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State ex rel. C.D.W. v. T.R.W.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

December 7, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF C.D.W.
v.
T.R.W.

         APPEAL FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OFCALCASIEU, NO. 30015 HONORABLE LILYNN A. CUTRER, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Shane K. Hinch FOR APPELLEES: The State of Louisiana, J.B., and M.B. (as the legal custodians of C.D.W.)

          LaKetha W. Holmes Holmes Family Law Group, LLC FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: T.R.W. (biological mother of C.D.W.)

          Walter M. Sanchez The Sanchez Law Firm, LLC FOR APPELLEES: The State of Louisiana and the minor child, C.D.W.

          Court composed of Shannon J. Gremillion, Phyllis M. Keaty, and D. Kent Savoie, Judges.

          SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE

         This court issued a rule ordering Appellant, T.R.W.[1] (the biological mother of the minor child, C.D.W.), to show cause, by brief only, why her appeal should not be dismissed for having been taken from a judgment lacking proper decretal language. See State in the Interest of J.C., 16-138 (La.App. 1 Cir. 6/3/16), 196 So.3d 102. For the reasons set forth below, we dismiss the appeal without prejudice and remand the matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         C.D.W. was taken into State custody at the time of his birth, July 25, 2009, because he was born with controlled substances in his system. T.R.W. is his birth mother. Other than a brief period when he resided with his maternal grandmother, C.D.W. has been with the same family, J.B. and M.B., since his birth. J.B. and M.B. were awarded sole custody of C.D.W. in December of 2015. On February 1, 2017, the State of Louisiana filed a petition for termination of T.R.W.'s parental rights. A trial was held on June 28, 2017, and the trial court took the matter under advisement. On July 17, 2017, the trial court issued written reasons for judgment wherein it found "that [J.B. and M.B.] carried their burden of proof to terminate the parental rights of T.R.W. to C.D.W." The written reasons for judgment indicated that the trial court "will" terminate the parental rights of T.R.W. and certify C.D.W. for adoption. The written reasons also indicated that custody of C.D.W. was given to J.B. and M.B. pursuant to La.Ch.Code art. 1037(D).

         On July 17, 2017, the same day written reasons were assigned, the trial court signed a judgment which stated:

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Written Reasons for Judgment rendered on this date shall be made a judgment of the Court.

         Appellant filed a notice of appeal of that judgment on July 24, 2017, and an order of appeal was signed. The court issued a notice of appeal on July 31, 2017. When the record was lodged in this court, a rule was issued ordering Appellant to show cause why her appeal should not be dismissed as having been taken from a judgment that lacked proper decretal language.

         DISCUSSION

         In Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University & Agricultural &Mechanical College v. Mid City Holdings, L.L.C., 14-506, pp. 2-3 (La.App. 4 Cir. ...


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