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INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION PARENTAL RIGHTS TO B. M. D. AND R. L. D. APPEAL LUTHER L. DINGUS (12/21/79)

decided: December 21, 1979.

IN RE INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS TO B. M. D. AND R. L. D. APPEAL OF LUTHER L. DINGUS


Nos. 191 and 192 January Term, 1979, Appeals from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Cumberland County, at Nos. 84 and 85 Adoption 1974

COUNSEL

Roger M. Morgenthal, Carlisle, for appellant.

Ruby D. Weeks, Carlisle, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: O'brien

[ 487 Pa. Page 388]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This appeal is from final decrees of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, Orphans' Court Division, which terminated involuntarily the parental rights of appellant, Luther L. Dingus, in his minor children, B.M.D. and R.L.D.

On November 9, 1977, appellee, Cumberland County Children's Services, filed a petition to involuntarily terminate the parental rights of appellant in his two minor children. Both children were born out of wedlock to appellant and Dorothy Mae Kiner. Appellee obtained custody of the children in 1974 when the natural mother voluntarily relinquished her parental rights. At the time, appellant was incarcerated in Virginia.

In 1975, appellee petitioned for the involuntary termination of appellant's rights. Following a hearing, the court dismissed the petition, finding that appellee had failed to prove adequate grounds requiring the termination of appellant's parental rights in his minor children.

Appellee again petitioned for termination of appellant's parental rights in November, 1977, said petition resulting in the instant controversy. Following two continuances, granted because of appellant's inability to attend the scheduled hearing, a hearing on the termination petition was held on March 15, 1978. Though represented by counsel, appellant did not attend the hearing. On April 4, 1978, the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, Orphans' Court Division, entered final decrees terminating the parental rights of appellant in his minor children. This direct appeal followed.

Rather than reach the merits of the instant appeal, we believe the decrees must be vacated because of the Orphans'

[ 487 Pa. Page 389]

Court failure to comply with the Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 3.1 of the Pennsylvania ...


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