Assigned on Briefs October 4, 2016
from the Juvenile Court for Greene County No. J26869 Kenneth
N. Bailey, Jr., Judge
a termination of parental rights case. The Department of
Children's Services filed a petition to terminate the
parental rights of C.L. (Mother) to her child, G.L. (the
Child). The trial court found clear and convincing evidence
of grounds supporting termination due to severe child abuse
and abandonment by an incarcerated parent. The court also
found, by the same quantum of evidence, that termination is
in the best interest of the Child. Mother appeals. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Juvenile
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded
Phillips, Johnson City, Tennessee, for appellant, C.L.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter, and
Brian A. Pierce, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of
Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which Richard H. Dinkins and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ.,
CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE.
Child was born on October 23, 2003. In July 2011, Mother took
photographs of the Child's genitals and of the Child
while she was sleeping and only wearing a tee-shirt and
underwear. Mother sent these photographs to her former
boyfriend, M.F., via text messages upon his request. At the
time, Mother knew that M.F. was a registered sex offender.
During the course of their relationship, M.F. frequently
discussed with Mother his sexual interest in the Child.
admitting to DCS in April 2014 that she had taken the
photographs and sent them to M.F., law enforcement became
involved. Mother signed a statement describing the
photographs, admitting to sending them to M.F., and
describing conversations she had with M.F. about his sexual
interests in the Child. On April 25, 2014, the trial court
entered an emergency protective custody order placing the
Child in the temporary custody of DCS.
16, 2014, a federal grand jury indicted Mother on charges of
producing, distributing, and possessing child pornography.
Mother later signed an agreement on September 11, 2015,
pleading guilty to knowingly distributing child pornography.
She remains incarcerated on that charge.
filed its petition to terminate Mother's parental rights
on April 22, 2015. It sought termination on two grounds -
severe child abuse, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §
36-1-113(g)(4) and abandonment by an incarcerated parent,
pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1).
case was heard before the trial court on January 26, 2016.
Because Mother was in federal custody at the time of the
hearing, she appeared via telephone. The trial court entered
an order finding clear and convincing evidence to terminate
Mother's parental rights on the grounds of severe child
abuse and abandonment by an incarcerated parent. By the same
standard of evidence, the trial court found that termination
is in the Child's best interest. Mother appeals.
filed a notice of appeal on March 11, 2016, raising the
following issue, as taken verbatim from her brief:
Were [Mother's] due process rights violated by not being
able to meaningfully participate in the trial telephonically
because the telephone was inadequate for her to hear?
appeal, Mother argues, as taken verbatim from her brief, that
[d]ue process requires that the court provide an incarcerated
parent with meaningful access to the court. By not providing
sufficient telephonic access, the court deprived [her] of
reviewing the trial transcripts, as well as the pleadings and
exhibits in the record, we have found no indication that
Mother raised due process concerns at the trial. Mother never
raised the issue that she was deprived of meaningful access
to the court during trial. Mother has waived her right to
raise this issue on appeal by not raising it with the trial
court. In re Johnny E.K., No. E2009-01634-COA-R3-PT,
2010 WL 550911, at *5 (Tenn. Ct. App., ...