Mother was arrested and charged with child endangerment. There were two fathers for all of the children. Chicago police discovered the minors asleep in an unheated vehicle.

The mother pleaded guilty to child endangerment. She was sentenced to 18 months of supervision. The minors and M.A. were later returned to mother’s custody. The case was closed.

Later, while living with mother, the minor’s father, and their children, four-year-old M.A. died. Then Mother gave birth to the twins.

Later, the mother and the minors’ father were seen fleeing from a burning abandoned building. Chicago police officers discovered M.A.’s body in the building. They arrested a mother and the minors’ father.

The Court found the parents (one mother and two fathers) unfit. Their parental rights were terminated. It was in the best interests of the minors to appoint a guardian. With the right to consent to their adoption.

One father contended that the State failed to establish it was in the minors’ best interests to expedite the termination of his parental rights. He also argued that the trial court erred in finding him unfit for behaving in a depraved manner.

The mother contends that she was denied due process and unfairly prejudiced. The trial court had relied on unsworn testimony by three of the minors. She argued that her attorney was not effective. She argued that the admission of prior consistent statements was an error. She argued that the termination of her parental rights was not in the best interest of the minor children.

They all appealed. The Appellate Court agreed with the Trial Court’s determinations.

The expedited termination of the father’s parental rights was proper. No error in court considering wishes of children as to where they wanted to live. No ineffective assistance of counsel, as the mother was not prejudiced by any alleged error as to the court’s interviews with minors.

In re J.V. , 2018 IL App (1st) 171766 (September 29, 2018).

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