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All opinions are subject to modification and technical correction prior to official publication in the North Carolina Reports and North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports. In the event of discrepancies between the electronic version of an opinion and the
print version appearing in the North Carolina Reports and North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports, the latest print version is to be considered authoritative.
IN THE MATTER OF: B.P., S.P., R.T.
Filed: 19 April 2005
1. Appeal and Error--appealability--permanency planning review order
A permanency planning review order was not a final dispositional order and was thus not
appealable by respondent mother as to two of her children, who had previously been adjudicated
neglected and dependent, where it did not alter the original permanency plan for those two
children but continued the guardianship plans for them. However, the permanency planning
review order was a final dispositional order as to a third child and was thus immediately
appealable by respondent mother where it changed the disposition for the third child from
guardianship to adoption. N.C.G.S. § 7B-1001.
2. Constitutional Law--effective assistance of counsel--child neglect
The trial court did not err in a child neglect case by failing to vacate its order based on
respondent mother's allegation that she received ineffective assistance of counsel, because: (1)
although respondent argues generally that counsel was difficult to contact, failed to call
additional witnesses, and made no motions before the trial court, respondent failed to specify
what motions should have been made and what evidence could have been, but was not, presented
before the trial court; and (2) without a proper showing of counsel's deficiencies, respondent
failed to set forth a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel.
3. Child Abuse and Neglect--failure to enter order within thirty days--particularity
The trial court erred in a child neglect case by failing to enter the order within thirty days
of the permanency planning hearing pursuant to N.C.G.S. §§ 7B-807(b) and 7B-905(a), because:
(1) the dispositional order was entered six months after the hearing at the trial; (2) the trial court
failed to satisfy the particularity requirement of the statute in its oral disposition by failing to
state with particularity the person or agency in whom custody is vested and the duration of the
order, and by adopting DSS's recommendations as findings of fact without adjudicating the
evidence; and (3) the extensive delay prejudiced all parties when respondent was unable to visit
the children during the six-month delay, the children were delayed in receiving a permanent
family environment, and the prospective adoptive parents were prevented from moving forward
with adoption proceedings.
Judge WYNN concurring in part and dissenting in part.
Appeal by respondent mother from order entered 13 August 2003
by Judge P. Gwynette Hilburn in Pitt County District Court. Heard
in the Court of Appeals 25 January 2005.
Janis Gallagher, for petitioner-appellee Pitt County
Department of Social Services.
Katharine Chester, for respondent-appellant.
Kimberly Tripp (respondent) appeals from the trial court's
permanency planning review order entered 13 August 2003, nunc pro
tunc to 13 February 2003. We dismiss respondent's appeal as it
relates to B.P. and R.T. as interlocutory. We reverse the trial
court's order as it relates to S.P. and remand.
Respondent is the mother of three minor children: B.P., S.P.,
and R.T. (collectively, the children). On 31 March 1999, the
trial court adjudicated the children to be neglected and dependent.
Respondent did not appeal from this order. The children were
placed in foster care, received therapy, and were allowed
visitation with respondent.
Following entry of the original adjudication and dispositional
order, the trial court conducted several review hearings. In March
2001, the trial court entered a permanency planning review order
relieving the Pitt County Department of Social Services (DSS)
from reunification efforts and ordering the permanency plan for
the children to be with approved caretakers. Respondent did not
appeal from this order, or the subsequent continuation of the
permanency plan as set forth in the review orders entered June
2001, January 2002, May 2002, and July 2002.
The trial court conducted another permanency planning hearing
on 13 February 2003 and by order dated 13 August 2003, continuedthe permanency plans for R.T. and B.P., but changed the permanency
plan of guardianship for S.P. from an approved caretaker to
adoption. Respondent appeals from this order.
The issues presented are whether: (1) this appeal is
interlocutory; (2) the trial court erred in entering permanency
plans for S.P. when it failed to consider the changed circumstances
of the mother; (3) respondent was provided ineffective assistance
of counsel; (4) the trial court failed to enter timely orders; and
(5) the findings of fact and conclusions of law do not resemble the
orders rendered in open court, are not supported by competent
evidence, and are insufficient as a matter of law.
III. Interlocutory Order
 DSS contends respondent's appeal of the 13 August 2003
order as it relates to guardianship of the children is
interlocutory. We agree the order is interlocutory as it relates
to B.P. and R.T., but disagree as it relates to S.P.
