APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 74, 948, DIVISION
"C" HONORABLE EMILE R. ST. PIERRE, JUDGE PRESIDING
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, ALEXANDER LOYA In Proper Person.
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and
Stephen J. Windhorst.
G. GRAVOIS JUDGE.
Alexander Loya, appeals the trial court's June 21, 2017
judgment that denied his Petition for Contact with Minor
Biological Children. For the reasons that follow, we affirm
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Alexander Loya, and defendant/appellee, Sandra Cummings Loya,
were married on January 10, 1998. Of their marriage, three
children were born. Their oldest child, who was born in
November 1999, is now a major; their second and third
children, born in 2001 and 2003, respectively, are still
minors. In 2009, Mr. Loya, then a Captain in the United
States Army, was convicted by court-martial of several counts
of various crimes involving sexual acts with his then-minor
step-daughter, K.L., who is Mrs. Loya's daughter by a
previous marriage. For his crimes, Mr. Loya was sentenced to
"confinement for 50 years and dismissal from the
service." As part of his sentence, Mr. Loya was also
prohibited from writing, visiting, or making other contact
with Mrs. Loya, and from "having any contact with minor
children." On or about August 26, 2010, the couple
January 13, 2017, Mr. Loya filed a "Petition for Contact
with Minor Biological Children." At the time his petition was
filed, Mr. Loya was incarcerated at the United States
Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is
currently incarcerated in Pollock, Louisiana. In his
petition, Mr. Loya averred that it was in the best interest
of his minor children that he be allowed to contact them via
telephone and/or U.S. mail, to send them gifts, and to have
access to information and documentation pertaining to them,
including but not limited to academic and athletic
achievements such as report cards, standardized testing
results, and any competitive awards or accomplishments. Mr.
Loya requested that the court appoint a custody
facilitator/parenting coordinator to arrange, facilitate, and
supervise any telephone contact with the children and to
receive and deliver cards, letters, and gifts to the
children. He noted that he had completed the Army-sanctioned
"Reason and Rehabilitation Class, Anger Management Class
and Alpha Course."
request of the trial court,  Mr. Loya filed a memorandum of
law in support of his petition. In his memorandum, Mr. Loya
argued that pursuant to La. C.C. art. 136,  he was seeking to
establish a way to be part of his minor children's lives
without the interference or prevention of Mrs. Loya. He also
contended that La. R.S. 9:364.1, quoted infra,
provided him, as an incarcerated parent, with a statutory
basis for his request. Mr. Loya further relied on La. R.S.
9:351 to argue that at the very least, he should
be provided with his minor children's medical, dental,
and school records, including but not limited to
14, 2017, the trial court conducted a hearing on the
petition. At the hearing, Mr. Loya's attorney argued that
Mr. Loya was not convicted of anything involving his three
biological children at issue herein. Counsel argued that Mr. Loya
simply wanted contact with his children by sending cards,
communicating via telephone, and/or receiving information
about their health and education. Counsel further suggested
that the trial court appoint someone to facilitate the
contact to ensure the safety of the children. Counsel for Mr.
Loya presented no witnesses and submitted no evidence at the
hearing in support of his requests. His case consisted
entirely of argument of counsel.
Loya, appearing pro se, testified at the hearing and
submitted exhibits in opposition to the petition. She
provided that Mr. Loya has had no contact with the children
since his arrest in 2009. When Mr. Loya was first sentenced,
Mrs. Loya only told the children that he was accused of
wrongdoing and that the court had found him guilty. She also
told the children that if they wanted contact with their
father, she would not stop it; however, she said that they
had never brought up wanting to contact him. Mrs. Loya
testified that the children are now together, healed,
successful, and stable. She said that she did not want the
children receiving gifts and cards from Mr. Loya, even
through an intermediary, because their lives are stable and
she did not want to do anything to jeopardize their current
path of life. She stated that Mr. Loya previously
attempted contact with the children by sending several
letters to Mrs. Loya's mother, requesting that she give
them to the children. However, the children never saw these
letters. Mrs. Loya found them in her mother's possessions
after her death. Copies of the envelopes containing the
letters were submitted into evidence. Mrs. Loya also
submitted into evidence correspondence she received from the
Army stating that Mr. Loya was prohibited from having any
contact with her and "with minor children." She
further submitted a copy of the General Court-Martial Order
listing Mr. Loya's convictions and sentence.
Loya further testified that her daughter, K.L., the victim of
Mr. Loya's crimes, although now a major, is
"extremely mentally unstable." She stated that as a
minor, K.L. had been sent to juvenile court several times.
Additionally, she was hospitalized twenty-five times in a
period of four years as a result of the trauma she received
at the hands of Mr. Loya. Mrs. Loya denied the allegations by
Mr. Loya that K.L. has since recanted some of the things she
testified about regarding the charges against Mr. Loya, and
that K.L. said that Mrs. Loya set it up for her to make the
claims against Mr. Loya.
conclusion of the hearing, the trial court took the matter
under advisement. On June 21, 2017, the trial court rendered
a written judgment denying all of the claims and relief
requested in Mr. Loya's petition. Written reasons for judgment
were issued that same day. This timely appeal followed.
appeal, Mr. Loya, appearing pro se, asserts in his
first assignment of error (styled "Issue I" by Mr.
Loya) that the trial court erred when it denied his petition
based on Mrs. Loya's testimony. Though the trial court
stated that it perceived Mrs. Loya to be honest, candid, and
forthright, Mr. Loya argues that her statements on the record
and the facts in his brief show that she was
"consciously deceptive" and lied to the trial
court. In support of his argument, Mr. Loya refers this Court
to affidavits of Daurice Cummings Bealer and Tania Favela
Loya attached to his brief.
Loya asserts in his second assignment of error (styled
"Issue II" by Mr. Loya) that the trial court erred
when it denied his petition based on the emotional trauma
K.L. suffered, first because he denied that any abuse ever
occurred, and second because the contact he presently seeks
is with his three biological children, not with K.L. He
argues that the suffering and emotional trauma in K.L.'s
life was due to Mrs. Loya's own manipulation that caused
her to accuse Mr. Loya falsely and unjustly put him in
prison. He again refers to attachments to his brief as the
support for his argument.
Mr. Loya asserts in his third assignment of error (styled
"Issue III" by Mr. Loya) that the trial judge was
"an old family friend" of Mrs. Loya and thus should
have recused himself from the case, arguing that "this
makes the Court appear unethical to the general public."
Loya did not file an appellee brief with this Court.
legal authority for visitation with incarcerated parents is
found in ...