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Pro se appeal from termination of parental rights fails

State v. A.M., 2019AP475-476, District 1, 1/3/20, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

This is A.M.’s pro se appeal from an order terminating her parental rights to her two children. The briefs are confidential, and the court of appeals states that it had difficulty discerning her arguments.  She appears to have argued that she received ineffective assistance of counsel and that the circuit court erred in determining the best interests of her children.

Regarding ineffective assistance of counsel, A.M. struggled with depression. She claimed that her lawyer should have brought more positive information about her and her mental health to the court’s attention.  The court of appeals denied the claim because A.M. failed to specify the information she had in mind. Opinion, ¶12.

Regarding the “best interests of the children” analysis, the court of appeals noted that the circuit court considered all of the statutory factors. See §48.426(3). Thus, A.M.’s real complaint seemed to be that the circuit court should have weighed the factors differently. Because the court of appeals must defer to the circuit court regarding what weight to give each factor, A.M. lost on this issue as well. Opinion, ¶¶16-18.

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