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In re S.D.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 23, 2018

IN RE: S.D. AND L.D. APPLYING FOR ADOPTION OF A.K.O.

          On Application for Writs from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. A3363, Honorable Robert Lane Pittard, Judge.

          TERRI MCDONOUGH MILES Counsel for Applicant M.L.S.-Biological Father.

          MICHAEL E. THERIOT Counsel for S.D. & L.D. Applying for Adoption of A.K.O.

          DALE N. MONTGOMERY Counsel for A.K.O.

          WIENER, WEISS, & MADISON By: Franklin H. Spruiell, Jr., Counsel for Holy Cross Child Placement Services.

          JEFFREY M. LANDRY Louisiana Attorney General, Counsel for Respondent State of Louisiana.

          MADELINE SUE CARBONETTE Assistant Attorney General, Counsel for Respondent State of Louisiana.

          Before BROWN, MOORE, and STONE, JJ.

          STONE, J.

         The applicant, Michael L. Shannon, filed a petition contesting the adoption of his biological daughter, A.K.O. Thereafter, the applicant amended his petition to challenge the constitutionality of La. Ch. C. art. 1138, which requires an unwed biological father to show substantial commitment to the minor child and parental fitness in order to successfully challenge the adoption. The trial court found La. Ch. C. art. 1138 constitutional, and the applicant now seeks supervisory review of the finding.

         Since Louisiana statutes are presumed constitutional, the party challenging the statute bears the burden of proving it is unconstitutional. Krielow v. Louisiana Dep't of Agric. & Forestry, 2013-1106 (La. 10/15/13), 125 So.3d 384, 388. The burden plaintiffs carry in challenging the constitutionality of a statute is a heavy burden. It is not enough for a person challenging a statute to show that its constitutionality is fairly debatable; it must be shown clearly and convincingly that it was the constitutional aim to deny the legislature the power to enact the statute. Carver v. Louisiana Dep't of Pub. Safety, 2017-1340 (La. 01/30/18), __So. 3d__; Hite v. Larpenter, 04-1821 (La.App. 1 Cir. 09/23/05), 923 So.2d 140, 145, writ denied, 05-2255 (La. 03/10/06), 925 So.2d 511.

         We granted this writ to docket for further briefing and oral argument. After entertaining the arguments of all parties involved in this matter, we find no constitutional issues with La. Ch. C. art. 1138. The applicant's writ is denied.

         WRIT ...


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