FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2010-00699,
DIVISION "E" Honorable Clare Jupiter, Judge
composed of Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Regina
Bartholomew Woods, Judge Paula A. Brown
A. BROWN, JUDGE.
matter involves a child custody dispute. The pro se
devolutive appeal of the father, Cedrick L. Allums, contends
that the trial court erred in its interim judgment of June
19, 2014, which awarded the mother sole custody of their two
minor children and limited him to supervised visitation. The
judgment gave the parties the right to modify its terms after
a period of six months. For the reasons that follow, we
dismiss the appeal as moot.
mother, Donyale Williams Allums, filed a counseled petition
for divorce on January 21, 2010. The petition alleged Mr.
Allums and she had two children. A default judgment of
divorce was entered on April 14, 2011. On May 28, 2014, Ms.
Allums filed a Petition For Protection From Abuse With Order
of Protection and a Petition To Establish Custody. In
response to the Order of Protection, Mr. Allums filed a
reconventional demand, seeking protection from the mother.
The trial court conducted a hearing on the custody and
protective order issues on June 17, 2014. Both parties were
self-represented at the hearing.
Allums testified she sought protection from Mr. Allums
because of his constant harassment. According to Ms. Allums,
Mr. Alums wanted to reclaim her as his wife, but she rebuffed
his reconciliation attempts. As a result of her rejection,
Mr. Allums constantly called her, left voicemail messages,
and sent her e-mails. Ms. Allums claimed he contacted her
employer, her mother, and her pastor. He also sent letters in
which he referenced her as a slut and a whore. Ms. Allums
urged the trial court to award her custody because she was
employed and could provide stability for their children.
Allums countered Ms. Allums was a proven liar. He stated she
was cited with filing a false police report in 2008. Mr.
Allums suggested conspiracies against male authority caused
the trial court judge to be biased against him. He accused
the judge of a lack of impulse control and asserted she
prohibited his free speech.
Mr. Allums did not confirm whether or not he was employed. He
claimed he was waiting on his union electrician card. Mr.
Allums also failed to provide a permanent address. He
testified he had lived in homeless shelters and in his car.
He acknowledged Ms. Allums had brought the children to visit
him under the Lakefront Bridge.
end of the trial, the trial court accredited Ms. Allums'
testimony. The interim judgment, without prejudice to either
party, granted Ms. Allums sole custody of the children and
Mr. Allums supervised visitation at the Orleans Parish
Sheriff's Harmony House. The judgment provided either
party could bring a rule to modify its terms after a period
of six months.
Allums timely filed a devolutive motion for
appeal on July 17, 2014, which was signed by the
trial court. Mr. Allums requested a waiver of court fees.
record was lodged in this Court on January 9, 2017. Mr.
Allums filed his brief on February 21, 2017.
underlying issue presented by Mr. Allums' appeal is
whether the trial court abused its authority in awarding the
mother interim sole custody and in limiting him to supervised
visitations. However, before we can address the merits, this
Court must first consider whether the present appeal presents