In the Matter of Maya B. (Anonymous). Administration for Children's Services, respondent; Muke B. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 1) In the Matter of Charles B. (Anonymous). Administration for Children's Services, respondent; Muke B. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 2) Docket Nos. N-24379-14, N-24380-14
Submitted - November 14, 2017
Anthony DeGuerre, Staten Island, NY, for appellant.
Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel, New York, NY (Scott
Shorr and Tahirih M. Sadrieh of counsel), for respondent.
Seymour W. James, Jr., New York, NY (Tamara A. Steckler and
Susan Clement of counsel), attorney for the child Maya B.
LEONARD B. AUSTIN, J.P. SHERI S. ROMAN SANDRA L. SGROI
VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
from (1) an order of fact-finding of the Family Court, Queens
County (Joan L. Piccirillo, J.), dated June 8, 2016, and (2)
an order of disposition of that court dated July 11, 2016.
The order of fact-finding, after a hearing, found that the
father neglected the child Maya B. and derivatively neglected
the child Charles B. The order of disposition, after a
hearing, inter alia, placed the child Maya B. in the custody
of the mother.
that the appeal from so much of the order of fact-finding as
found that the father neglected the child Maya B. is
dismissed, without costs or disbursements, as that portion of
the order of fact-finding was superseded by the order of
disposition and is brought up for review on the appeal from
the order of disposition; and it is further, ORDERED that the
order of fact-finding is affirmed insofar as reviewed,
without costs or disbursements; and it is further, ORDERED
that the order of disposition is affirmed, without costs or
petitioner commenced these proceedings pursuant to Family
Court Act article 10, alleging that the father neglected the
child Maya B., who was then 14 years old, by inflicting
excessive corporal punishment on her, and derivatively
neglected the child Charles B., who was then 16 years old.
After a fact-finding hearing, in an order dated June 8, 2016,
the Family Court found that the father neglected Maya B. and
derivatively neglected Charles B. The attorney for Charles B.
then moved to dismiss the petition as to Charles B. pursuant
to Family Court Act § 1051(c) rather than proceed to a
dispositional hearing on the ground that the aid of the court
was no longer necessary with respect to Charles B., who would
be turning 18 within a few months. The petitioner consented,
and in an order dated June 9, 2016, the court dismissed the
petition as to Charles B. After a dispositional hearing, the
court, inter alia, placed Maya B. in the custody of her
child protective proceeding, the petitioner has the burden of
proving neglect by a preponderance of the evidence
(see Family Ct Act § 1046[b][i]). A petitioner
may rely upon a child's prior out-of-court statements to
satisfy this burden, provided that they are properly
corroborated (see Family Ct Act § 1046[a][vi];
Matter of Christina F., 74 N.Y.2d 532, 536;
Matter of Nicole V., 71 N.Y.2d 112, 118).
Corroboration means ''[a]ny other evidence tending to
support the reliability of the previous statements''
(Family Ct Act § 1046[a][vi]; see Matter of
Christina F., 74 N.Y.2d at 536; Matter of Nicole
V., 71 N.Y.2d at 118). Whether corroborative evidence
tends to support the reliability of the out-of-court
statements is a determination for the Family Court, which saw
and heard the witnesses (see Matter of Christina F.,
74 N.Y.2d at 536; Matter of Nicole V., 71 N.Y.2d at
parents have a right to use reasonable physical force against
a child in order "to maintain discipline or to promote
the welfare of [the child]" (Penal Law § 35.10),
the use of excessive corporal punishment constitutes neglect
(see Family Ct Act § 1012[f][i][B]). In this case, the
Family Court's finding of neglect was supported by a
preponderance of the evidence. The evidence demonstrated that
on more than one occasion, the father engaged in excessive
corporal punishment of Maya B. by acts which included
repeatedly slapping her across the face, knocking her to the
ground, hitting her once she was on the ground and punching
her in the face with a closed fist, kicking her in the ribs
while she was on the ground, and throwing a can of soda at
her, which struck her on the forehead. Maya B.'s
out-of-court statements were sufficiently corroborated by the
caseworker's observation of bruises on Maya B.'s
face, the father's admission to slapping Maya B. and
throwing her to the floor, hospital emergency room records,
and out-of-court statements of Charles B. (see Matter of
Tarelle J. [Walter J.], 152 A.D.3d 593, 595; Matter
of Era O. [Emmanuel O.], 145 A.D.3d 895, 898;Matter
of Hayden C. [Tafari C.J, 130 A.D.3d 924, 925;Matter
of Cheryale B. [Michelle B.], 121 A.D.3d 976, 977;
Matter of Isaiah S., 63 A.D.3d 948, 949).
evidence that the father used excessive corporal punishment
to discipline Maya B. was sufficient to support the Family
Court's determination that he derivatively neglected
Charles B. (see Family Ct Act § 1046[a][i]; Matter
of Era O. [Emmanuel O.], 145 A.D.3d at 898; Matter
of Hayden C. [Tafari C.], 130 A.D.3d at 926; Matte ...