Mother Not Entitled To Stay Of Parental-Rights-Termination Proceedings

Ex parte K.G. and B.G., [Ms. 2200547, July 9, 2021] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2021). The court unanimously (Thompson, P.J.; Moore, Edwards, Hanson, and Fridy, JJ., concur) denies the mother’s mandamus petition which sought a stay of parental-rights-termination proceedings pending resolution of criminal charges against her for chemical endangerment of a child in connection with the pregnancy and birth of her seventh child. In denying a stay, the court explains

The mother argues that the juvenile court erred in implicitly determining that the proceedings were not parallel. In the termination cases, however, DHR has assured the juvenile court that it will limit its presentation of evidence to evidence of the mother’s conduct after the children were placed in DHR’s custody. For that reason, DHR contends that the criminal case arising out of the mother’s pregnancy with H.G. and the events surrounding that child’s birth on January13, 2020, is not parallel to the pending termination actions. We agree with DHR. Thus, the termination actions, as they are framed by DHR, are “not parallel proceedings involving the same act” or acts as those upon which the criminal case against the mother is based such that the mother’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination would be violated by allowing the termination actions to proceed.

Ms. **20-21.

The court noted that “… any variance by DHR from the conditions under which it represented to the juvenile court that it would prosecute the actions would constitute a basis for objection by the mother, and, if necessary, a ground for argument on appeal of any adverse judgments that the juvenile court might enter against the mother.” Ms. *21, n.3.

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