In the Matter of A. L. M. L., a Child.
M. U. L., Appellant DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Petitioner-Respondent,
Argued and Submitted September 4, 2014
J120389. Marion County Circuit Court. Petition Number 081513LUK1. Thomas M. Hart, Judge.
Shannon Flowers, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. With her on the brief was Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, Office of Public Defense Services.
Erin Galli, Senior Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, and Inge D. Wells, Assistant Attorney-in-Charge.
Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and DeVore, Judge, and Garrett, Judge.
[270 Or.App. 345] GARRETT, J.
Mother appeals a judgment terminating her parental rights to her daughter, A. Mother argues that the juvenile court committed plain error by continuing the appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL) after mother had been found competent in separate criminal proceedings. Mother also contends that she received inadequate assistance of counsel when her attorney failed to object to the juvenile court's continuation of the GAL appointment. We conclude that the juvenile court did not commit plain error and that mother's challenge to the adequacy of her counsel, raised for the first time in this appeal, is unreviewable in light of our recent decision in Dept. of Human Services v. T. L., 269 Or. App.454, 344 P.3d 1123 (2015). Finally, mother argues that her termination proceedings were fundamentally unfair. That argument is based wholly on mother's arguments regarding the GAL appointment and the adequacy of her counsel. Because those arguments are unavailing, mother's challenge to the fairness of the proceeding also fails. Accordingly, we affirm the juvenile court's judgment.
Our review is de novo. ORS 19.415(3)(a) (" Upon an appeal from a judgment in a proceeding for the termination of parental rights, the Court of Appeals shall try the cause anew upon the record[.]" )
The facts are undisputed. In July 2012, Stayton police received a call reporting that mother was " acting strangely" and pushing a stroller containing her three-year-old daughter, A, into the side of a fireworks tent. The report noted that mother seemed unaware of A's discomfort and crying. Police responded and observed that mother was " talk[ing] in circles" and " not mak[ing] sense." Upon visiting mother's home, police became concerned that there was little food in the house and contacted the Department of Human Services (DHS). A was removed and placed in nonrelative foster care. The juvenile court entered a judgment of jurisdiction as to A in October 2012.
Mother has a history of mental illness. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline schizophrenia, and she has voluntarily submitted herself for [270 Or.App. 346] psychiatric hospitalizations several times in the last 13 years. Mother was first hospitalized in 2002, during which time she worked with providers to find psychiatric medication that would improve her condition. She became pregnant with A in 2008; based on a doctor's recommendation, mother stopped taking psychiatric medication during her pregnancy. After giving birth to A in June 2009, mother did not resume taking her medication.
Following A's removal, mother was hospitalized in Salem Hospital's psychiatric unit for about three weeks, initially on an involuntary " hold" and eventually on a voluntary basis. Hospital notes indicate that mother seemed " disorganized and disoriented," " at times appear[ed] to attend to internal stimuli," and experienced " persecutory delusions." Mother was diagnosed with " [p]sychotic disorder not otherwise specified (NOS)."
In September 2012, DHS facilitated mother's participation in a psychological evaluation with Dr. Sweet. Sweet described mother's " thinking" and " presentation" as " very disorganized" and noted that she " couldn't stay on track, she couldn't respond to [his] questions," and that she " would try to take over the conversation" and instead, " talk about other things." Sweet diagnosed mother with psychotic disorder NOS and " Borderline Intellectual Functioning ...