Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
IN RE THE ADOPTION OF: S.J.B., a minor.
J.B., Respondent-Appellant. LAWRENCE COUNTY JUVENILE OFFICE, Petitioner-Respondent,
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF LAWRENCE COUNTY Honorable Scott S.
Rahmeyer, C.J./P.J., Scott, J., and Francis, J.
J.B. challenges a termination of her parental rights to her
daughter S.J.B. ("Child"), raising two points, the
nature and disposition of which obviate our need to detail a
sad and sordid factual backdrop that the concurring opinion
describes in some detail.
it is enough to note that J.B. is a low-functioning person
(IQ 69) whose stepfather, a registered sex offender, sexually
abused her as a child, then impregnated her as an adult.
Child was prematurely born of that union; spent a month in
NICU; then was transferred to Children's Division custody
and care due in part to J.B.'s hospital behavior.
Ultimately, upon petition and after a hearing, the court
terminated J.B.'s parental rights, finding as statutory
grounds therefor both abuse/neglect (§ 211.447.5(2)) and
failure to rectify (§ 211.447.5(3)), and that such
termination was in Child's best interest.
appeals from this judgment. We take her points in reverse
challenges the court's findings on (1) the abuse/neglect
ground for termination, and (2) Child's best interest.
The abuse/neglect complaint fails for two reasons. First,
failure to challenge [both] grounds upon which the trial
court terminated her parental rights makes it unnecessary for
this court to review her allegations of error concerning the
court's termination on the basis of abuse and neglect,
since the existence of only one of the grounds is necessary
to uphold the termination.
In re W.T.O., 85 S.W.3d 756, 757 (Mo.App. 2002).
Second, in Murphy v. Carron terms, J.B. necessarily is
challenging either the sufficiency or weight of the evidence
supporting the abuse/neglect finding. In either case,
disregard for the analytical mandates of Houston v.
Crider, 317 S.W.3d 178 (Mo.App. 2010), and its progeny
renders J.B.'s arguments analytically useless.
Compare In re Adoption of I.M.W., 522 S.W.3d 301,
306-08 (Mo.App. 2017).
noncompliance likewise dooms J.B.'s evidentiary challenge
to the best-interest finding. Nonetheless, we have
gratuitously reviewed the record and are satisfied that the
best-interest finding is supported by the record as we must
view it, in the light most favorable to the judgment. See
In re I.R.S., 445 S.W.3d 616, 617 (Mo.App. 2014). Point
claims error in admitting a 18-month-old psychological
evaluation that she urged at trial was dated enough
"that that evaluation is not dispositive in this case.
And we presented case law that showed that it would not be
dispositive, " to which the court replied:
but that's a different issue than admissibility, whether
or not it is dispositive or binding upon the Court. ...