Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Adoption of A Minor Child Named In Complaint Harmon

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 7, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF A MINOR CHILD NAMED IN THE COMPLAINT: JUSTIN DANIEL HARMON APPELLANT
v.
KRYSTAL KATHLEEN INGLE AND SHAUN MITCHELL PERRY APPELLEES IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF A MINOR CHILD NAMED IN THE COMPLAINT: JUSTIN DANIEL HARMON APPELLANT
v.
KRYSTAL KATHLEEN INGLE AND SHAUN MITCHELL PERRY APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/28/2017

          SCOTT COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON. H. DAVID CLARK II JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: BRIAN DOUGLAS MAYO

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: P. SHAWN HARRIS

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., TINDELL AND McCARTY, JJ.

          BARNES, C.J.

         ¶1. Justin Harmon and Krystal Ingle were married on April 6, 2006, and divorced by order of the Scott County Chancery Court on August 13, 2013.[1] Two children were born of the marriage: "Brian," born in September 2006, and "Jesse," born in March 2010.[2] The chancery court awarded Krystal sole legal and physical custody of the children. Because of Justin's history of drug and alcohol abuse, the court ordered him to enter an in-house rehabilitation program. Upon completion of the program, Justin would be granted supervised visitation with the children for sixty days, with unsupervised visitation thereafter, provided no additional incidents of alcohol consumption or abusive behavior occurred. The chancery court's order further provided: "[G]iven the history of alcohol abuse, the mother has the right to suspend visitation should she have viable, credible information that the father has resumed his alcohol abuse, or any drug abuse, or abusive behavior." Justin was ordered to pay child support of $250 a month.

         ¶2. In February 2014, having completed a thirty-day drug and alcohol treatment program and having received supervised visitation for sixty days, Justin was allowed an unsupervised visit with the children. Brian's grandmother, Karen Ingle, had given him a cell phone, and he contacted his mother and grandparents that night to report that Justin was acting angry and drunk. According to Krystal, Brian initially called her to say that he was scared because Justin was driving erratically. He later reported that Justin had gone into a liquor store in Meridian, gotten into a fight with his girlfriend at the movies, and had lost the car keys. Brian also called her, saying that they were at a pond after dark with Justin and his girlfriend; Krystal could hear Jesse crying and Justin tell one of the children to "Shut the f*** up." Krystal contacted local law enforcement, who waited outside of Justin's mobile home that night. However, Justin and the kids stayed in Meridian with his girlfriend's family. Brian told Krystal that Justin was sick all day Saturday.

         ¶3. After the kids returned home, Krystal decided to invoke the condition of the court's order and sent a text to Justin, telling him that future visits with the children would be cancelled due to his alcohol abuse and that he could contact her attorney. Shortly thereafter, Krystal and the children moved to Flora, Mississippi, with her boyfriend of several months, Shaun Perry. On May 11, 2015, Krystal and Shaun were married. On November 13, 2016, Krystal and Shaun filed petitions with the chancery court to adopt and for the termination of Justin's parental rights.[3] A guardian ad litem (GAL) was appointed, and the parties were ordered to submit to urine and hair follicle testing for drugs by February 20, 2017. Krystal and Shaun immediately complied, with negative test results, but Justin waited until June 23, 2017, to comply with the court's order.[4] The results of his hair-follicle test tested positive for methamphetamine.

         ¶4. The GAL's report indicated that since moving to Flora, the Perry family regularly attended church together and that the minor children were happy, well-adjusted, and excellent students. They also expressed a preference to use "Perry" as their last name at school. Letters from friends and family indicated that the boys loved Shaun and that Shaun treated them like they were his own children.

         ¶5. Trial testimony revealed that Justin had not had any contact with the children for three years. Although Justin claimed it had been a year since he used any drugs, a hair-follicle test conducted June 23, 2017, tested positive for methamphetamine. Justin argued that he did not know how to get in touch with Krystal or the children; but testimony showed that Krystal had not changed her cell phone number, and her parents still lived and worked in the same location since her and Justin's marriage. Krystal testified that Justin had sent her a text once, but he never requested to see the children during that time. Krystal's mother also testified that Justin never contacted her to inquire about the children.

         ¶6. Justin's mother, Janet Harmon, acknowledged that during supervised visitation, Justin would often leave to go out. She related that during one visit, the children witnessed a physical altercation between Justin and his father. Although she insisted that the boys were not afraid of Justin, she confessed that Brian was going to call 9-1-1 during the argument and she stopped him. There was also testimony that Justin had to be hospitalized for a drug overdose after the separation.

         ¶7. The GAL, Joseph Sims, testified that Shaun "is the only daddy that the youngest child knows and the only daddy that the older child, [Brian], really recognizes." He determined that although Justin was now willing and able to care for the children, there was no question that Justin had not contacted the children for over a year, which constitutes abandonment under Mississippi law. The GAL further noted that Justin had provided no financial support, which was due to a lack of steady employment likely because of drug and alcohol use. He opined that reunification with Justin would not be in the children's best interest.

         ¶8. On December 28, 2017, the chancery court terminated Justin's parental rights, finding that Justin "did not make reasonable efforts to attempt to visit and reestablish visitation with the minor children." The court also entered a judgment of adoption for each child.

         ¶9. Justin appeals, contending that Krystal interfered with his visitation and, therefore, the chancery court erred in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.