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In re M.M.W.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana

December 1, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF M.M.W. AND N.N.G., CHILDREN

          Submitted: November 27, 2017

         On Appeal from the County Court at Law Lamar County, Texas Trial Court No. 85116.

          Before Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.

          OPINION

          Ralph K. Burgess Justice

         The Department of Family and Protective Services (the Department) filed a petition to terminate Mother's parental rights to her children, Mandy and Nelly, [1] on the grounds that she had: (1) knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the children to remain in conditions or surroundings which endangered their physical or emotional well-being; (2) engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the children with persons who engaged in conduct which endangered their physical or emotional well-being; (3) failed to comply with the provisions of a court order that specifically established the actions necessary for her to obtain the return of the children who had been in the permanent or temporary managing conservatorship of the Department for not less than nine months as a result of their removal for abuse or neglect; and (4) used a controlled substance in a manner that endangered the health or safety of the children and either (i) failed to complete a court-ordered substance-abuse treatment program or (ii) continued to abuse a controlled substance after completion of a court-ordered substance-abuse treatment program. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(1)(D), (E), (O), (P) (West Supp. 2017).

         After trial before a Lamar County jury, Mother's parental rights to Mandy and Nelly were terminated. Mother does not challenge the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence.[2] Instead, in her sole issue on appeal, Mother argues that the trial court should have excluded testimony from both the Department's caseworker and the Court Appointed Special Advocate that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the best interests of the children. Specifically, Mother points out that the Department failed to qualify the witnesses as expert witnesses. Accordingly, she argues that the trial court should have excluded the lay witness testimony because it was opinion testimony that was not helpful to the jury in determining a fact in issue.

         The State argues that Mother's sole issue on appeal was not preserved. We agree. In order to preserve error on this point,

the record must show that:
(1) the complaint was made to the trial court by a timely request, objection, or motion that:
(A) stated the grounds for the ruling that the complaining party sought from the trial court with sufficient specificity to make the trial court aware of the complaint, unless the specific grounds were apparent from the context.

Tex. R. App. P. 33.1(a)(1)(A).

         Here, when the Department asked each witness whether they believed that Mother's parental rights should be terminated, Mother objected on the ground that the question "[c]all[ed] for a conclusion."[3] No further explanation was provided.[4] After this objection was overruled, both witnesses answered in the affirmative.

         We find that Mother's objection that the Department's question called for a conclusion was not specific enough to inform the trial court that she was objecting under Rule 701 of the Texas Rules of Evidence. "An objection at trial that does not comport with a point of error on appeal preserves nothing for review." Anderson v. Snoddy, No. 06-14-00096-CV, 2015 WL 5634564, at *11 (Tex. App.-Texarkana Sept. ...


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