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 Livia B.L.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

January 6, 2017

In re Livia B.L.

         Supreme Court Washington County Family Court No. 2015-217-Appeal Associate Justice Gilbert V. Indeglia

          JUDGE FROM LOWER COURT: Associate Justice Stephen J. Capineri

          ATTORNEYS ON APPEAL: For Petitioner: Richard A. Merolla, Esq. For Respondent: Susan B. Iannitelli, Esq.

          Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

          OPINION

          Indeglia, Justice

         The respondent, Anthony Bucci (respondent or Bucci), appeals from an order terminating his parental rights based on the abandonment of his daughter, Livia, and from the granting of Derek Gray's petition to adopt her. This matter came before the Supreme Court on November 30, 2016, pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why this Court should not summarily decide the issues raised by this appeal. After hearing the arguments of counsel and reviewing the memoranda of the parties, we are satisfied that cause has not been shown. Thus, we shall decide the matter without further briefing or argument. For the reasons set forth herein, we affirm the order of the Family Court.

         I Facts and Travel

         Livia was born to Marissa Levesque[1] and respondent, Bucci, on April 28, 2004. At the time of Livia's birth, Levesque was seventeen years of age and respondent was twenty years of age. They were not married and lived in separate households. On March 15, 2013, Levesque and Gray filed a joint Family Court petition for the termination of respondent's parental rights and for the adoption of Livia by Gray. A trial on the matter took place on March 25, April 15, and April 22, 2014.

         Gray testified first. He stated that he lives with Levesque, Livia, and another daughter that he had with Levesque. He stated that he began dating Levesque in late 2008, he met Livia in early 2009, and they began living together in the spring of 2010. Gray testified that he married Levesque in September 2012. He testified that he played a significant positive role in Livia's life as a father figure and that, since 2010, Livia has called him "Dad." Further, Gray stated that he supported Livia financially, which included setting up a college fund for her. He believed the last time respondent saw Livia was in the spring of 2009. For all of these reasons, Gray and Levesque jointly filed a petition for Gray to adopt Livia pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 15-7-5(b).[2]

         Levesque testified next. She confirmed that, from Livia's birth until she was five years old, Levesque's relationship with respondent was "on and off and when it was good for him." She stated that they would "get involved a bit, fall off, and [he would] do whatever was best for him and let [Livia] down and start over and repeat." Levesque also testified that, during Livia's life, respondent was incarcerated "[m]ore often than not, " which impacted their relationship.

         Levesque confirmed that significant Family Court activity occurred between her and respondent, including a restraining order she obtained against him, and visitation and child-support issues. Levesque testified that respondent did not partake in usual visitation, and it depended on "if [Levesque and respondent] were good." She stated that she always supervised visits because she felt it was necessary. She recalled a period in 2010 where a justice of the Family Court granted respondent supervised visitation, but she noted that only one such visit occurred. She described this visit as "[p]robably one of the worst days of my life as a parent to see my child literally attached to my neck and my waist and would not get off me."[3]

         Prior to the 2010 visit, Levesque stated that respondent's last visit with Livia was shortly after Christmas in 2009, during which visit respondent spent very little time with the child. She described Livia's relationship with respondent at this point as "kind of awkward for her, but she knew who he was and * * * I always covered for him." When asked whether respondent maintained regular contact with Livia prior to the 2009 visit, Levesque responded, "No."

         Levesque also discussed child support. She stated that although a child-support order was entered against respondent, he filed multiple motions to reduce it. Moreover, she testified that neither respondent nor anyone on his behalf paid child support from 2005 until the day of her testimony in 2014. She stated that, since the supervised visit in 2010, respondent had not moved for further visitation; however, he did move to modify the child support order in 2013.

         On cross-examination, she testified that she periodically brought Livia to respondent's mother's house, where respondent resided in 2009. She testified that respondent and Livia did not have a set visitation schedule, and she confirmed that she controlled whether or not to permit visitation. When asked whether respondent ever gave Livia gifts, she stated, "At some point in Livia's life [respondent] has gotten her some clothing here and there when she was very little." Levesque ...


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.