AGARD v. THOMPSON
MARCH 10, 1998
Record No. 1247-97-2
ANTHONY L. THOMPSON, A MINOR,
BY CLAY B. BLANTON, GUARDIAN AD LITEM
Samuel T. Powell, III, Judge
Present: Chief Judge Fitzpatrick, Judges Elder and Overton
Argued at Richmond, Virginia
(Renee Agard, pro se, on brief).
(Clay B. Blanton, Guardian ad litem, on brief) for
Renee Agard appeals the refusal of the circuit court to sever
her parental rights to her son, Anthony L. Thompson (hereinafter
"Anthony"). Because we find no error, we affirm.
According to the parties’ statement of facts, Anthony ran away
from home on August 2, 1995 to the home of his grandmother and
aunt. He left because he was frequently beaten by his stepfather,
Walter Agard. Ms. Agard knew of the beatings and yet did nothing
to stop them.
As a result of this abuse, Anthony was placed in the custody
of Charles City County Social Services and later his aunt and
grandmother. Walter Agard was convicted of assault and battery in
connection with the beatings. Ms. Agard moved the Charles City
County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court to
terminate her parental rights to Anthony due to her fear of
Anthony, the strain her husband’s incarceration placed upon her
marriage and the financial constraints of her family. Both the
juvenile and circuit courts denied her request on the grounds
that Anthony still showed affection for his mother, and he was no
longer in her custody.
"Under familiar principles we view [the] evidence and all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
prevailing party below. Where, as here, the court hears evidence ore
tenus, its finding is entitled to great weight and will
not be disturbed on appeal unless plainly wrong or without
evidence to support it."
Martin v. Dep’t of Soc. Services, 3 Va. App. 15, 20,
348 S.E.2d 13, 16 (1986) (quoting Simmons v. Simmons, 1
Va. App. 358, 361, 339 S.E.2d 198, 199 (1986)). On the spare
record before us, we cannot say the court’s conclusion, that the
best interests of the child are served by preserving the ties
between him and his mother, is either plainly wrong or without
support. Accordingly, we affirm.
 Pursuant to Code ? 17?116.010 this
opinion is not designated for publication.
Both parties waived oral argument. Therefore, we have decided the
case on the briefs and the record.