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In re I.C.C.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

January 4, 2018

In the Interest of I.C.C., D.C., D.R., R.R., A.R., E.R., J.R., and M.R., Children

         On appeal from the 36th District Court of San Patricio County, Texas.

          Before Justices Rodriguez, Longoria, and Hinojosa.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NORA L. LONGORIA JUSTICE.

         Appellant A.R.[1] appeals the termination of her parental rights. See Tex. Fam. Code § 161.001 (West, Westlaw through 2017 1st C.S.). We affirm.

         I. Background

         On January 26, 2016, The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (Department) received a report that a four-month old child was unresponsive and not breathing, the child was later pronounced dead. The child was in the care of the father, R.M.R.

         In July of 2017, a trial was held to determine whether the parental rights of A.R. should be terminated. See id. The State alleged A.R. engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the children with persons who engaged in conduct which endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the children and that termination of parental rights was in the best interests of the children.

         A bench trial was held over the course of two days. After hearing all of the testimony and reviewing all of the evidence, the trial court found that the parental rights of appellant should be terminated. A subsequent order to that effect was rendered.

         This appeal followed. Appellant's court-appointed counsel has filed an Anders brief accompanied by a motion to withdraw. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 744 (1967).

         II. Anders Brief

         Pursuant to Anders v. California, A.R.'s court-appointed appellate counsel has filed a brief and a motion to withdraw with this Court, stating that his review of the record yielded no grounds of error upon which an appeal can be predicated. See id. Counsel's brief meets the requirements of Anders as it presents a professional evaluation demonstrating why there are no arguable grounds to advance on appeal. See In re Schulman, 252 S.W.3d 403, 407 n.9 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008) (orig. proceeding) ("In Texas, an Anders brief need not specifically advance 'arguable' points of error if counsel finds none, but it must provide record references to the facts and procedural history and set out pertinent legal authorities.") (citing Hawkins v. State, 112 S.W.3d 340, 343-44 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2003, no pet.)); Stafford v. State, 813 S.W.2d 503, 510 n.3 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991) (en banc).

         In compliance with High v. State, 573 S.W.2d 807, 813 (Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1978), A.R.'s counsel carefully discussed why, under controlling authority, there is no reversible error in the trial court's judgment.[2] Counsel has informed this Court, in writing, that counsel has: (1) notified the A.R. that counsel has filed an Anders brief and a motion to withdraw; (2) provided A.R. with a copy of the Anders brief and the motion to withdraw; (3) informed the A.R. of her rights to file a pro se response[3] and review the record preparatory to filing that response; and (4) provided the A.R. with electronic access to the appellate record, and the mailing address for the court of appeals. See Anders, 386 U.S. at 744; Kelly v. State, 436 S.W.3d 313, 319 (tex. Crim. App. 2014); see also In re Schulman, 252 S.W.3d at 409 n.23.

         A.R. received electronic access to the appellate record on or about September 12, 2017. A.R.'s counsel requested a thirty-day filing extension for A.R.'s pro se response. We granted the motion on September 13, 2017, with notice sent to A.R. On November 7, 2017, this Court granted A.R. an additional extension of time to file a pro se response, should she choose to do so. The deadline was extended to November 27, 2017. However, a reasonable amount of time has passed since that extension expired, and A.R. has not filed a pro se response with the Court.

         III. ...


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