Appeal by respondent from judgment entered 26 July 2005 by
Judge Marvin P. Pope in Buncombe County District Court. Heard in
the Court of Appeals 13 September 2006.
C. Reid Gonella for petitioner-appellee.
Hall & Hall Attorneys at Law, P.C., by Douglas L. Hall, for
Judy N. Rudolph for guardian ad litem-appellee.
Respondent appeals from a 26 July 2005 order adjudicating her
son to be a neglected child.
(See footnote 1)
Because we conclude that the trial
court's findings of fact are supported by clear, cogent, and
convincing evidence, we affirm the trial court's order.
Appellate Rules Violations
 As a preliminary matter, we observe that the statement of
facts in respondent's brief fails to comply with the Rules of
Appellate Procedure, which require that a brief contain "a non-
argumentative summary of all material facts underlying the matter
in controversy . . . ." N.C.R. App. P. 28(b)(5). Respondent's
statement of facts, just over a page long, contains almost entirely
naked argument and includes no citations at all to the record.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this Court has
admonished respondent's counsel for violations of our appellate
rules. See In re B.B., C.B. & N.B.
, 177 N.C. App. 462, 628 S.E.2d
867, (2006) (unpublished) (dismissing appeal for rule violations,
with Judge Steelman in concurrence stating that "[t]he bombast
which appellant labels as 'Statement of Facts' meets none of the
stated requirements for that portion of the brief" and suggesting
counsel "should be personally sanctioned"). We note thatrespondent's counsel would have further violated the appellate
rules had this Court not granted counsel's motion to amend the
record on appeal with respect to the assignments of error.
Because we do not believe that respondent should be prejudiced
by having had the Appellate Defender appoint counsel who has a
tendency to overlook the appellate rules, we choose to sanction
respondent's counsel. We believe that a sanction is particularly
warranted given the frivolous nature of some of the arguments
respondent's counsel chose to assert on appeal. Pursuant to Rules
25 and 34 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure, we direct the Clerk
of this Court to enter an order providing that counsel shall
personally pay the costs of this appeal.
Buncombe County Department of Social Services ("DSS") first
became involved with Tim's family in August 2003. At the time,
respondent was in a relationship that she admitted to DSS involved
domestic violence and excessive drinking. Although respondent
signed a safety agreement with DSS, in which she agreed not to
expose Tim to her boyfriend or other abusive individuals,
respondent violated the agreement by allowing Tim to have contact
with the boyfriend. Respondent finally terminated the relationship
after the boyfriend held her and Tim hostage until the police
Subsequently, respondent became involved with another
boyfriend named Travis. Travis, respondent, and Tim all lived
together in the home of respondent's mother. While living withrespondent's family, Travis accused the grandmother of being a
"nosy bitch" and changed the locks to his and respondent's part of
the house. Travis also restricted Tim's contact with the
grandmother. When Tim sneaked away to see his grandmother, Travis
Ultimately, the grandmother was forced to ask respondent and
Travis to move out of her home. While the family was moving, a
fight between respondent and her sister took place on the front
lawn in the presence of Tim. About the same time, the family
agreed with DSS that Tim would stay with the grandmother and that
Travis would not be allowed in Tim's presence. While DSS was
investigating reports that the agreement was being violated, Travis
and Tim were found riding in the same truck.
DSS also learned that, although respondent denied
"inappropriate discipline" of the child, respondent would spank Tim
with a paint stirrer. Travis admitted that he would spank Tim when
the child wet the bed. DSS further learned that Travis directed
violent behavior towards animals, "including kicking ducks,
throwing cats, and beating dogs."
On 4 February 2005, DSS responded to a report that Travis had
physically abused respondent and Tim. When Tim answered the door,
respondent yelled for him to get back to his bedroom. Respondent
"did not deny the allegations contained in the report" of physical
abuse. DSS requested permission to examine Tim for physical
injuries, but respondent refused access to the house and the child. On the same day, DSS filed a petition alleging neglect and
obtained non-secure custody of Tim. Upon examining Tim for
injuries, social workers noticed a bruise on the side of his face
and linear bruises to each side of his waist area. While in foster
care and during his psychological evaluations, Tim displayed
aggressive, violent, and volatile behavior suggestive of past
exposure to traumatic events.