In order for this Court to review an interlocutory order, the
appealing party carries the burden of establishing that:
(1) the order or judgment is final as to some
but not all of the claims or parties, and the
trial court certifies the case for appeal
pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 1A-1, Rule 54(b); or
(2) when the challenged order affects a
substantial right that may be lost without
immediate review. Flitt v. Flitt, 149 N.C.
App. 475, 561 S.E.2d 511 (2002).
McConnell v. McConnell, 151 N.C. App. 622, 624-25, 566 S.E.2d 801,
803 (2002). We must determine whether an appeal is interlocutory
on a case-by-case basis. Id. at 625, 566 S.E.2d at 803 (citingMcCallum v. North Carolina Coop. Extensive Serv. of N.C. State
Univ., 142 N.C. App. 48, 542 S.E.2d 227, appeal dismissed and disc.
rev. denied, 353 N.C. 452, 548 S.E.2d 527 (2001)).
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1001 (2003) establishes the right to
appeal from a final order in a juvenile case:
A final order shall include:
(1) Any order finding absence of jurisdiction;
(2) Any order which in effect determines the
action and prevents a judgment from which
appeal might be taken;
(3) Any order of disposition after an
adjudication that a juvenile is abused,
neglected, or dependent; or
(4) Any order modifying custodial rights.
Sections (1), (2), and (4) are inapplicable to the case at bar
because the 13 August 2003 and 1 October 2003 permanency planning
review orders do not find absences of jurisdiction, determine the
action or prevent a judgment, or modify respondent's custody rights
to her children.
As B.P. and R.T. have been adjudicated neglected and
dependent, our review turns to whether the order appealed from
constitutes a disposition or a final order as contemplated
under the statute. DSS contends the 13 August 2003 order is not a
dispositional order as to B.P. and R.T. because it does not change
or alter the original permanency plan set forth in the March 2001
order. We agree.
This Court addressed whether a permanency planning review
order was a dispositional order for purposes of appeal in In re
Weiler, 158 N.C. App. 473, 581 S.E.2d 134 (2003). In Weiler, the
petitioner argued the permanency planning review order was not afinal order. Id. at 476, 581 S.E.2d at 136. This Court disagreed
because the facts showed the review order changed the permanency
plan from reunification to adoption. Id. at 477, 581 S.E.2d at
137. We held that [a]n order that changes the permanency plan in
this manner is a dispositional order that fits squarely within the
statutory language of section 7B-1001. Id. (citation omitted); In
re Everett, 161 N.C. App. 475, 588 S.E.2d 579 (2003) (addressing
merits of appeal regarding permanency planning order that relieved
DSS from facilitating further reunification efforts).
Here, the disposition and permanency plan for B.P. and R.T.
were ordered in March 2001. Subsequent permanency planning review
hearings reaffirmed that plan and order. Respondent had the
ability to appeal from those orders, but did not avail herself of
that opportunity. See In re Everett, supra (appeal from permanency
planning orders). We are bound by the findings of fact and
conclusions of law set forth in the March 2001 order. See Hayden
v. Hayden, 178 N.C. 259, 263, 100 S.E. 515, 517 (1919) (This
decree was not appealed from, and is therefore valid and binding in
every respect.); see also Kelly v. Kelly, 167 N.C. App. 437, 443,
606 S.E.2d 364, 369 (2004) (orders not appealed from become the
law of the case) (citing Johnson v. Johnson, 7 N.C. App. 310,
313, 172 S.E.2d 264, 266 (1970)).
Further, the order appealed from is temporary in nature as it
set a review for 14 August 2003, after the date of the order
appealed from. See Senner v. Senner, 161 N.C. App. 78, 81, 587
S.E.2d 675, 677 (2003) (an order is not a final order and istemporary if . . . it states a clear and specific reconvening time
in the order and the time interval between the two hearings was
reasonably brief . . .) (citations omitted). Respondent's appeal
is from a continuation order of the permanency plan for B.P. and
R.T. The appeal is not from a final order and is interlocutory as
to B.P. and R.T.
Because the 13 August 2003 order changed the disposition for
S.P. from guardianship to adoption, it is a final order. See In re
Weiler, supra. As the order is final, we address the merits of
respondent's appeal regarding the order's disposition of S.P. N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 7B-1001(3).
