Weekly Case Summaries: July 9, 2010

Texas Supreme Court

In the Interest of B.G., C.W., E.W., B.B.W. and J.W.

07/02/10 : Cite No. 07-0960

Issue:

Is Due Process offended in a parental termination case when a trial court determines an appeal is frivolous and an appellate record unnecessary simply because the statement of points was late filed?

Holding:

Yes. A complete record must be prepared and the court of appeals must address the issues raised as if the statement of points had been timely filed. Read this Opinion.

Commentary:

Tough rules for quickly resolving cases involving the termination of parental rights were enacted to minimize the trauma to a child caused by lengthy foster care and never-ending legal proceedings. This case provides another loophole from those rules by permitting a parent to argue that missing a deadline shouldn't prevent an appeal. Note: the parent in this case is an inmate of the Texas prison system who fired his lawyer and proceeded to be his own fool, er, lawyer at the trial. One must wonder just what would be available for appeal.

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