The adjudicatory and dispositional hearing commenced on 31
March 2005, but the district court continued the hearing in order
to allow time for respondent, Tim, and Travis to undergo
psychological evaluations. The hearing resumed on 29 June 2005,
and the court entered an order adjudicating Tim to be a neglected
child on 26 July 2005.
The role of this Court in reviewing an initial adjudication of
neglect is to determine "(1) whether the findings of fact are
supported by clear and convincing evidence, and (2) whether the
legal conclusions are supported by the findings of fact." In re
, 141 N.C. App. 475, 480, 539 S.E.2d 362, 365 (2000)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "In a non-jury
neglect adjudication, the trial court's findings of fact supported
by clear and convincing competent evidence are deemed conclusive,
even where some evidence supports contrary findings." In re Helms
127 N.C. App. 505, 511, 491 S.E.2d 672, 676 (1997).
 We note at the outset that respondent's appeal suffers
from a fatal defect: she has not challenged on appeal the court'sconclusions of law. Respondent originally assigned error to the
court's third conclusion of law that "[Tim] is a neglected child .
. . in that the minor child lived in an environment injurious to
his welfare due to repeated exposure to severe ongoing domestic
violence between the respondent mother and her male partners." In
her brief, however, respondent chose to expressly withdraw this
assignment of error. Other than this withdrawn assignment of
error, respondent did not assign error to any other conclusion of
Respondent's omission eviscerates respondent's appeal since an
"appellant must assign error to each conclusion it believes is not
supported by the evidence. Failure to do so constitutes an
acceptance of the conclusion and a waiver of the right to challenge
said conclusion as unsupported by the facts." Fran's Pecans, Inc.
, 134 N.C. App. 110, 112, 516 S.E.2d 647, 649 (1999)
(internal citation omitted). Having withdrawn her assignment of
error as to the third conclusion of law, respondent effectively
accepted the trial court's conclusions in toto
her various challenges to the trial court's factual findings,
failure to challenge any conclusion of law precludes this Court
from overturning the trial court's judgment. Id.
affirming trial court's ruling on issue that was subject of
unchallenged conclusion of law); see also In re J.A.A.
, 175 N.C.
App. 66, 74, 623 S.E.2d 45, 50 (2005) (applying Fran's Pecans
termination of parental rights appeal). Nonetheless, even ignoring
this fatal defect, our review of respondent's arguments on appealreveals that they do not support reversal of the trial court's
 Respondent contends that the trial court was without
authority or jurisdiction to hear the case because the adjudication
hearing was not held within 60 days from the filing of DSS'
petition as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-801(c) (2005). We
note that respondent's suggestion that violations of statutory time
limitations deprives a trial court of subject matter jurisdiction
is contrary to the well-established law. As this Court stated in
In re C.L.C.
, 171 N.C. App. 438, 443, 615 S.E.2d 704, 707 (2005),
aff'd per curiam in part and disc. review improvidently allowed in
, 360 N.C. 475, 628 S.E.2d 760 (2006), "time limitations in the
Juvenile Code are not jurisdictional in cases such as this one and
do not require reversal of orders in the absence of a showing by
the appellant of prejudice resulting from the time delay." See
also In re S.W.
, 175 N.C. App. 719, 722, 625 S.E.2d 594, 596
(holding that respondent must show prejudice as a result of an
untimely termination of parental rights hearing), disc. review
, 360 N.C. 534, 635 S.E.2d 59 (2006). Respondent has made no
serious attempt to establish prejudice.
In any event, the record reveals no violation of § 7B-801(c).
