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02 Feb Court of Appeals Round Up

Lawyers, Lies, and Losses at the Kentucky Court of Appeals

It was a light week up at the Court of Appeals. Only 3 family court cases, and none of them reported. If there is a week to skim the Round Up, this is it. Unless you’re like us and you go for the inherent drama of family dysfunction with a side of lies and lawyer misconduct. 

Miller v. Smith, 2022-CA-1480

The Court of Appeals affirmed Bullitt Family Court on a Motion to Modify Parenting Time. With the Parties having shared 50/50 parenting time, split in two counties, Dad sought to be the primary parent based on the child having to start Kindergarten. In his Motion, Dad made a variety of claims that ultimately blew up in his face, such as Mom is suicidal, she leaves the child to hang out with her boyfriend, and she’s using drugs. The Court ordered Mom to take a drug test within 72 hours of her Court appearance. She did and was negative, but Dad refused to pay for the test (in violation of the Court’s Order). Ultimately, the Family Court found that the father’s testimony could not be trusted AT ALL. With the schools being better in the mother’s home county, it was an easy decision for the Family Court Judge. And an easier case for the Court of Appeals to affirm. Unreported. http://opinions.kycourts.net/COA/2022-CA-001480.PDF

D.K.M.C and J.A.C.S v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, CHFS, and J.A.C.M. III, a child, 2023-CA-0315
and companion cases

The Court of Appeals affirmed the Franklin Circuit Court’s decision in a TPR. The Parents appealed the element of “best interests” in their appeal, having conceded that the other 2 prongs (a finding of abuse or neglect + grounds for termination under KRS 625.090(2) exist) had been satisfied. The “best interests” argument is a difficult one to make on appeal and this case proved that point. The Court of Appeals listed some of the proof, characterizing the evidence as “overwhelming.”  For example, one expert stated that the mother has “an aversion to the child” and that she possessed no empathy. Unreported. http://opinions.kycourts.net/COA/2023-CA-000315.PDF

Dusing v. Bakker, 2023-CA-0381

A Northern Kentucky lawyer appealed, pro se, a temporary order that suspended his parenting time. (Notably, the KY Supreme Court had also suspended the lawyer from the practice of law.) After a hearing, the Family Court entered an order that restricted Lawyer Dad’s parenting time by 99%. So no bar license and no kids. Yikes. The Court of Appeals praised the Family Court and its meticulous factual findings. Unreported. http://opinions.kycourts.net/COA/2023-CA-000381.PDF

Remarkably, there were no criminal cases this week. So the score was Prosecutors 0, Defendants 0.

Happy Groundhog Day! Here’s to an early spring 🙂

Click here for the previous Round Up.