Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
2010-UP-244 - SCDSS v. Doe

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

South Carolina Department of Social Services, Respondent,

v.

Jane Doe, Appellant,

And John Roe and Richard Roe, Respondents.


Appeal From Fairfield County
 Brian M. Gibbons, Family Court Judge
 Joseph W. McGowan, III, Family Court Judge
2007-DR-20-00202


Unpublished Opinion No.  2010-UP-244
Submitted April 1, 2010 – Filed April 20, 2010


AFFIRMED


Jane Doe, pro se, of Batesburg and of Louisville, Kentucky, for Appellant.

Angela Michelle Killian, of Lancaster, for Respondent South Carolina Department of Social Services.

Emma I. Bryson and Ken H. Lester, of Columbia, for Respondent John Roe.

Lesley Williams Sercer, of Columbia, for Respondent Richard Roe.

Larry Jerome Pearson, of Columbia, for Guardian ad Litem.

PER CURIAM:  Jane Doe (Mother) appeals the family court's removal of her son (Son) and daughters (Daughters) and their placement into the custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS). 

Mother appeals multiple orders of the family court related to the removal of Son and Daughters.  However, she articulates arguments against only two orders: (1) a September 2007 order finding Mother psychologically abused Son, removing Son, and taking Daughters into emergency protective custody and (2) a December 2007 order removing Daughters.  Accordingly, this opinion focuses solely on the removal orders.  Mother's appellate brief states custody of the children has gone to their respective fathers, John Roe and Richard Roe (collectively, the Fathers), following private custody actions. 

Mother argues (1) the family court erred in finding "spiritual coercion through prayer" was psychological abuse; (2) the family court erred in failing to find Son's mental injury was proven by clear and convincing evidence; (3) she was deprived of her due process rights in numerous ways; and (4) the family court removal orders are not supported by sufficient facts in violation of Rule 26(a), SCRFC.  DSS and the Fathers contend the appeal is moot because any ruling will have no legal effect when the children's legal custody was decided in private custody actions.  We find a preponderance of the evidence supported removal, and we affirm for the following reasons:

1.  As to whether the appeal is moot, we find the appeal is not moot because Mother's name was ordered to be placed on the Central Registry for Abuse and Neglect as a result of Son's removal order.  See Mathis v. S.C. State Highway Dep't, 260 S.C. 344, 346, 195 S.E.2d 713, 715 (1973) ("A case becomes moot when judgment, if rendered, will have no practical legal effect upon existing controversy."); Collins Music Co. v. IGT, 365 S.C. 544, 549, 619 S.E.2d 1, 3 (Ct. App. 2005) (explaining an exception to the mootness doctrine exists when the trial court's decision has collateral consequences to the parties).  However, insofar as the children's custody has been determined in private custody actions, the appeal is moot.  See McCoy v. McCoy, 283 S.C. 383, 385-86, 323 S.E.2d 517, 519 (1984) (holding an appeal of a family court order granting temporary custody to DSS was moot when a subsequent divorce action determined custody of the child).

2.  Regarding Mother's arguments concerning prayer, the evidentiary standard for finding a mental injury, and deprivation of due process, we find these issues are not preserved for our review.  See King v. King, 384 S.C. 134, 142, 681 S.E.2d 609, 614 (Ct. App. 2009) (finding for an issue to be preserved it must have been raised to and ruled upon by the trial court).  We note Mother objected at Daughters' removal hearing to psychologist Dr. DeFelice's testimony, arguing it was speculative, prejudicial, and inadmissible character evidence under Rule 404(b), SCRE.  However, Mother asserts on appeal the testimony was irrelevant hearsay that violated her due process rights.  Accordingly, the issue is not preserved for review on appeal.  See Wogan v. Kunze, 366 S.C. 583, 608-09, 623 S.E.2d 107, 121 (Ct. App. 2005) (finding a party may not argue one theory before the trial court and another on appeal).

3.  As to whether the family court violated Rule 26(a), SCRFC, we find the orders adequately provided the factual bases and legal conclusions for their decisions.  See Rule 26(a), SCRFC ("An order or judgment pursuant to an adjudication in a domestic relations case shall set forth the specific findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the court's decision.").

For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the family court's orders removing Son and Daughters.

AFFIRMED. [1]

WILLIAMS, KONDUROS, JJ., and CURETON, A.J., concur.


[1]  We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.