IV. Standard of Review
If the trial court's findings of fact are supported by
competent evidence, they are conclusive on appeal. In re Weiler,
158 N.C. App. at 477, 581 S.E.2d at 137 (citation omitted). This
Court is bound by the trial court's findings of fact where there
is some evidence to support those findings, even though the
evidence might sustain findings to the contrary. In re
Montgomery, 311 N.C. 101, 110-11, 316 S.E.2d 246, 252-53 (1984)
V. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
 Respondent contends the trial court's order should be
vacated because she was provided ineffective assistance of counsel.
A parent is entitled to counsel in cases involving allegations
of abuse, neglect, or dependency. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-602(a)(2003). In order to prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance
of counsel, a respondent 'must show that counsel's performance was
deficient and the deficiency was so serious as to deprive [him] of
a fair hearing.' In re Faircloth, 153 N.C. App. 565, 571, 571
S.E.2d 65, 70 (2002) (quoting In re Bishop, 92 N.C. App. 662, 665,
375 S.E.2d 676, 679 (1989) (alteration in original)).
In In re Faircloth, the respondent asserted that counsel
should have issued subpoenas and filed motions. 153 N.C. App. at
572, 571 S.E.2d at 70. The respondent did not specify or identify
what motions or any witnesses who should have been subpoenaed, and
failed to show any prejudice resulting from counsel's alleged
deficiencies. Id. We found no error in the counsel's performance
and overruled the respondent's assignment of error.
Similarly, respondent at bar argues generally that counsel was
difficult to contact, failed to call additional witnesses, and made
no motions before the trial court. Respondent, however, has failed
to specify what motions should have been made and what evidence
could have been, but was not, presented before the trial court.
Without a proper showing of counsel's deficiencies, respondent
failed to set forth a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel.
Further, a review of the transcript from the 13 February 2003
hearing shows that respondent's counsel had represented her in
prior hearings. During the 13 February 2003 hearing, counsel
participated in the hearing, cross-examined and recross-examined
DSS's witnesses, and objected to portions of witnesses' testimony. Respondent has failed to assert any credible argument to
establish how such counsel's alleged deficiency deprived her of a
fair hearing. Respondent was afforded an opportunity to testify,
and after being called as a witness by her counsel, was able to
present her testimony and evidence before the trial court. This
assignment of error is overruled.
VI. Entry of Order
 Respondent contends the trial court erred by failing to
enter the order within thirty days of the permanency planning
hearing pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-807(b) and § 7B-905(a).
As the record shows the dispositional order was entered six months
after the hearing and the trial court failed to satisfy the
particularity requirements in the statute in its oral disposition,
A. Timeliness of Entry
Effective 1 January 2002, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-807(b) and §
7B-905(a) were revised to require that juvenile adjudication and
dispositional orders shall be reduced to writing, signed, and
entered by the trial court no later than thirty days following
completion of the hearing. 2001 N.C. Sess. Laws ch. 208, § 17. We
previously held that the order appealed from is a dispositional
order and is final as it relates to S.P. Thus, N.C. Gen. Stat. §
7B-905 applies. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-905(a) (2003) provides in
part, [t]he dispositional order shall be in writing, signed, and
entered no later than 30 days from the completion of the hearing .
. . . (Emphasis supplied).
This Court addressed the timeliness issue pertaining to
termination of parental rights orders in In re L.E.B. & K.T.B., ___
N.C. App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (April 5, 2005) (No. COA04-463). We
held a delay of over 180 days between the termination hearing and
entry of the termination order amounted to error. Id. at ___, ___
S.E.2d at ___. We determined the delay was in direct contradiction
to the General Assembly's presumed intent to provide a speedy
resolution to juvenile custody and termination of parental rights
cases. Id. at ___, ___ S.E.2d at ___. We concluded the error
prejudiced all parties involved: the respondent-mother, the minors,
and the foster parent. Id. at ___, ___ S.E.2d at ___.
In In re L.E.B. & K.T.B., the Court examined a multitude of
unreported decisions and three published opinions holding a delay
beyond the statutory time limits provided in the Juvenile Code was
error, but not reversible without a showing of prejudice. In In re
E.N.S., a dispositional order was entered over forty days after the
hearing in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-905(a). 164 N.C. App.
146, 153, 595 S.E.2d 167, 171-72, disc. rev. denied, 359 N.C. 189,
606 S.E.2d 903 (2004). This Court determined that although the
order was not filed within the specified time requirement, the
respondent [did not] show how she was prejudiced by the late
filing. Id. at 153, 595 S.E.2d at 172. We concluded the delay
amounted to harmless error and [was] not grounds for reversal.
