Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
IN THE INTEREST OF B. L. D.-O., MINOR CHILD
appeal from the 25th District Court of Lavaca County, Texas.
Justices Contreras, Benavides, and Longoria
appeal, appellant B.D. challenges the termination of his
parental rights to B.L.D.-O., a minor child. By a single
issue, appellant argues that the evidence was legally and
factually insufficient to support findings under parts (D),
(E), and (O) of subsection 161.001(b)(1) of the Texas Family
Code. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
161.001(b)(1)(D), (E), (O) (West, Westlaw through 2015 R.S.).
was born on December 9, 2014 to his mother, K.M.O. On May 1,
2015, the Department of Family Protective Services (the
Department) filed a petition alleging that B.D. is the
child's father and seeking to terminate the parental
rights of both parents under various provisions of family
code subsection 161.001(b)(1). See id. §
161.001(b)(1)(C)-(E), (K), (N)-(P).
bench trial on November 7, 2016, Kendra Leazer testified that
she has been the Department caseworker assigned to this
matter since October 2015. Leazer stated that she has not had
any contact with B.D. since she became involved with the case
because "[h]e's been incarcerated." According
to Leazer, a family service plan was prepared for B.D. which
required him to, among other things, complete a parenting
course, a drug and alcohol assessment, individual counseling,
a psychological evaluation, and a batterer's intervention
program. The service plan further required B.D. to refrain
from criminal conduct, to participate in visitation with
B.L.D.-O., to provide a safe and stable home environment, and
to undergo random drug screenings. Leazer testified that B.D.
reviewed and signed the service plan. However, according to
Leazer, B.D. did not complete any of the requested services
"other than minimal drug testing when he was not
incarcerated" which was administered by a prior
service plan, containing B.D.'s signature and dated
August 6, 2015, was entered into evidence. The record also
contains temporary orders, dated June 19, 2015 and also
signed by B.D., containing many of the same requirements and
also generally requiring compliance with the service plan.
additionally testified that, in February 2015, B.D. told a
Department investigator that "he had recently been in
rehab for abusing methamphetamines." The child was
brought into the Department's care at that time and
"[s]ervices were put into place to try to mitigate the
concerns for the safety and well being of the child." On
August 31, 2015, B.D. admitted to the prior caseworker that
he had used methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana, and that
"he had never been sober longer than six months, except
while he was in jail."
stated that, in September 2015, B.D. "went on a crime
spree where he evaded arrest and detention, broke into a
habitation, [and] had an unauthorized use of a vehicle."
According to Leazer, B.D. admitted to the prior caseworker
that he "had taken seven Xanax" during the
"crime spree." Leazer identified copies of three
judgments dated December 8, 2015, showing that B.D. had been
convicted of four different felony offenses: unauthorized use
of a motor vehicle, theft of property, and theft of a
firearm, each a state-jail felony; and burglary of a
habitation, a second-degree felony. See Tex. Penal
Code Ann. §§ 30.02, 31.03, 31.07 (West, Westlaw
through 2015 R.S.). The judgments, which were entered into
evidence, showed that the state-jail felony offenses were
committed on September 1, 2015, and the burglary was
committed on September 2, 2015.
testified that she visited B.L.D.-O. in August of 2016, that
he is "well-bonded" with his caregivers, who are
K.M.O.'s aunt and uncle, and that it is in the
child's best interests to be adopted by them. Leazer
stated that B.D. is not a part of the child's life and
has not visited with the child during the time the case has
to Leazer, B.D. could have completed "a large
majority" of the tasks required of him by the service
plan either during the time that he was not incarcerated, or
during his incarceration with services provided at "most
Texas correctional facilities."
testified that he completed a parenting class and drug
rehabilitation program and passed "multiple" random
drug tests while he was incarcerated. He stated that he
completed his GED in September of 2016 and he completed the
Substance Abuse Felony Program (SAFP) in October of 2016. He
testified that, while he was incarcerated, he completed all
of the services that were required by the service plan and
which were available to him. He stated that he was going to a
halfway house the day after the trial. B.D. stated that he
had never met Leazer and has not provided her or his attorney
with certificates showing the completion of any programs
required by the service plan.
asked by his attorney why termination of his parental rights
was not in the child's best ...