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  1. #1
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    Custody Hearing - Scheduled for 10/16 #2

    Continue posting here please.

    Thread #1
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73264

  2. #2
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    These appear to be the relevant statutes with regard to custody.

    Criteria for custody (looks like (a)(3) was used in this case).
    7B‑503. Criteria for nonsecure custody.
    (a) When a request is made for nonsecure custody, the court shall first consider release of the juvenile to the juvenile's parent, relative, guardian, custodian, or other responsible adult. An order for nonsecure custody shall be made only when there is a reasonable factual basis to believe the matters alleged in the petition are true, and
    (1) The juvenile has been abandoned; or
    (2) The juvenile has suffered physical injury or sexual abuse; or
    (3) The juvenile is exposed to a substantial risk of physical injury or sexual abuse because the parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker has created the conditions likely to cause injury or abuse or has failed to provide, or is unable to provide, adequate supervision or protection; or
    (4) The juvenile is in need of medical treatment to cure, alleviate, or prevent suffering serious physical harm which may result in death, disfigurement, or substantial impairment of bodily functions, and the juvenile's parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker is unwilling or unable to provide or consent to the medical treatment; or
    (5) The parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker consents to the nonsecure custody order; or
    (6) The juvenile is a runaway and consents to nonsecure custody.

    A juvenile alleged to be abused, neglected, or dependent shall be placed in nonsecure custody only when there is a reasonable factual basis to believe that there are no other reasonable means available to protect the juvenile. In no case shall a juvenile alleged to be abused, neglected, or dependent be placed in secure custody.
    Custody hearing. The burden is on the state (plaintiff in this case?) and carries the high bar of clear and convincing evidence.
    7B‑506. (b) At a hearing to determine the need for continued custody, the court shall receive testimony and shall allow the guardian ad litem, or juvenile, and the juvenile's parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker the right to introduce evidence, to be heard in the person's own behalf, and to examine witnesses. The State shall bear the burden at every stage of the proceedings to provide clear and convincing evidence that the juvenile's placement in custody is necessary. The court shall not be bound by the usual rules of evidence at such hearings.
    The criteria for termination of parental rights includes murder of the other parent. This is the only criteria that appears to have been alleged in this case.
    7B‑1111. Grounds for terminating parental rights.

    (a) The court may terminate the parental rights upon a finding of one or more of the following:

    (8) The parent has committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent or other child residing in the home; has aided, abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child, another child of the parent, or other child residing in the home; has committed a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child, another child of the parent, or other child residing in the home; or has committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of the other parent of the child. The petitioner has the burden of proving any of these offenses in the termination of parental rights hearing by (i) proving the elements of the offense or (ii) offering proof that a court of competent jurisdiction has convicted the parent of the offense, whether or not the conviction was by way of a jury verdict or any kind of plea. If the parent has committed the murder or voluntary manslaughter of the other parent of the child, the court shall consider whether the murder or voluntary manslaughter was committed in self‑defense or in the defense of others, or whether there was substantial evidence of other justification.
    Best interests of the child
    Consideration of the best interest of the child (the polar star) seems to be considered after adjudication finds a reason to terminate parental rights.
    "After the trial court has determined grounds exist for termination of parental rights at adjudication, the court is required to issue an order of termination in the dispositional stage, unless it finds the best interests of the child would be to preserve the parent's rights."
    I have not found a reference to using this as a standard before disposition.
    http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/publi...b/011216-1.htm

  3. #3
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    Thanks for posting this Boxy!

  4. #4
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    This 2005 NC Supreme Court decision has the best description of the relevant laws I have come across so far. Below is a portion that describes child custody proceedings. Note that an allegation of abuse, neglect, or dependency must first be proved by clear and convincing evidence before consideration of the child's best interest in the dispositional stage.

    B. ARTICLES 2 THROUGH 10_CHILD CUSTODY PROCEEDINGS

    The General Assembly's explicit desire to preserve parent-child relationships and protect children explains the fluidity of child custody proceedings under Articles 2 through 10 of Subchapter I. These proceedings afford the trial court multiple opportunities to consider and reconsider whether a child is abused, neglected, or dependent, and if so, who should have custody. They also give parents time to correct the deficiencies that led to the child's removal. Essentially, there is no such thing as a “final” custody order, only the most recent one. Custody proceedings are initially a two-stage process. (See footnote 5) At the adjudicatory hearing, the trial court makes a threshold determination regarding the state's right to intervene. DSS mustprove abuse, neglect, or dependency by clear and convincing evidence, a higher evidentiary standard than that typically applied in civil actions. (See footnote 6) Id. 7B-805. If the evidence substantiates the allegations, the court enters a written order reflecting its findings and proceeds to stage two, the dispositional hearing. Id. . 7B-807. Otherwise, the court dismisses DSS's petition with prejudice and, if the child is in DSS's custody, releases him to his parent. Id.

    Should a dispositional hearing be necessary, the court receives evidence and makes a discretionary decision concerning custody. (See footnote 7) N.C.G.S. 7B-901. Specifically, it enters a written order directing one of the dispositional alternatives available under N.C.G.S. 7B-903. Id. 7B-901, -903 (describing dispositional alternatives that include dismissing the case or granting custody to a parent, relative, or DSS). This decision and any subsequent custody determinations are based on the child's best interest. Price v. Howard, 346 N.C. 68, 79, 484 S.E.2d 528, 535 (1997) (“Where [a parent forfeits hisconstitutionally protected status], custody should be determined by the 'best interest of the child' test mandated by statute.”).
    http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/publi...5/417-04-1.htm

  5. #5
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    Fyi

    "It appears it could be some time before a ruling is made public in the custody battle over murder victim Nancy Cooper's children.