Id. at 154, 595 S.E.2d at 172.
In In re J.L.K. this Court held that absent a showing of
prejudice, the trial court's failure to reduce to writing, sign,and enter a termination order beyond the thirty day limit may be
harmless error. ___ N.C. App. ___, ___, 598 S.E.2d 387, 390 (2004)
(order entered eighty-nine days after the hearing), disc. rev.
denied, 359 N.C. 68, 604 S.E.2d 314 (2004).
This analysis was further extended to petitions seeking
termination of parental rights under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(e)
(2003). See In re B.M., M.M., An.M., and Al.M., ___ N.C. App. ___,
___, 607 S.E.2d 698, 702 (2005) (Although this Court found error,
but not prejudice, we stated, [w]e strongly caution against this
practice, as it defeats the purpose of the time requirements
specified in the statute, which is to provide parties with a speedy
resolution of cases where juvenile custody is at issue.).
Here, the permanency planning hearing for S.P. was held on 13
February 2003. The trial court rendered an oral disposition in
open court. The transcript from the 13 August 2003 hearing shows
the trial court absolutely remember[ed] the order was entered
prior to that date, but that the Clerk of Court failed to locate
the filed order. Consequently, a subsequent dispositional order
served as a resubmitted order was reduced to writing, signed, and
entered by the trial court on 13 August 2003, over 180 days later.
See In re Pittman, 151 N.C. App. 112, 114, 564 S.E.2d 899, 900
(2002) ('The announcement of judgment in open court is the mere
rendering of judgment, not the entry of judgment. The entry of
judgment is the event which vests this Court with jurisdiction.').
This late entry clearly violates the thirty day time limit
prescribed by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-905(a) and was error.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-905(a) (2003) states:
The dispositional order shall be in writing,
signed, and entered no later than 30 days from
the completion of the hearing, and shall
contain appropriate findings of fact and
conclusions of law. The court shall state
with particularity, both orally and in the
written order of disposition, the precise
terms of the disposition including the kind,
duration, and the person who is responsible
for carrying out the disposition and the
person or agency in whom custody is vested.
Our review of the transcript from the 13 February 2003 hearing
shows that the trial court failed to satisfy the particularity
requirements of the statute in its oral disposition. Following
oral arguments and testimony during the permanency planning review
hearing, the trial court stated:
Alright. And I understand [respondent's] and
I understand [DSS's] position. There is no
question in my mind that [respondent] loves
her children incredibly much and we have been
very cognizant of that over the years and have
tried so hard to, and, and [sic] really, we've
tried everything that I can imagine that we
could try. And I'm delighted that [S.P.]
might have some permanence and so I am going
to adopt the recommendations and allow the
department to move forward with the concept of
adoption for [S.P.] . . . .
These statements constitute the entire oral disposition for S.P.
and include the kind of disposition (adoption) and the person
who is responsible for carrying out the disposition (the
department). N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-905(a). However, the oral
rendition fails to state with particularity the person or agency
in whom custody is vested and the duration of the order. SeeId. Further, the trial court's ruling to adopt DSS's
recommendations is insufficient to enter the findings of fact. See
Moore v. Moore, 160 N.C. App. 569, 571-72, 587 S.E.2d 74, 75 (2003)
([R]ecitations of the testimony of each witness do not constitute
findings of fact by the trial judge, because they do not reflect a
conscious choice between the conflicting versions of the incident
in question which emerged from all the evidence presented.)
(quoting In re Green, 67 N.C. App. 501, 505 n.1, 313 S.E.2d 193,
195 n.1 (1984)).
We hold the trial court prejudiced respondent by: (1) failing
to state with particularity the person or agency in whom custody
is vested and the duration of the order; and (2) adopting
DSS's recommendations as findings of fact without adjudicating the
evidence. During the six month delay between the hearing and entry
of the order, respondent was not provided the necessary information
from which she could prepare for future proceedings. She had no
notice of the particular findings of fact or conclusions of law
upon which the trial court based its decision.
The order at bar contrasts with oral dispositions that are
essentially transcribed later into the written dispositional order.
See In re Bullabough, 89 N.C. App. 171, 179-80, 365 S.E.2d 642, 647
(1988) (this Court affirmed the appeal of a dispositional order
that contained certain findings and conclusions in the written
order which [the trial court] did not state in open court.
