In re T.H., ___ N.C. App. ___ (June 18, 2019)

Held: 
Affirmed
  • Facts: Respondent father appeals the TPR ground of neglect. His counsel filed a “no-merit” brief under App. Rule 3.1(e) and requested the appellate court conduct an independent review. Respondent father did not file his own brief. The appellate court exercised its discretion under App. Rule 2 to consider issues that were not raised in the briefs and found no prejudicial error.
  • Anders-type Review: There is no statutory or constitutional right to an independent review by the appellate court when no issue has been brought to the court’s attention. App. Rule 3.1(e) does not include the same Anders requirements that are established by the U.S. Supreme Court for criminal appeals. A TPR is not criminal in nature, triggering the requirements of Anders. Although parents have a statutory right to counsel in a TPR, there is no statutory right to the Anders procedures. Until the General Assembly or N.C. Supreme Court (by rule or holding) creates the right to an Anders-type review of issues that are not raised by the parties or their counsel, App. Rule 28 limits the right of review to issues actually raised in the briefs.
    • Author’s Note:  NC Supreme Court decided In re L.E.M., ___ N.C. ___ (Aug. 16, 2019) mandating an appellate review.  

 

Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Appeal
Topic:
No Merit Brief
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