    Eyewitness News has learned that some evidence brought up at last week's hearing -- evidence like video and audio recordings of Web camera calls between Brad Cooper and his children -- may still need to be copied and made available.
    Even then the legal process of issuing a ruling with details both sides have hashed out could take days. That may be why the judge in the case has allowed the Cooper children to return to Canada with Nancy Cooper's identical twin sister, Krista Lister."

    http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?se...cal&id=6459028

  6. #6
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    I bet the judge is going to go through all 7 hrs of depos, not just the 2 hrs bookmarked by the plaintiffs. Plus all those affys, the kids' webcam visits..it's a lot of material to cover and I was surprised that she thought she could make a ruling at the end of Thursday's hearing. I think it's a good sign that she's taking her time and reviewing everything. That also tells us that she sees evidence and has to weigh it, and is considering the best interests of those kids, not just the rights of the remaining parent.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogWood View Post
    "It appears it could be some time before a ruling is made public in the custody battle over murder victim Nancy Cooper's children.

    Eyewitness News has learned that some evidence brought up at last week's hearing -- evidence like video and audio recordings of Web camera calls between Brad Cooper and his children -- may still need to be copied and made available.
    Even then the legal process of issuing a ruling with details both sides have hashed out could take days. That may be why the judge in the case has allowed the Cooper children to return to Canada with Nancy Cooper's identical twin sister, Krista Lister."

    http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?se...cal&id=6459028
    HYPOTHETICAL: Krista & Jim keep kids in Canada despite court ruling for BC to regain custody? What happens? Or, perhaps it may take the Judge a LLLOOONNNGGGG time to make a decision...who tells her when she needs to have a decision?

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    They are an extradition county so I would think Canada laws would enforce the courts ruling. I would assume Krista and Jim could be charged with kidnapping, arrested and kids returned to BC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maja View Post
    HYPOTHETICAL: Krista & Jim keep kids in Canada despite court ruling for BC to regain custody? What happens? Or, perhaps it may take the Judge a LLLOOONNNGGGG time to make a decision...who tells her when she needs to have a decision?
    I believe state law indicates the length of time between the hearing and the time the ruling must be entered. Can't remember what it is for sure but don't think it's longer than 30 days.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by garner_nc View Post
    They are an extradition county so I would think Canada laws would enforce the courts ruling. I would assume Krista and Jim could be charged with kidnapping, arrested and kids returned to BC.
    Yeah, good point Garner. I was just thinking the cost of airline tickets to/from Calgary has to be crazy high when the family could have stayed with NC's friends awaiting verdict versus purchasing what may turn out to be 4/6 tickets (two of which may be one-way) from Canada to NC (North Carolina) in the event the judge rules by 21 Oct. I believe the family had insight the decision would take a LONG time, or they just decided to leave for good. Just inside thoughts...


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maja View Post
    Yeah, good point Garner. I was just thinking the cost of airline tickets to/from Calgary has to be crazy high when the family could have stayed with NC's friends awaiting verdict versus purchasing what may turn out to be 4/6 tickets (two of which may be one-way) from Canada to NC (North Carolina) in the event the judge rules by 21 Oct. I believe the family had insight the decision would take a LONG time, or they just decided to leave for good. Just inside thoughts...
    Didn't someone say the judge had to decide within 30 days or something?

    My thought was that Jim had to get back to work, and the kids needed to get back into their routines, and they would come back whenever they were called...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maja View Post
    Yeah, good point Garner. I was just thinking the cost of airline tickets to/from Calgary has to be crazy high when the family could have stayed with NC's friends awaiting verdict versus purchasing what may turn out to be 4/6 tickets (two of which may be one-way) from Canada to NC (North Carolina) in the event the judge rules by 21 Oct. I believe the family had insight the decision would take a LONG time, or they just decided to leave for good. Just inside thoughts...
    The children live with Krista and Jim in Eastern Canada. The Rentzes would be travelling from Edmonton. There is no reason to think that the family will not come back when the decision is made.

  13. #13
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    Momto3 linked this yesterday so I'm not so sure about the 30 day time frame.

    "Sasser could rule as early as Tuesday on the matter, although there is no time frame in which she must decide."

    http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/3777172/

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogWood View Post
    Momto3 linked this yesterday so I'm not so sure about the 30 day time frame.

    "Sasser could rule as early as Tuesday on the matter, although there is no time frame in which she must decide."

    http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/3777172/
    Thanks for the reminder, DW!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogWood View Post
    Momto3 linked this yesterday so I'm not so sure about the 30 day time frame.

    "Sasser could rule as early as Tuesday on the matter, although there is no time frame in which she must decide."

    http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/3777172/
    7B-506(d) If the court determines that the juvenile meets the criteria in G.S. 7B‑503 and should continue in custody, the court shall issue an order to that effect. The order shall be in writing with appropriate findings of fact and signed and entered within 30 days of the completion of the hearing. The findings of fact shall include the evidence relied upon in reaching the decision and purposes which continued custody is to achieve.

    http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedL...Article_5.html

    Am I reading this wrong?

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