I. Case Law Update

Each year, DFPS produces a case law update of select child protection cases. The 2016 update includes the following cases:

JURISDICTION

In re J.P. and J.E.B., No. 04-15-00145-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio July 29, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

PRE-TRIAL MATTERS

Due Process: Attendance at Trial In re D.W., No. 01-15-01045-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] May 17, 2016, no pet.)

Right to Counsel—No Opportunity for Trial Court to Admonish Parents E.T. and T.T. v. Tex. Dep’t of Family and Protective Servs., No. 03-15-00274-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Sept. 29, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Denial of Bench Warrant In re K.D., No. 11-14-00326-CV (Tex. App.—Eastland May 15, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Monitored Return: Oral Rendition Sufficient In re A.H.J., A.H., and A.H., No. 05-15-00501-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Oct. 8, 2015, pet. denied) (mem. p.)

TRIAL PRACTICE

Parents Entitled to Present Rebuttal Evidence In re S.F., No 11-15-00055-CV (Tex. App.—Eastland Sept. 10, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Non-Parent Does not Have Burden of Proof In re R.A., No. 10-14-00352-CV (Tex. App.—Waco June 11, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

EVIDENCE

Admissibility of Child Hearsay Statements In re E.M. and J.M., No. 10-14-00313-CV (Tex. App.—Waco May 28, 2015, pet. denied)

Res Judicata Inapplicable Where Suits Severed In re D.L.W., No. 07-15-00243-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Dec. 4, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Rule of Optional Completeness — Error in the Admission of the Entire Report In re C.C., M.C., L.O., and H.P., 476 S.W.3d 632 (Tex. App.—Amarillo2015, no pet.)

No Spousal Privilege Regarding Child Abuse or Neglect In re L.E.S., 471 S.W.3d 915 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2015, no pet.)

TERMINATION GROUNDS

TFC §§ 161.001(b)(1)(D) and (E) In re R.S. and A.S., No. 02-15-00137-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Oct. 1, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC §§ 161.001(b)(1)(E) i. Failure to Protect Non-Biological Child Before Birth of Subject Child Supports, In re J.S., No. 12-15-00053-CV (Tex. App.—Tyler Aug. 12, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Leaving Children with Caretaker Known to be Unsafe In re L.D.F., No. 04-15-00399-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Dec. 9, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Scienter not Required In re J.N.G., No. 14-15-00389-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Sept. 24, 2015, no pet.)(mem. op.)

Drugs in Child’s Body Demonstrates Actual Injury In re S.H., No. 07-15-00177-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Sept. 16, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Medical Neglect of Autistic Child In re K.S., No. 05-15-01294-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Apr. 21, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

Frequent Incarcerations and Knowledge of Drug Use In re J.B., No. 06-15-00040-CV (Tex. App.—Texarkana Jan. 22, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(F) In re Z.W.M., No. 07-15-00316-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Feb. 9, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(L) In re W.J.B. and In re A.L.F., D.P.F.-A., E.E.F., B.E.H., Jr., and R.F.B., Nos. 01-15-00802-CV, 01-15-00803-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Mar. 31, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(O) i. Excuses Insufficient In re A.M.M., No. 04-15-00638-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Apr. 6, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Date for Compliance In re B.S., No. 13-15-00281-CV (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Nov. 12, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Prior Removal for Abuse In re J.H., No. 09-15-00171-CV (Tex. App.—Beaumont Aug. 31, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Removal of the Children from Non-Parent In re A.L.W. and A.N.W., No. 01-14-00805-CV (Tex. App—Houston [1st Dist.] July 14, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC §§ 161.001(b)(1)(Q) i. Mere Conviction of Strict-Liability Offense Does Not Prove Scienter Element In re A.R., No. 06-15-00056-CV (Tex. App.—Texarkana Nov. 9, 2015, no pet.)

Scienter Established In re A.R., L.R. and R.Q. Jr., No. 09-15-00473-CV (Tex. App.—Beaumont April 14, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Inability to Provide Safe Environment In re S.R., No. 13-15-00114-CV (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi June 11, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Ability to Care During Imprisonment In re A.G. and A.G., No. 05-15-01298-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Mar. 1, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(R) In re L.G.R., No. 14-16-00047-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th] June 7, 2016, no pet. h)

BEST INTEREST AND RELINQUISHMENT OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

TFC §161.211(c) Bars Appellate Review of Best Interest Finding In re J.H. and J.H., 486 S.W. 3d 190 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2016, no pet.)

Affidavit of Relinquishment Is Sufficient Evidence of Best Interest In re A.L.H., 468 S.W.3d 738 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2015, no pet.)

Affidavit of Relinquishment Alone is Insufficient to Support Best Interest Finding In re K.D., 471 S.W.3d 147 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2015, no pet.)

MSA Supports the Best Interest Finding In re J.R.W. and J.L.W, No. 05-15-00493-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 27, 2015, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

MSA Insufficient Evidence of Best Interest In re K.D., 471 S.W.3d 147 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2015, no pet.)

BEST INTEREST – HOLLEY FACTORS

Children’s Desires to Stay with Mother Did Not Outweigh Other Evidence Supporting Determination In re A.R.M., No. 04-15-00314-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Nov. 4, 2015, no pet.) (mem.op.)

Child’s Fear of Father Relevant in Determining Her Desires In re A.K, 487 S.W. 3d 679 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2016, no pet.)

Emotional and Physical Needs and Danger—Failure to Complete Services In re K.N.M.M., No. 07-15-00080-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo July 13, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Programs Available—Completion of a Service Plan Does Not Guarantee Reunification J.R. v. Tex. Dep’t of Family and Protective Servs., No. 03-15-00108-CV (Tex. App.—Austin July 30, 2015, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

The Stability of the Home or Proposed Placement—The Same Home Does Not Equal A Stable Home In re K.D., 471 S.W.3d 147 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2015, no pet.)

ICWA

What Constitutes an “Indian Child” for Purposes of ICWA? In re T.R., No. 04-15-00639-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Apr. 4, 2016, no pet.)

ICWA Notice Requirement Triggered In re D.D., No. 12-15-00192-CV (Tex. App.—Tyler Feb. 29, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

25 U.S.C.A. § 1912(f) Requires Testimony of a Qualified Expert Witness In re V.L.R., No. 08-15-00250-CV (Tex. App.—El Paso Nov. 18, 2015, no pet.)

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Standard in an ICWA Case Limited to 25 U.S.C.A. § 1912(f) In re G.C., M.C., and H.C., No. 10-15-00128-CV (Tex. App.—Waco Aug. 13, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.)

JURY CHARGE

Broad Form Submission of Termination Question In re E.G., No. 14-14-00967-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Mar. 22, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

POST-TRIAL MATTERS

Oral Rendition is Sufficient to Start TFC §102.006(c) Timeline In re M.P., No. 02-14-00032-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Aug. 7, 2014, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Associate Judge’s Report and Order is a Final, Appealable Order In re E.K.C., 486 S.W. 3d 614 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2016, no pet.)

APPEALS

Appointment of Counsel Through Final Appeal In re P.M., 59 Tex. Sup. J. 582 (Tex. Apr. 1, 2016) (per curiam) (not yet released for publication)

You can link to the 2016 case law update here:

http://texaschildrenscommission.gov/media/71845/Case-Law-Update-2016-Final.pdf