The petition in this case was filed on 7 February 2005, and the
adjudication hearing was commenced on 31 March 2005 _ within the
60-day requirement. On 5 April 2005, the court decided to continue
the proceedings in order to allow for psychological evaluations ofrespondent, Tim, and Travis. Respondent argues that this
continuance made the hearing untimely.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-803 (2005), however, specifically allows
a court, for good cause, to continue a hearing for receipt of
additional evidence, reports, or assessments. Once the trial court
determined that additional input from psychological experts was
necessary to resolve the issue of neglect, it was entitled to
continue the hearing so that such information could be obtained.
Respondent, notably, did not object to the continuance, but rather
agreed to cooperate and participate with respect to the further
Respondent nonetheless argues on appeal that N.C. Gen. Stat.
§ 7B-801(c) grants only the chief district court judge authority to
order a continuance. We cannot agree with this interpretation of
the statute. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-801(c) provides:
The adjudicatory hearing shall be held in the
district at such time and place as the chief
district court judge shall designate, but no
later than 60 days from the filing of the
petition unless the judge pursuant to G.S. 7B-
803 orders that it be held at a later time.
We hold that nothing in this statute precludes the trial judge
assigned to decide a petition to grant a continuance under § 7B-
803. As § 7B-803 recognizes, the judge presiding over a hearing
must be able to exercise his or her discretion to continue a
hearing if circumstances warrant it. See
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-803
may, for good cause, continue the hearing for as long
as is reasonably required" (emphasis added)). The General Assembly
could not have intended to tie a trial judge's hands by limitingthe power to grant continuances to a single chief district court
judge not necessarily familiar with the facts of a case.
Respondent makes no argument that the court's decision to
order a continuance beyond the 60-day mark lacked "good cause."
We, therefore, hold that the proceedings in this case complied with
the statutory time limitations of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-801(c).
 Respondent challenges a number of the trial court's
findings of fact as not being supported by competent evidence. She
first contends that the trial court's findings improperly rely upon
testimony of the grandmother, which _ according to respondent _ she
ultimately "recanted." Respondent failed, however, to assign error
to specific findings of fact that detail various incidents of
violence. Those findings as to the domestic violence are,
therefore, binding on appeal and form a basis for the trial court's
conclusions of law. Koufman v. Koufman
, 330 N.C. 93, 97, 408
S.E.2d 729, 731 (1991).
In any event, we conclude that the trial court was entitled to
rely upon the grandmother's testimony. It is true that the
grandmother, when she was recalled as a witness by respondent,
attempted to cast doubt on her earlier testimony regarding Tim's
exposure to domestic violence by suggesting that she had troubles
with her memory. Nevertheless, her subsequent statements were far
from a recantation. When asked by respondent's attorney if she had
ever witnessed domestic violence between respondent and Travis, she
replied, "I've seen Travis bring her in one time to the living roomby her feet. I forget parts. I had a memory loss later on . . .
." Responding to questions from the DSS attorney, the grandmother
again remembered that Travis had "whipped" Tim: "I just heard
Travis say, 'You peed in the floor,' and he whipped him." The
grandmother even commented that Travis' use of force against
respondent was only his effort to try to "keep [respondent] from
hitting him." Thus, the grandmother in fact corroborated her own
earlier testimony. Regardless, the trial court was entitled to
decide whether to credit the grandmother's initial testimony or a
subsequent purported recantation.
With respect to respondent's remaining challenges to the
court's factual findings, we agree that some of them are not
supported by evidence in the record. When, however, ample other
findings of fact support an adjudication of neglect, erroneous
findings unnecessary to the determination do not constitute
reversible error. See In re Beck
, 109 N.C. App. 539, 548, 428
S.E.2d 232, 238 (1993) (where no evidence supported a particular
finding, inclusion of this finding in the order was immaterial and
not prejudicial because even "[i]f the erroneous finding [was]
deleted, there remain[ed] an abundance of clear, cogent, and
convincing evidence to support a finding of neglect").
