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In re Termination of Parental Rights To: ASA

Supreme Court of Wyoming

January 19, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF THE TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS TO: ASA, Minor Child.
v.
STATE OF WYOMING, DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY SERVICES, Appellee (Petitioner). KENNETH BLAKE ANASTOS, Appellant (Respondent),

         Appeal from the District Court of Carbon County The Honorable Wade E. Waldrip, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Jennifer K. Stone, Schilling & Winn, PC, Laramie, Wyoming.

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; Misha Westby, Deputy Attorney General; Jill E. Kucera, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Wendy S. Ross, Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Ross.

          Guardian Ad Litem: Dan S. Wilde, Deputy State Public Defender and Aaron S. Hockman, Chief Trial and Appellate Counsel, Wyoming Guardian Ad Litem Program. Mr. Wilde appearing but not arguing.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          BURKE, Chief Justice.

         [¶1] Appellant, Kenneth Anastos, appeals the district court's termination of his parental rights to his infant daughter, AA. We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Appellant presents two issues, which we reword as follows:

1. Was there sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that the statutory requirements for the termination of parental rights were satisfied?
2. Did the district court abuse its discretion when it denied Appellant's motion for judgment as a matter of law?

         FACTS

         [¶3] AA was born in January of 2014. At the time, Appellant was incarcerated in the Wyoming State Penitentiary. AA lived with her mother and her mother's boyfriend. On February 11, 2015, AA was taken into protective custody, and two days later the juvenile court placed her in the custody of the Department of Family Services (DFS), which placed her in foster care.

         [¶4] On July 14, 2016, DFS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of both AA's mother and Appellant. The mother failed to answer the petition or appear at the hearing, and her parental rights were terminated on November 21, 2016. Appellant answered the petition, and demanded a jury trial.

         [¶5] Prior to trial, the parties stipulated that Appellant was incarcerated from March 30, 2011, through April 13, 2014. He was then released on parole, which was revoked four months later. From then until the date of trial, a period of thirty-one months, he was either incarcerated or in mandatory inpatient treatment for twenty-four months and free of incarceration for seven.

         [¶6] At trial, Appellant testified about an even longer criminal history, including a 2003 conviction for assault and battery on a three-year-old child. He admitted that he had never successfully completed any of his terms of parole, all of which were revoked because of his methamphetamine use. He had never successfully completed an inpatient treatment program. Approximately thirty-seven years of age at the time of trial, Appellant had an extensive history of ...


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