Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
Appeal from the 137th District Court Lubbock County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2015-516, 611, Honorable Kevin C. Hart,
QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.
T. Campbell Justice.
an appeal from the trial court's order terminating the
parental rights of S.S. and A.P. Sr. to their child,
Appointed appellate counsel for the parents has filed a brief
pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 744,
87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967). Finding no arguable
grounds for appeal, we affirm the trial court's
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services filed
pleadings alleging several grounds for termination of the
parents' parental rights to their only child A.P. The
child was removed from the hospital after A.P. tested
positive for methamphetamine at birth. The mother admitted to
drug use during pregnancy. A.P. was placed in the home of his
maternal grandparents but was later placed with a foster
parent after disagreements arose between the grandmother and
S.S. At the time of the final hearing, A.P. was living with
his foster mother who planned to adopt him.
final hearing was held after several months of work by the
Department and the parents toward completion of their service
plan. Both parents were represented by appointed counsel
during the proceedings. Neither parent appeared for the final
hearing but counsel for S.S. and A.P. Sr. informed the court
both parents had signed irrevocable affidavits of voluntary
relinquishment of their parental rights. See Tex.
Fam. Code Ann. § 161.103 (West 2015) (setting forth
requirements for affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of
parental rights). The documents bore the requisite signatures
and initials on each page and included language notifying the
parents of the irrevocable nature of the relinquishment. They
contained waivers of notice and service of process. The trial
court accepted the affidavits and heard additional evidence.
The trial court's termination order reflects its finding
that clear and convincing evidence shows S.S. and A.P. Sr.
"executed before or after the suit is filed an unrevoked
or irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights
as provided by Chapter 161, Texas Family Code, pursuant to
§ 161.001(b)(1)(K), Texas Family Code." The written
order further shows the trial court also determined by clear
and convincing evidence that termination of the parent-child
relationship between the parents and the child was in
A.P.'s best interest.
to Anders, S.S. and A.P. Sr.'s counsel has filed
a brief stating counsel has diligently reviewed the record
and the applicable law and has concluded that, in his
professional opinion, the record shows no arguably
meritorious issue on which to base an appeal. See In re
Schulman, 252 S.W.3d 403, 407 n.9 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008)
(orig. proceeding); Stafford v. State, 813 S.W.2d
503, 510 n.3 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991) (en banc); In re
A.W.T., 61 S.W.3d 87, 88 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 2001, no
pet.) (the procedures set forth in Anders v.
California are applicable to appeals of orders
terminating parental rights).
compliance with High v. State, 573 S.W.2d 807, 813
(Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1978), counsel has carefully
discussed why, under controlling authority, there are no
errors in the trial court's judgment. The record also
reflects counsel's performance of the educational burdens
imposed when an attorney informs the appellate court that the
appeal is frivolous. See Kelly v. State, 436 S.W.3d
313, 319-20 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) (setting forth burdens on
counsel); In re Schulman, 252 S.W.3d at 409 n.23. By
letter, we also informed the parents of their right to file a
pro se response to counsel's Anders
brief and motion. In re Schulman, 252 S.W.3d at 409.
The parents have not filed a response.
the Court receives a "frivolous appeal" brief, we
must conduct "a full examination of all the proceedings
to decide whether the case is wholly frivolous."
Penson v. Ohio, 488 U.S. 75, 80, 109 S.Ct. 346, 102
L.Ed.2d 300 (1988). We have reviewed the entire record and
counsel's brief, and have found nothing that would
arguably support an appeal. See Bledsoe v. State,
178 S.W.3d 824, 826-28 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005);
Stafford, 813 S.W.2d at 509.
Code section 161.001(b)(1)(K) permits a trial court to
terminate the parent-child relationship if it finds by clear
and convincing evidence that the parent has executed a valid,
unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of
parental rights. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(1)(K).
The trial court did so here as to each parent and, as noted,
the affidavits appear in the record.
affidavit of relinquishment alone can provide sufficient
evidence that termination is in a child's best interests.
In re C.E., No. 02-14-00054-CV, 2014 Tex.App. LEXIS
8694, at *8-9 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Aug. 7, 2014, no pet.)
(mem. op.). Here, in addition to the signed affidavit of each
parent, the court heard evidence of A.P.'s current
placement with his foster mother. The caseworker told the
court the foster mother planned to adopt A.P. and A.P. is
"very bonded" to her. And, the court heard the
caseworker's opinion that termination of the parents'
parental rights to A.P. was in A.P.'s best interest. The
Department's caseworker told the court that the parents
had been unable to maintain "stability or
sobriety." The record reflects also that S.S.'s
mother and stepfather intervened in the case at a point, but
nonsuited their intervention at the final hearing.
brief, counsel has given particular attention to the law
regarding revocation of relinquishments, and concludes the
record depicts no effort by the parents to revoke the
relinquishment each executed. After our review of the record,
we agree with counsel that the record reflects no basis on
which the parents can avoid the consequences of their
voluntary relinquishment of their parental rights to A.P. Nor
do we find any arguably meritorious contention that the
evidence was insufficient to support termination under
section 161.001(1)(K). In the Interest of Z.F., No.
07-14-00448-CV, 2015 Tex.App. LEXIS 3998, at *4 (Tex.
App.-Amarillo April 21, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op.) (citing
In re C.H.,89 S.W.3d 17, 28 (Tex. 2005) (applicable
standards in parental termination cases); In re
C.E., 2014 Tex.App. LEXIS 8694, at *12-15 (sufficiency
under § 161.001(b)(1)(K)). The same is true with respect
to the trial court's finding that termination was in the
best interests of ...