Here, the erroneous findings are in no way necessary to the
court's conclusion that Tim's exposure to domestic violence
rendered him a neglected juvenile. The order at issue contains
numerous unchallenged findings of fact establishing Tim's exposure
to an environment of violence, including respondent's prior abusiverelationship with the first boyfriend, respondent's inability to
abide by the safety agreements designed to insulate her child from
domestic abuse, physical abuse by Travis and respondent, DSS'
observations of bruising on Tim, and Tim's own displays of
aggressive, volatile behavior since in DSS custody. These findings
of fact fully support the court's conclusion that Tim was neglected
on account of his exposure to severe domestic violence. See In re
, 178 N.C. App. 322, 328, 631 S.E.2d 150, 155 (2006) (upholding
adjudication of neglect where "[r]espondent mother's struggles with
parenting skills, domestic violence, and anger management, as well
as her unstable housing situation, have the potential to
significantly impact her ability to provide 'proper care,
supervision, or discipline'" for child (quoting N.C. Gen. Stat. §
7B-101(15) (2005))); Helms
, 127 N.C. App. at 512, 491 S.E.2d at 676
(upholding adjudication of neglect where, in part, respondent
mother "placed [child] at substantial risk through repeated
exposure to violent individuals").
 Respondent's assignments of error as to Findings of Fact
24 through 28 must be specifically addressed. Respondent
challenges each of these findings, which are based on the testimony
of Dr. Shepherd-LeBreque, because "this physician did not testify."
The trial transcript shows, however, that the physician did
Respondent's contrary argument seems based on the first
version of transcript volume one that was delivered on 26 October2005. This version did not contain the testimony of Dr. Shepherd-
LeBreque. On 3 January 2006, however, an updated version was sent
to counsel for all parties, including respondent's counsel, and
this version contained the doctor's testimony. In fact, the copy
of the updated transcript on file with this Court bears a stamp
marked "Received" by respondent's counsel dated 5 January 2006. It
is, therefore, bewildering that respondent's brief would assert
that the doctor "did not testify." Further, once DSS and the
guardian ad litem pointed out respondent's error, respondent should
have withdrawn this argument, but chose not to do so. The trial
court's factual findings are thus sufficiently supported by
evidence in the record, and respondent's argument is frivolous.
 Respondent next asserts that the admission of out-of-court
statements of Tim constitutes a violation of respondent's rights
under the Confrontation Clause of the U.S. Constitution and North
Carolina Constitution. Prior to the filing of respondent's brief
in this appeal, this Court had already held that the protections of
the Confrontation Clause do not apply in civil cases of this
nature. In re B.D.
, 174 N.C. App. 234, 243, 620 S.E.2d 913, 919
(2005), disc. review denied
, 360 N.C. 289, 628 S.E.2d 245 (2006);
In re D.R.
, 172 N.C. App. 300, 303-04, 616 S.E.2d 300, 303-04
(2005). Respondent's constitutional argument, therefore, has no
Respondent argues alternatively that Tim's statements
constituted inadmissible hearsay. Assuming without deciding thatthe statements attributed to Tim were inadmissible hearsay,
respondent falls far short of demonstrating the kind of prejudice
necessary for this Court to reverse the trial court's order. See
In re M.G.T.-B.
, 177 N.C. App. 771, 775, 629 S.E.2d 916, 919 (2006)
("even when the trial court commits error in allowing the admission
of hearsay statements, one must show that such error was
prejudicial in order to warrant reversal"). Respondent makes a
single cursory, unsubstantiated claim that the admission of the
hearsay statements "constitute[d] prejudicial error."
In the absence of a particularized showing of prejudice, any
error cannot justify reversal. Indeed, even disregarding the
challenged hearsay statements, the court's findings and conclusions
are amply supported by other evidence. See In re McMillon
N.C. App. 402, 411, 546 S.E.2d 169, 175 ("Where there is competent
evidence to support the court's findings, the admission of
incompetent evidence is not prejudicial."), disc. review denied
354 N.C. 218, 554 S.E.2d 341 (2001).
 Respondent also stages a generalized attack against the
entirety of the court's order. Quoting the trial judge's oral
adjudication of neglect, respondent claims in her brief that "[t]he
Court made no findings of fact whatsoever in support of this
decision." This argument ignores the court's entry of a written
order containing 37 findings of fact as to the neglect adjudication
alone. The trial judge was not required to make detailed findings
of fact in open court. See
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-807(b) (2005) (an"adjudicatory order shall be in writing and shall contain
appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law"); In re
, 89 N.C. App. 171, 179, 365 S.E.2d 642, 646 (1988)
(trial judge not required "to announce in open court his findings
Respondent dismisses the written order on the ground that it
"was likely drafted by the Petitioner's attorney and does not
constitute findings of fact by the trial judge." This Court has
previously rejected this argument. See In re J.B.
