Friday, May 13, 2016
A.L., JR., AND A.K.L. A-4905-14T2
A.L., JR., AND A.K.L.
A biological mother succeeds in her appeal of the trial court's denial of her request to testify after the close of evidence. She did not appear for her termination of parental rights trial, but came to court seeking to testify on the day the judge was prepared to render his decision. A parent facing the termination of parental rights is entitled to every reasonable opportunity to produce evidence. If a parent seeks to reopen the record to testify after the close of evidence, the trial court is constitutionally obligated to grant that request as long as it does not interfere with the children's essential and overriding interest in stability and permanency.