K.1 and

Page 727

K.K.2.[1] Pursuant to Linker-Flores v. Arkansas Department of Human Services, 359 Ark. 131, 194 S.W.3d 739 (2004), and Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 6-9(i) (2018), Kloss’s counsel has filed a no-merit brief asserting that there are no issues of arguable merit to support an appeal and an accompanying motion to be relieved as counsel. Counsel’s brief contains an abstract and addendum of the proceedings below and states that the only rulings adverse to Kloss were the termination decision and the denial of his request for additional time to achieve reunification. Counsel asserts that there was sufficient evidence to support the termination and that the trial court’s denial of additional time did not constitute reversible error. After carefully reviewing the record and the no-merit brief, we conclude that counsel’s brief adequately addresses all the adverse rulings and correctly posits that there are no issues of arguable merit on which to base an appeal.

         As required by Rule 6-9(i)(3), the clerk of our court sent copies of the brief and the motion to withdraw to Kloss informing him of his right to file pro se points for reversal; he has done so. We have reviewed his claims and hold that they were not raised below; are not preserved for appeal; or present no meritorious basis for reversal. Therefore, we affirm.

         We provide the following summary of facts and procedural history of the case. Sherrie Sinkey and Clint Kloss are the unmarried, biological parents of K.K.1 and K.K.2. Sinkey and Kloss were living together with the children in May 2017, when the Pulaski County Sheriff’s office executed a search warrant on their home. During the execution of the warrant, the officers found illegal controlled substances,[2] drug paraphernalia, and stolen property. As a result, Kloss and Sinkey were arrested on two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, maintaining a drug premises (enhanced), possession of paraphernalia, possession of a Schedule II substance, and felony theft by receiving. Following his arrest, Kloss overdosed in the back of the police vehicle and had to be rushed to the emergency room. The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) responded to take a seventy-two-hour hold on the children. DHS found the home infested with roaches, and the children were dirty and covered in bug bites.

         In July 2017, the circuit court adjudicated the children dependent-neglected as a result of parental unfitness, living in a drug premises, being the subject of a drug raid, exposure to toxic illegal drugs, and environmental neglect. The court also found, by clear and convincing evidence, that both Sinkey and Kloss had subjected the children to aggravated circumstances based on extreme and multiple risks of harm.[3] Despite its finding of aggravated circumstances, the court declined to fast track the case.

Page 728

          Subsequent to the adjudication, DHS provided services to Kloss, and the court monitored the services through appropriate review hearings. Eventually, Kloss was adjudicated the father and obtained status as a parent at the permanency-planning hearing on March 27, 2018.

         In May 2018, DHS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of both Sinkey and Kloss. As to Kloss, DHS alleged three grounds for termination: (1) failure to remedy as a noncustodial parent, Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(i)(b); (2) other factors or issues arising subsequent to adjudication, Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(vii)(a) ; and (3) aggravated circumstances, Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(ix)(a)(3)(B)(i) . The court held a hearing on the petition, and ultimately the trial court terminated Kloss’s parental rights based on all three grounds alleged in the petition. The ...


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