NOTICE: The opinions posted here are
subject to formal revision. If you find a typographical error or
other formal error, please notify the Virginia Court of Appeals.
ELEY, et al.
JANUARY 27, 2000
Record No. 0472-99-1
JOHNATHAN O’NEAL ELEY
AND LILLIAN BROWN
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF HAMPTON
Present: Judges Willis, Lemons and Frank
Argued at Chesapeake, Virginia
Walter J. Ford, Judge
Rodney Sager (Kenneth Hardt, Sager & Hardt,
P.C., on brief), for appellant.
John F. Rixey for appellee Johnathan O’Neal
No brief or argument for appellee Lillian
MEMORANDUM OPINION BY JUDGE
JERE M. H. WILLIS, JR.
On appeal from the judgment of the trial court
awarding custody of Brandon Brown to his father, Johnathan O’Neal
Eley, Louvenia Wooten contends that the trial court erred by
failing to consider evidence showing Eley to be an unfit parent.
Janice Brown, Brandon’s mother and custodian
from his birth, died of medical complications on July 13, 1996,
when Brandon was seven years old. No father was ever listed on
Brandon’s birth certificate.
Brandon’s maternal grandmother, Louvenia
Wooten, Janice Brown’s cousin, Lillian Brown (Brown), and
Brandon’s father, Johnathan Eley, all sought Brandon’s custody.
On January 3, 1997, the juvenile and domestic relations district
court awarded temporary custody to Brown, granting Wooten and
Eley visitation rights. Both Eley and Wooten appealed. On January
26, 1999, the trial court granted Brandon’s custody to Eley.
Wooten has appealed that decision.
Contending that the trial court erred in
granting custody of Brandon to Eley, Wooten asserts that it was
reversible error to award custody of a minor 9
year old child to a part time father who is guilty of both long
term and ongoing "anti-social, immoral and illegal
conduct," which includes, but is not limited to the
1. Ongoing scheme to defraud the internal
2. Deceiving social services.
3. Associating with known drug dealers.
4. Lying to the court’s social worker.
5. Lying to the juvenile court to avoid child
support by denying paternity.
6. Unstable address history.
7. Refusal to pay voluntary child support for 7
8. Abandonment of infant child.
Wooten’s assignment of error is analogous to a
sufficiency of the evidence question. Wooten asks us to retry the
custody issue on its merits. We will not do so. The trial court
heard the evidence relating to Eley’s fitness as a parent, found
him fit, and determined that Brandon was a happy, well-adjusted
child. Credible evidence in the record supports this finding.
Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is
 Pursuant to Code
? 17.1-413, recodifying Code ? 17-116.010, this
opinion is not designated for publication.