March 28, 2017
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
(NEG-145-15) (Hon. Janet Albert, Magistrate Judge) (Hon.
Robert Rigsby, Associate Judge)
Willingham for appellant.
Soncini, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Karl A.
Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Todd
S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy
Solicitor General, were on the brief, for appellee the
District of Columbia.
Morse, Children's Law Center, guardian ad litem, with
whom Melissa Colangelo and Abraham Sisson, Children's Law
Center, were on the brief, for K.M.
Woodman filed a statement in lieu of brief on behalf of
Glickman and McLeese, Associate Judges, and Ruiz, Senior
GLICKMAN, ASSOCIATE JUDGE.
father of K.M. (who was two years old at the time of the
neglect proceedings), appeals the Superior Court's
determination that K.M. is a neglected child as defined by
D.C. Code § 16-2301 (9)(A)(ii) and (iii) (2012 Repl.).
He argues that the court erred in finding sufficient evidence
of neglect because it gave too much weight to parental
admissions that were entered into evidence by the guardian
ad litem ("GAL") pursuant to Civil Rule
M.M. submits that these admissions were unreliable and
uncorroborated, and that if the court had properly weighed
all the evidence, it would have found it insufficient to
support a finding of neglect. We conclude otherwise; the
trial court did not err in attaching great weight to the
admissions by M.M. and by K.M.'s mother. Indeed, as Rule
36 (b) provides, the matters admitted by the parents were
"conclusively established." Taking those admissions
into consideration, we agree with the Superior Court that the
evidence in its entirety was sufficient to prove that K.M.
was a neglected child.
the Child and Family Services Agency ("CFSA") had
been working with T.M., K.M.'s mother, since 2012, the
incident that led to the removal of K.M. and his older sister
Z.C. occurred in April 2015. Monisha Maddox testified at the
neglect hearing that on the morning of April 21, 2015, she
was driving near the corner of M Street and North Capitol
Street. Maddox observed T.M. holding Z.C. by the hand and
walking out into traffic yelling, "He shouldn't do
that, she's just a baby." To avoid hitting T.M. with
her car, Maddox pulled over to the side of the road. She then
got out of her car and motioned for T.M. to come over to her.
approached Maddox with Z.C., handed the five-year-old child
to Maddox, a stranger to T.M., and walked away without giving
Maddox any instructions or contact information. Maddox placed
Z.C. in her car and attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate T.M.
She then called 911 and eventually flagged down police
officers and explained what had occurred. Police officers
contacted the CFSA child abuse hotline, and a CFSA social
worker, Denise Carter, was assigned to investigate the case.
testified that she heard allegations not only that T.M. had
left Z.C. with a stranger, but also that M.M. had tried to
stab T.M. and K.M. Carter spoke with the police officers
regarding the events of the morning and reviewed the
family's history with CFSA. Officers also brought M.M.
and K.M. to CFSA. Carter attempted to interview M.M. about
what had occurred, but he was uncooperative and would not
provide the social worker with any information. Additionally,
CFSA could not locate T.M. Due to the unusual circumstances
that brought K.M. and Z.C. to the agency that day, the
allegations made against M.M., and his failure to cooperate,