In re D.A., ___ N.C. App. ___, 820 S.E.2d 873 (2018)

Held: 
Dismissed

See In re L.E.M., ___ N.C. ___ (Aug. 16, 2019) overruling In re L.V. and mandating an independent review.

  • When respondent-counsel complies with App. Rule 3.1(d) by filing a no-merit brief and notifying the client, in this case respondent-mother, of her right to file a pro se brief, and respondent-mother fails to file a pro se brief, no issues have been argued or preserved for appellate review.  Citing In re L.V., 814 S.E.2d 929 (2018).
  • When respondent-counsel files a no-merit brief pursuant to App. Rule 3.1(d) but is unable to comply with the requirements of the rule regarding sending notice to the client (in this case respondent-father) of the no-merit brief, record, transcript, and right to file a pro se brief after making diligent efforts to do so, the appellate court may invoke App. Rule 2 to “expedite a decision in public interest” and suspend the portion of App. Rule 3.1(d) that mandates service on the client. Where the respondent father failed to communicate his present address to counsel, the appellate court must make a case-by-case consideration when applying App. Rule 2. In this case, appellate counsel made an exhaustive effort to serve his client, who at trial refused to disclose his address, and App. Rule 2 was invoked. The respondent father failed to file a pro se brief to argue or preserve issues for appellate review.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Appeal
Topic:
No Merit Brief
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