However, the terms of the disposition in the oral and written
statements were the same.). Further, [i]t is reversible error for the trial court
to enter a permanency planning order that
continues custody with DSS without making
proper findings as to the relevant statutory
criteria. This rule applies even if the
evidence and reports in this case might have
supported the determination of the trial
In re M.R.D.C., ___ N.C. App. ___, ___, 603 S.E.2d 890, 892 (2004)
(citation and quotations omitted).
In addition, respondent asserts similar effects resulting from
the delay in excess of six months that we recognized as prejudicial
in In re L.E.B. & K.T.B. Respondent was unable to visit the
children during the six month delay. The children were delayed in
receiving a permanent family environment. We further recognize
that prospective adoptive parents are prevented from moving forward
with adoption proceedings. The extensive delay prejudiced all
parties. See In re L.E.B. & K.T.B., ___ N.C. App. at ___, ___
S.E.2d at ___ ('While we have located no clear reasoning for [the
thirty day time limit], logic and common sense lead us to the
conclusion that the General Assembly's intent was to provide
parties with a speedy resolution of cases where juvenile custody is
at issue.' (quoting In re E.N.S., 164 N.C. App. at 153, 595
S.E.2d at 172)). The trial court's failure to satisfy the
statutory requirements under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-905(a) requires
a new hearing.
Respondent's appeal of the permanency planning order is
interlocutory as it relates to B.P. and R.T. and it is dismissed.
The trial court erred in entering a dispositional order thatchanged the permanency plan for S.P. from guardianship to adoption
without complying with the requirements under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-
905(a), making the required findings of fact and conclusions of
law, and by adopting DSS's recommendations without reflecting a
conscious choice between the contradicting versions. Moore
N.C. App. at 571-72, 587 S.E.2d at 75. The order is reversed as it
relates to S.P. and this matter is remanded for further
Dismissed in part; Reversed in part; and Remanded.
Judge MCGEE concurs.
Judge WYNN concurs in part, dissents in part.
WYNN, Judge concurring in part and dissenting in part.
In In re J.L.K., __ N.C. App. __, 598 S.E.2d 387 (2004), this
Court held: While the trial court's delay clearly violated the 30-
day provision of N.C. Gen. Stat. . 7B-1109(e), we find no authority
compelling that the TPR order be vacated as a result. Id. at __,
598 S.E.2d at 390. In this appeal, respondent argues in her brief
that a violation of the similar thirty-day provisions of N.C. Gen.
Stat. . 7B-905(a) constitutes prejudicial error per se and does
not require her to prove specific prejudice. Because N.C. Gen.
Stat. . 7B-905(a) like N.C. Gen. Stat. . 7B-1109(e), does not
compel that adjudication and dispositional orders be vacated, I
dissent from the majority opinion's holding to the contrary.
(See footnote 1)
First, contrary to Respondent's assertion, prejudice is
required to be shown and N.C. Gen. Stat. . . 7B-807(b) and 7B-
905(a) are not per se rules. In In re E.N.S., 164 N.C. App. 146,
595 S.E.2d 167 (2004), this Court held that the respondent must
show that she was prejudiced by the delay in order to grant a new
hearing. Id. at 153, 595 S.E.2d at 172 (trial court's failure to
file the adjudication and disposition orders, pursuant to section
7B-905(a) of the North Carolina General Statutes, within thirty
days amounted to harmless error and is not grounds for reversal
where respondent could not show prejudice).
Second, I disagree with Respondent's alternative contention
that even if she is required to show specific prejudice, she showed
prejudice in this case.
In In re J.L.K., __ N.C. App. __, 598 S.E.2d 387, this Court
held that an eighty-nine day delay by the trial court in filing a
written order, pursuant to section 7B-1109(e) of the North Carolina
General Statutes, clearly violated the thirty-day provision of
section 7B-1109(e) but there was no authority compelling that the
TPR order be vacated as a result. Id. at __, 598 S.E.2d at 390.
This Court further concluded that vacating the TPR order is not an
appropriate remedy for the trial court's failure to enter the order
within 30 days of the hearing. Id. at __, 598 S.E.2d at 391.
