IN THE INTEREST OF A.M. AND A.M., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 91st District Court Eastland County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. CV1644120
consists of: Willson, J., Bailey, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
an appeal from an order in which the trial court terminated
the parental rights of the mother and the father of A.M. and
A.M. Both parents filed a notice of appeal. We dismiss in
part and affirm in part.
mother's court-appointed counsel has filed a motion to
withdraw and a supporting brief in which he professionally
and conscientiously examines the record and applicable law
and concludes that the appeal is frivolous. The brief meets
the requirements of Anders v. California, 386 U.S.
738 (1967), by presenting a professional evaluation of the
record demonstrating why there are no arguable grounds to be
advanced. See In re Schulman, 252 S.W.3d 403, 406-08
(Tex. Crim. App. 2008); High v. State, 573 S.W.2d
807, 812 (Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1978). In light of a
holding by the Texas Supreme Court, however, an
Anders motion to withdraw "may be
premature" if filed in the court of appeals under the
circumstances presented in this case. See In re
P.M., 520 S.W.3d 24, 27 (Tex. 2016). The court in
P.M. stated that "appointed counsel's
obligations can be satisfied by filing a petition for review
that satisfies the standards for an Anders
brief." Id. at 27-28.
mother's counsel provided her with a copy of the brief,
the motion to withdraw, and an explanatory letter. Counsel
also informed the mother of her right to review the record
and file a pro se response to counsel's brief. In
compliance with Kelly v. State, 436 S.W.3d 313,
318-20 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014), counsel provided the mother
with a motion for pro se access to the appellate record.
Counsel also notified the mother of her right to pursue a
petition for review in the Texas Supreme Court. We conclude
that the mother's counsel has satisfied his duties under
Anders, Schulman, and Kelly.
that the mother has not filed a pro se response to
counsel's Anders brief. Following the procedures
outlined in Anders and Schulman, we have
independently reviewed the record in this cause, and we agree
that the mother's appeal is without merit and should be
dismissed. See Schulman, 252 S.W.3d at 409. However,
in light of P.M., we deny the motion to withdraw
that was filed by the mother's court-appointed counsel.
See P.M., 520 S.W.3d at 27.
motion to withdraw is denied, and the appeal is dismissed as
to the mother only.
issues on appeal, the father challenges the sufficiency of
the evidence to support the trial court's findings in
support of the termination of his parental rights.
Termination of parental rights must be supported by clear and
convincing evidence. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)
(West Supp. 2017). To determine on appeal if the evidence is
legally sufficient in a parental termination case, we review
all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the
finding and determine whether a rational trier of fact could
have formed a firm belief or conviction that its finding was
true. In re J.P.B., 180 S.W.3d 570, 573 (Tex. 2005).
To determine if the evidence is factually sufficient, we give
due deference to the finding and determine whether, on the
entire record, a factfinder could reasonably form a firm
belief or conviction about the truth of the allegations
against the parent. In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 25-26
(Tex. 2002). To terminate parental rights, it must be shown
by clear and convincing evidence that the parent has
committed one of the acts listed in Section
161.001(b)(1)(A)-(U) and that termination is in the best
interest of the child. Fam. § 161.001(b).
respect to the best interest of a child, no unique set of
factors need be proved. In re C.J.O., 325 S.W.3d
261, 266 (Tex. App.-Eastland 2010, pet. denied). But courts
may use the non-exhaustive Holley factors to shape
their analysis. Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367,
371-72 (Tex. 1976). These include, but are not limited to,
(1) the desires of the child, (2) the emotional and physical
needs of the child now and in the future, (3) the emotional
and physical danger to the child now and in the future, (4)
the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody,
(5) the programs available to assist these individuals to
promote the best interest of the child, (6) the plans for the
child by these individuals or by the agency seeking custody,
(7) the stability of the home or proposed placement, (8) the
acts or omissions of the parent that may indicate that the
existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one, and
(9) any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent.
Id. Additionally, evidence that proves one or more
statutory grounds for termination may also constitute
evidence illustrating that termination is in the child's
best interest. C.J.O., 325 S.W.3d at 266.
this case, the trial court found that the father had
committed four of the acts listed in Section
161.001(b)(1)-those found in subsections (D), (E), (N), and
(O). Specifically, the trial court found that the father had
knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the children to remain
in conditions or surroundings that endangered the
children's physical or emotional well-being; that the
father had engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the
children with persons who engaged in conduct that endangered
the children's physical or emotional well-being; that the
father had constructively abandoned the children; and that
the father had failed to comply with the provisions of a
court order that specifically established the actions
necessary for him to obtain the return of the children, who
had been in the managing conservatorship of the Department of
Family and Protective Services for not less than nine months
as a result of the children's removal from the parents
for abuse or neglect. The trial court also found, pursuant to
Section 161.001(b)(2), that termination of the father's
parental rights would be in the best interest of the
first issue, the father challenges the legal and factual
sufficiency of the evidence with respect to the trial
court's findings under subsections (D), (E), (N), and
(O). We need only find that the evidence is ...