E.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2017WL4966896 (Fla. 4th DCA Nov. 1,
The Fourth DCA affirmed the order terminating mother’s parental rights finding the
record was replete with evidence to support the trial court’s order and that any
challenges to the admission of evidence were neither preserved for appellate review,
nor supported by the record.
The Court noted its task was not to conduct a de novo review or reweigh the evidence.
The trial court’s thorough, well-reasoned, 55-page final judgment was supported by the
record. The mother challenged the testimony of expert witnesses based on failure to
review certain records in reaching their opinions. Those challenges were not preserved
and, in any event, went to the weight of the evidence, not its admissibility. Similarly,
the mother’s claim that non-expert witnesses were allowed to give speculative expert
opinions was neither preserved nor supported by the record.
Practice Tips: To raise an evidentiary error on appeal, an objection must be made at
the trial when the alleged error occurred (contemporaneous objection rule). Failure to
do so bars appellate review in the absence of a fundamental error that puts into
question the validity of the trial itself.