, 172 N.C. App.
1, 26, 616 S.E.2d 264, 279 (2005) (finding no error when trial
court directed that petitioner draft the order).
Respondent's next attack on the order is equally meritless.
She claims that the trial court's findings are mere "recitations of
testimony given or documents received into evidence."
Significantly, respondent does not identify a single specific
finding in the record to support her argument. In fact, a review
of the order reveals that the trial court made ample ultimate
findings of fact and did not merely include "recitations" of the
 With respect to the dispositional order, respondent has
not challenged the court's conclusions of law or any aspect of the
decretal portion of the order. Instead, respondent argues that the
trial court erred in referring to respondent's psychological
evaluation and in concluding that a DSS witness, Dr. Cynthia Brown,
an admitted expert in pediatrics and child sexual abuse, includingchild medical evaluations, was also an expert in the field of
making recommendations for counseling of abused children. We
disagree with both contentions.
As for the psychological evaluation, DSS concedes this
evaluation was excluded during the adjudication hearing, but argues
that this does not preclude consideration of the report at the
disposition hearing. A "dispositional hearing may be informal and
the court may consider written reports or other evidence concerning
the needs of the juvenile." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-901 (2005).
Further, "[t]he court may consider any evidence . . . that the
court finds to be relevant, reliable, and necessary to determine
the needs of the juvenile and the most appropriate disposition."
Interpreting this statute, this Court in In re M.J.G.
N.C. App. 638, 648, 608 S.E.2d 813, 819 (2005), approved a
disposition order where the trial court considered reports that had
not been formally moved into evidence. Accordingly, we hold that
the trial court did not err by considering the psychological
evaluation of Tim's mother in reaching its decision on disposition.
With respect to Dr. Brown, the court made an oral finding
during the adjudicatory phase that as an expert "in pediatrics and
child sexual abuse matters, including child medical evaluations of
children suspected of child sexual abuse, neglect, physical or
mental abuse . . .," Dr. Cynthia Brown was also "an expert in the
field of making recommendations for counseling of suspected abused
children." We note that respondent has failed to set forth the
standard of review on this issue as required by N.C.R. App. P.28(b). Significantly, it is well established that "[w]here a judge
finds a witness qualified as an expert, that finding will not be
reversed unless there was no competent evidence to support the
finding or unless the judge abused his discretion." State v.
, 312 N.C. 669, 679, 325 S.E.2d 181, 188 (1985).
In voir dire, Dr. Brown never asserted that she was qualified
to conduct psychological evaluations or counseling, but she did
testify that in the course of her professional duties she
frequently recommends counseling to her patients. Accordingly, the
court was well within its discretion to accept Dr. Brown as an
expert with respect to counseling recommendations.
Further, respondent has not suggested that counseling was
inappropriate or pointed to any testimony of Dr. Brown that she
contends was outside Dr. Brown's area of expertise. At most,
respondent raises an academic issue. On the whole, we find
respondent's objection with respect to Dr. Brown to be frivolous.
A pediatric doctor, who specializes in abuse cases, is certainly
qualified to recommend counseling to her allegedly abused patients.
Cf. In re Thompson
, 64 N.C. App. 95, 101, 306 S.E.2d 792, 795
(1983) (noting that a conclusion of neglect was supported where a
pediatrician's recommendations that child be "evaluated" and
receive counseling were not followed by respondent mother). This
assignment of error is, therefore, overruled.
Judges CALABRIA and JACKSON concur.