Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
IN THE INTEREST OF A.E. AND G.R., CHILDREN
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
T. WORTHEN CHIEF JUSTICE.
R.R., acting pro se, filed this petition for writ of
mandamus, contending that the trial court erred by failing to
take appropriate action after the Relator filed a motion to
disqualify and by failing to sign an order after the
adversary hearing. Relator also argues that the trial court
misapplied or violated various laws and constitutional
protections. We deny the petition.
and M.E. are the parents of G.R. On January 9,
2017, the Department of Family and Protective Services (the
Department) filed an original petition for protection of A.
and G.R., for conservatorship, and for termination of
R.R.'s and M.E.'s parental rights. After the
adversary hearing, the trial court appointed the Department
as temporary managing conservator of the child. Both parents
were appointed possessory conservators and granted supervised
visitation. On March 3, 2017, R.R. filed an objection to the
phase plan and a motion to dismiss the Department's suit,
alleging that his caseworker told him that he was required to
attend Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDa) meetings. He stated
that the trial court and the Department were "flagrantly
violating state and federal law" by requiring that he
attend CoDa because it is a twelve step program based on a
religious concept of a "Higher Power." Six days
later, R.R. filed an objection to the Department's phase
plan requiring him to attend counseling, psychological
evaluation, and anger management. There is no record of the
trial court's ruling on these objections.
March 20, R.R. filed a counterclaim and third party joinder,
requesting that Respondent, among others, be joined to the
suit and requesting declaratory relief, injunctive relief,
and monetary damages. The Department filed a motion to
dismiss. On May 2, 2017, two days before the hearing on
R.R.'s counterclaim and third party joinder, he filed an
objection to the pauper's oath hearing and a motion to
disqualify Respondent. R.R.'s counterclaim and motion
were set for hearing, but he did not appear. Respondent
dismissed R.R.'s counterclaim and third party joinder,
and dismissed R.R.'s motion to disqualify for want of
prosecution. Later, however, Respondent declined to recuse
herself and requested the Presiding Judge of the First
Administrative Judicial Region to assign a judge to hear
R.R.'s motion to recuse. That presiding judge assigned a
judge to hear the motion to recuse and to hear any matters
relating to the motion to dismiss third party joinder of
Respondent. This original proceeding followed.
relief is available when, under the circumstances of the
case, the facts and law permit the trial court to make but
one decision-and the trial court has refused to make that
decision-and remedy by appeal to correct the ruling is
inadequate. Proffer v. Yates, 734 S.W.2d 671, 673
(Tex. 1987). Mandamus is allowed under the Texas Family Code
under these circumstances. See In re Knotts, 62
S.W.3d 922, 923 n.1 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2001, orig.
entitled to mandamus relief, R.R. must establish a trial
court clearly abused its discretion and he lacks an adequate
remedy by appeal. In re Green, 385 S.W.3d 665, 668
(Tex. App.-San Antonio 2012, orig. proceeding) (citing In
re Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 148 S.W.3d 124, 135-36
(Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding)). An abuse of discretion with
respect to factual matters occurs if the record establishes
the trial court could reasonably have reached only one
decision. Id. at 668-69 (citing Walker v.
Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 840 (Tex. 1992) (orig.
first issue, R.R. argues that after he filed a motion to
disqualify the Respondent, the Respondent's only options
were to sign an order of recusal or refer the motion to the
regional presiding judge. He complains that Respondent failed
to do so.
must recuse in any proceeding in which the judge or the
judge's spouse, or a person within the third degree of
relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a
person is a party to the proceeding or an officer, director,
or trustee of a party; is known by the judge to have an
interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome
of the proceeding; or is to the judge's knowledge likely
to be a material witness in the proceeding. See Tex.
R. Civ. P. 18b(b)(7). An order denying a motion to recuse may
be reviewed only for abuse of discretion on appeal from the