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Robins Kaplan LLP Secures Voluntary Termination in Nationally-Watched Parental Rights Case

Minneapolis, MN—June 28, 2017—In a pro bono case that has drawn national attention, a Robins Kaplan LLP® team has secured the voluntary termination of parental rights of a Minneapolis man who pled guilty to dismembering and disposing of the remains of a young girl’s mother. The voluntary termination of his parental rights will pave the way for an adoption in the best interests of the young child.

Joshua Lewis Duane Dow was arrested in 2015 after the child’s mother, Adelle Jensen, went missing under mysterious circumstances. While asserting that he did not kill Jensen, Dow later pled guilty to interfering with a dead body. He is serving concurrent time for that conviction, along with a 98-month sentence for a drug-related offense. The victim’s body parts were never recovered, and the underlying murder investigation remains open.

After his guilty plea, Robins Kaplan filed a petition to terminate Dow’s parental rights on behalf of Adelle’s parents, David and Cinda Jensen. From behind bars, Dow filed a competing petition to have his parental rights to the child recognized. The Robins Kaplan legal team, led by veteran trial attorney Pete Surdo, went to trial earlier this week to establish that Mr. Dow was palpably unfit to continue his parental relationship with the child.

In the midst of trial—and during Mr. Dow’s cross-examination by Robins Kaplan attorneys—Mr. Dow agreed to voluntarily terminate his parental rights. This will allow David and Cinda Jensen to complete the formal adoption of their granddaughter.

“This is a phenomenal outcome for the Jensens and their granddaughter,” said Surdo. “It puts an end to one chapter in this heartbreaking matter, and will help with the healing process for everyone who loves this little child so much. It was always the Jensen’s mission—and ours—to look out for the child’s best interests, which is what today’s result achieves.”

In addition to Surdo, the Robins Kaplan team included associates Emily Cowing, Geoffrey Kozen, Sahr Brima, and Elizabeth Fors.

The case, In the Matter of the Child of:  Joshua Lewis Duane Dow, Court File No. 27-JV-16-3499, was heard before the Minnesota District Court, 4th District Juvenile Division.
Robins Kaplan has a deep commitment to pro bono matters. The firm recently placed among the top five firms in the nation for pro bono work, according to the latest rankings by The American Lawyer.