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State v. Oakes

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

April 21, 2015

THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA and FORSYTH COUNTY by and through its CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT UNIT, on behalf of CHERRI L. JORDAN, Plaintiff,
v.
BRYANT OAKES, SR., Defendant

Heard in the Court of Appeals January 21, 2015

Forsyth County, No. 02 CVD 6163.

DISMISSED.

Forsyth County Attorney Office, by Assistant County Attorney Twanda M. Staley, for plaintiff-appellee.

Mary McCullers Reece for defendant-appellant.

Judges STEELMAN and INMAN concur.

OPINION

Page 833

DIETZ, Judge.

Defendant Bryant Oakes appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss an order to show cause. Oakes contends that the trial court entered the show cause order, which stems from unpaid child support, without first receiving an appropriate motion from Forsyth County. Oakes concedes that his appeal is interlocutory because there is more to be done in the trial court. But he contends that the trial court's order, which could expose him to civil contempt and possible incarceration, affects a substantial right and thus is immediately appealable.

Importantly, Oakes concedes on appeal (and Forsyth County agrees) that circumstances have changed, the show cause order was dismissed, and Oakes no longer faces any threat of contempt or incarceration. This Court cannot exercise appellate jurisdiction under the substantial rights doctrine if, at the time the Court hears the case, the parties concede that the challenged order no longer affects a substantial right. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction.

Facts and Procedural History

On 25 September 2002, the Forsyth County Child Support Enforcement Unit filed a civil summons and complaint against Defendant Bryant Oakes to establish paternity and child support for two minor children. Oakes admitted paternity of the minor children, and on 14 November 2002, the trial court entered an order directing Oakes to pay $410 a month in child support and $25 a month in arrearages.

On 29 August 2011, the County filed a motion for order to show cause alleging that Oakes failed to make a child support payment since 25 May 2010. That same day, the trial court issued an order to appear and show cause. The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office was unable to serve Oakes with notice of the hearing, and on 22 December 2011, the trial court dismissed the show cause order.

The trial court entered another order to show cause on 7 November 2012, ordering Oakes to appear in court and show why he should not be found in civil contempt. Oakes failed to appear at the hearing held 16 January 2013, and the court issued an order for arrest. The court set Oakes's purge ...


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