[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE JOHNSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 36JV-17-53],
HONORABLE, JUDGE KEN D. COKER, JR.
Bowers Lee, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for
B. SWITZER, Judge.
Danes appeals the Johnson County Circuit Courts termination
of his parental rights to his daughter, J.W., born April 18,
2017. 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),
his counsel has filed a no-merit brief setting forth all
adverse rulings from the termination hearing and asserting
there are no issues that would support a meritorious appeal.
Counsel has also filed a motion asking to be allowed to
withdraw. The clerk of this court notified Danes of his right
to file pro se points. Danes has filed no pro se points. We
affirm the order terminating Daness parental rights and
grant counsels motion to withdraw.
Standard of Review
Termination of parental rights is a two-step process
requiring a determination that the parent is unfit and that
termination is in the best interest of the child. Rylie
v. Ark. Dept of Human Servs., 2018 Ark.App. 366, 554
S.W.3d 275. The first step requires proof of one or more
statutory grounds for termination; the second step, the
best-interest analysis, includes consideration of the
likelihood that the juvenile will be adopted, and the
potential harm caused by returning custody of the child to
the parent. Id. Each step requires proof by clear
and convincing evidence, which is the degree of proof that
will produce in the factfinder a firm conviction regarding
the allegation sought to be established. Id.
Appellate review for parental termination cases is de novo,
and our inquiry on appeal is whether the circuit courts
finding that the disputed fact was proved by clear and
convincing evidence is clearly erroneous. Griffin v. Ark.
Dept of Human Servs., 2017 Ark.App. 635, 2017 WL
5762415. A finding is clearly erroneous when, although there
is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire
evidence is left with a definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been made. Id. In resolving the clearly
erroneous question, the reviewing court defers to the circuit
court because of its superior opportunity to observe the
parties and to judge the credibility of witnesses.
July 20, 2017, the Arkansas Department of Human Services
(DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect with respect to J.W. The affidavit
attached to the petition averred that J.W. was removed from
the custody of her mother, Katherina Waugh, on July 17, 2017.
Waugh and J.W. had been living with Danes, who was identified
as Waughs boyfriend and J.W.s putative father. There was ...