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In re D.M.M.

August 31, 2007

IN THE INTEREST OF D.M.M., DOB: 03/04/02, A CHILD UNDER EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS OF AGE.


Appeal from Doniphan District Court; JAMES A. PATTON, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Whether jurisdiction exists is a question of law over which an appellate court's scope of review is unlimited.

2. Appellate courts have only such jurisdiction as is provided by law. The right to appeal is entirely statutory and is not contained in the United States or Kansas Constitutions. It is an appellate court's duty to dismiss an appeal when the record discloses a lack of jurisdiction.

3. Under the Revised Kansas Code for Care of Children, appeals are governed by K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 38-2273.

4. The interpretation of a statute is a question of law over which an appellate court has unlimited review.

5. The fundamental rule of statutory construction is that the intent of the legislature governs if that intent can be ascertained. Courts presume that the legislature expressed its intent through the language of the statutory scheme. When the language of a statute is plain and unambiguous, a court must construe the statute to give effect to the legislature's intent as expressed rather than determine what the law should or should not be.

6. Under the Revised Kansas Code for Care of Children, an appellate court is without jurisdiction to consider an appeal of the district court's order changing placement of a child after termination of parental rights.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Malone, J.

Appeal dismissed.

Before CAPLINGER, P.J., ELLIOTT and MALONE, JJ.

S.B. (Grandmother) appeals the district court's orders changing D.M.M.'s placement for adoption following termination of parental rights. We conclude this court lacks jurisdiction to consider Grandmother's appeal.

D.M.M. was born on March 4, 2002, while his natural mother, D.M. (Mother), was incarcerated. The identity of D.M.M.'s natural father (Father) was unknown. On March 20, 2002, the State of Kansas filed a Child in Need of Care petition in Doniphan County District Court alleging D.M.M. was in need of care. At the time the petition was filed, D.M.M. was living with Grandmother. Grandmother had previously adopted D.M.M.'s sister and brother.

On April 16, 2002, the district court issued temporary orders placing D.M.M. in the custody of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) and finding that residential placement with Grandmother was appropriate. On June 3, 2002, the district court adjudicated D.M.M. as a child in need of care. The district court held a disposition hearing on June 24, 2002. At the disposition hearing, the district court found that Mother was on probation in Missouri and ordered her to enter into a reintegration plan with SRS. The district court further found that it was in D.M.M.'s best interests to remain living with Grandmother.

On August 7, 2003, Grandmother filed a motion to terminate parental rights. After conducting a hearing, the district court terminated Mother's and Father's parental rights to D.M.M., and the journal entry was filed on December 16, 2003. The district court placed D.M.M. in the care, custody, and control of SRS, found that it was in D.M.M.'s best interests to be adopted, and granted SRS authority to consent to an adoption. At a September 29, 2004, permanency hearing, SRS ...


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