No. 1930 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from the Order of June 2, 1982 in the Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County, Orphans Division, No. 25-1981
Garry Edward Wamser, Lock Haven, for appellant.
Merritt E. McKnight, Lock Haven, for appellees.
Larry E. Coploff, Lock Haven, for participating party.
Brosky, Montgomery and Cercone, JJ.
[ 325 Pa. Super. Page 146]
Appellant, Sandra Bauman, takes this appeal from the order and decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County by which the court terminated appellant's parental rights to her children, Ruth and Rhonda, ages eleven and nine. The basis for the termination listed by the court was the court's conclusion that appellant "is incapable of providing parental care because of her lack of moral structure, and thus [sic] permanent moral and physical harm to the children." While the court did not refer to a specific section in the statutes*fn1 in support of its ruling, the court did cite as
[ 325 Pa. Super. Page 147]
authority the case of In Re William L., 477 Pa. 322, 383 A.2d 1228 (1978).
During the pendency of appellant's appeal, the United States Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 102 S.Ct. 1388, 71 L.Ed.2d 599 (1982), wherein the Court ruled that due process requires that the minimum standard of proof in involuntary termination proceedings be clear and convincing evidence. Accordingly, our Court held in In Re Adoption of M.E.T., 313 Pa. Superior Ct. 316, 459 A.2d 1247 (1983), that the higher standard of proof announced in Santosky must be applied to all cases which had not been finally decided on appeal at the time the Santosky opinion was handed down. This aspect of In Re Adoption of M.E.T., supra, has been approved by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in In Re T.R., 502 Pa. 165, 465 A.2d 642 (1983). However, the Court added this directive at the end of its opinion: "To the extent that the holding of the Superior Court in In Re Adoption of M.E.T., 313 Pa. Superior Ct. 316, 459 A.2d 1247 (1983) limits the parties' right to a rehearing it is disapproved." Id., 502 Pa. at 169, 465 A.2d at 644. (Footnote omitted.)
Therefore, since the Common Pleas Court based its decision on a lesser standard of proof, its order must be vacated and appellant's case must be remanded for a rehearing under the "clear and convincing evidence" standard of Santosky v. Kramer, supra, and In Re T.R., supra.*fn2
Reversed and remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with the opinion in In Re T.R., 502 Pa. 165, 465 A.2d 642 (1983). This ...