In Re: Aziza S.-B.
The court at times was impatient with all counsel, sarcastic and gruff, a judicial temperament that is inappropriate for the trial court; however, the court's memorandum of decision revealed that its findings and legal conclusions in terminating the respondent's parental rights were supported by evidence in the record. Eric B., with substance abuse and domestic violence issues, fathered nine children with seven different women before having the three children at issue in this case with Stacey S. The trial court rendered judgment terminating his parental rights to the three minor children pursuant to C.G.S. §17a-112(j)(3)(B)(i), for failure to achieve sufficient personal rehabilitation. The respondent appealed claiming, inter alia, that the court violated the Code of Judicial Conduct in that an appearance of impropriety permeated the trial and the court's decision. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The record did not disclose that the court prejudged the respondent's credibility or the matter before it. The respondent failed to preserve his claim that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the "respondents' " motion for recusal and demonstrated bias. Only counsel for Stacey S. asked the trial court to recuse itself. Counsel for the respondent did not join in the motion. The Appellate Court declined to review the unpreserved claim. The respondent also argued that the court violated the principles of impartiality and fairness by copying its best interest analysis from prior unrelated cases and failed to conduct any meaningful independent analysis of the best interests of the children as required by C.G.S. §17a-112(j)(2). The Appellate Court declined to address the issue as stated and disagreed with the substance of the argument briefedthat the court did not weigh the children's strong desire to return to their parents and the benefit of their relationship with the parents. Regardless of how the court stated its findings and conclusions, the entire memorandum of decision demonstrated that the court was aware of the evidence presented. The conclusion that termination of the respondent's parental rights was in the best interests of the children was amply supported by the evidence presented by the petitioner, the commissioner of children and families.