Appeal from the District Court of Carbon County The Honorable Wade E. Waldrip, Judge
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Voigt, Justice.
Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ.
NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.
[¶1] The district court terminated the appellant's (father's) parental rights to his three children, pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 14-2-309(a)(iv) (LexisNexis 2011), after finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that he was incarcerated for a felony conviction and was unfit to have the custody and control of the children. In this appeal, the father claims the district court erred when it allowed a police report to be introduced into evidence, and when the officer who wrote the report testified consistently with the report and allegedly vouched for the credibility of a victim. He also argues that the appellee (mother) failed to produce clear and convincing evidence that father was unfit to care for his children. Finding no error, we affirm.
[¶2] 1. Whether Officer Dunn's testimony and the admission of his report into evidence was plain error.
2. Whether Officer Dunn's testimony regarding the credibility of the victim's statement was plain error.
3. Whether mother presented clear and convincing evidence that father was unfit to have the custody and control of his children.
[¶3] Father and mother were married in Texas in 2001. The couple had three children: BH was born in 2001; SH was born in 2003, and EH was born in 2004. Shortly after EH was born, father began serving a ten-year term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a minor. The incident to which he pleaded guilty occurred in 1999, before his marriage to mother, and involved him engaging in the sexual abuse of his then girlfriend's six-year-old learning disabled daughter.
[¶4] In December of 2009, mother filed a petition to terminate father's parental rights to BH, SH, and EH. The district court held a hearing and, thereafter, entered an order terminating father's parental rights. The district court concluded that mother had presented clear and convincing evidence that father was incarcerated for a felony conviction and that he was unfit to have custody and control of the children. In addition to considering the circumstances surrounding father's felony conviction, the court found that father had provided no financial or physical support for the children, and his incarceration made him unable to be a parent since 2004. The court further found that, by the time father is guaranteed release from prison, he will have missed the majority of the children's childhood years. Father now appeals that order.
Whether Officer Dunn's testimony and the admission of his report into evidence was plain error
[¶5] At the termination hearing, Officer Dunn, who investigated the charges to which father pleaded guilty, testified about the investigation. Early on in his testimony, the police report he made regarding the incident was introduced and admitted into evidence without objection. Father now claims that admission of the report into evidence was error, as the report was hearsay and the information within the report was also based ...