(See footnote 2)
Here, the written permanency planning review order was not
entered until six months following the hearing. However, this
delay was due to the fact that the Office of the Clerk of Court
could not find the original written order and the order had to be
resubmitted and signed by the judge. The trial judge absolutely
remember[ed] the lost order and the respondent did not dispute the
circumstances or object to entry of the 13 February 2003 order on
13 August 2003. When the clerk's office could not find the
original order, the trial judge re-filed the order outside of the
Nevertheless, the majority finds Respondent was prejudiced by
not being provided the necessary information to prepare for further
proceedings. But at the 13 August 2003 hearing where the trial
court signed the resubmitted order from the 13 February 2003
hearing, Respondent did not object to the untimeliness of the order
or the reason for the delay. Also, the order did not require
anything new of Respondent and the delay in entry did not affecther ability to appeal the order.
(See footnote 3)
In re E.N.S., 164 N.C. App. at
154, 595 S.E.2d at 172.
In my opinion, if there is prejudice in this matter, it would
be to the children, not the respondent. Indeed, in In re E.N.S.,
this Court stated:
[L]ogic and common sense lead us to the
conclusion that the General Assembly's intent
to provide parties with a speedy resolution of
cases where juvenile custody is at issue.
Therefore, holding that the adjudication and
disposition orders should be reversed simply
because they were untimely filed would only
aid in further delaying a determination
regarding E.S.' (sic) custody because juvenile
petitions would have to be re-filed and new
hearings conducted. Further, although the
order was not filed within the specified time
requirement, respondent cannot show how she
was prejudiced by the late filing.
164 N.C. App. at 153, 595 S.E.2d at 172 (emphasis added).
Similarly, in this case, to hold that the juvenile petitions
and new hearings must be conducted in this case only aids in
furthering the delay for determining the custody of this child.
(See footnote 4)
Indeed, the facts of this case show that this child and her two
siblings have been the subject of proceedings since 20 August 1998when juvenile summonses were issued to Respondent for abuse,
neglect, and dependency. Sadly, the record shows that the family
had a very extensive history with the Pitt County Department of
Social Services as three older children of Respondent had been
adjudicated neglected and dependent in 1990. The allegations
included sexual abuse of two of the female children by the mother's
boyfriend, chronic head lice, bruising of the children, roaches and
maggots in the kitchen sink, and other abuses that make it clear
why this Court most often defers to the judgment of our trial
judges in these cases as they see and hear the witnesses and are in
a better position than appellate judges to decide these cases.
Suffice it to say, the record in this case details gross abuses to
these children that inescapably point to the fact that this order
should not be vacated on the technical ground that it was not filed
within thirty days. This matter is not about a delay in filing
this order within thirty days; rather, it was best summarized by
the trial court in an unchallenged finding of fact:
46. That over the last five years since these
children have been in the custody of the
Department [of Social Services], the court has
tried everything possible to allow for contact
between the children and respondent parents,
however every attempt has failed.
These children continue to improve as they receive psychological,
psychiatric, medical, education, and remedial services. It is time
now to give them a permanent and stable environment. Five-and-a-
half years in the legal system is enough for these children.
Section 7B-905(a) (the provision in this case) like
section 7B-1109(e) (the provision in In re J.L.K.
) requires that
juvenile adjudication and disposition orders be reduced towriting, signed, and entered by the trial court no later than
thirty days following completion of the hearing. N.C. Gen. Stat.
§ 7B-905(a) (2004).
Notably, in our holding in In re L.E.B.,
__ N.C. App. __,
__ S.E.2d __ (5 April 2005) (No. 04COA463) (delay of over 180
days between the termination hearing and the entry of thetermination order amounted to error), this court did not create a
bright-line rule of vacating all orders if they are not filed
within the thirty-day time period. Following In re J.L.K.
Court in In re L.E.B.
, __ N.C. App. __, __ S.E.2d __ (5 April
2005) (No. 04COA463) recognized that to prevail on the technical
basis that an order was not timely filed under section 7B-1109(e)
like section 7B-905(a), the respondent must show prejudice.
In In Re J.L.K.,
__ N.C. App. at __, 598 S.E.2d at 389,
although the order was not
reduced to a written order, signed,
and entered [until] 19 November 2002,
this Court reviewed
respondent's appeal based on a Notice of Appeal filed on 4
September 2002 from the trial court's oral grant of the TPR
petition on 21 August 2002.
I agree with the majority's holding dismissing
Respondent's appeal as it relates to B.P. and R.T. as
interlocutory and overruling Respondent's assignment of error
relating to ineffective assistance of counsel. However, I
disagree with the majority's result as to S.P.
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