Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
Appeal from the 235th District Court Cooke County, Texas
Trial Court No. CV17-00736
Birdwell, Pittman, and Bassel, JJ.
Father appeals from the trial court's judgment
terminating his parental rights for endangerment and failing
to complete a court-ordered service plan. See Tex.
Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(1)(D), (E), (O), (b)(2). We
appointed appellate counsel has filed a motion to withdraw
and an amended brief in support of that motion in which she
asserts that Father's appeal is frivolous. See Anders
v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 744-45, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 1400
(1967); see also In re K.M., 98 S.W.3d 774, 776-77
(Tex. App.--Fort Worth 2003, no pet.) (holding that this
court applies Anders procedures in parental-rights
termination cases). The amended brief meets
Anders's requirements by presenting a
professional evaluation of the record and demonstrating why
there are no arguable grounds to be advanced on
appeal. Although provided with the record, Father
has not filed a pro se response. The State has declined to
file a brief.
appellant's court-appointed attorney files a motion to
withdraw on the ground that the appeal is frivolous and
fulfills the requirements of Anders, this court is
obligated to undertake an independent examination of the
record to determine if any arguable grounds for appeal exist.
See Stafford v. State, 813 S.W.2d 503, 511 (Tex.
Crim. App. 1991); Mays v. State, 904 S.W.2d 920,
922-23 (Tex. App.--Fort Worth 1995, no pet.). When analyzing
whether any grounds for appeal exist, we consider the record,
the Anders brief, and any pro se response. In re
Schulman, 252 S.W.3d 403, 408-09 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008)
carefully reviewed counsel's amended brief and the
appellate record. Finding no reversible error, we agree with
counsel that this appeal is without merit. See Bledsoe v.
State, 178 S.W.3d 824, 827 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005);
In re D.D., 279 S.W.3d 849, 850 (Tex. App.--Dallas
2009, pet. denied). Therefore, we affirm the trial
court's order terminating Father's parental rights to
counsel's motion to withdraw does not show good cause for
the withdrawal independent from counsel's conclusion that
the appeal is frivolous, we deny the motion. See In re
P.M., 520 S.W.3d 24, 27-28 (Tex. 2016) (order); In
re C.J., 501 S.W.3d 254, 255 (Tex. App.--Fort Worth
2016, pets. denied). Accordingly, counsel remains appointed
in this appeal through proceedings in the supreme court
unless otherwise relieved from her duties for good cause in
accordance with family code section 107.016(3)(C).
P.M., 520 S.W.3d at 27.
We ordered counsel to file an amended
brief because the analysis referred only to an unrelated
criminal case rather than the record in this termination
appeal. Although counsel's amended Anders brief
still contains references that appear to be from a prior
criminal case rather than specifically related to this case,
we are nevertheless satisfied that counsel reviewed the
record in this case under the proper standards and law.
See Kelly v. State, 436 S.W.3d 313, 318 (Tex. Crim.
App. 2014) ("The purpose of the Anders brief is
to satisfy the appellate court that the appointed
counsel's motion to withdraw is, indeed, based upon a
conscientious and thorough review of the law and facts . . .
."); see also In re P.M., 520 S.W.3d 24, 27
(Tex. 2016) (order) (noting that counsel in termination
appeal may satisfy obligation to client by "filing an
appellate brief meeting the standards set in Anders v.
California, and its progeny" (footnote omitted));
In re N.F.M., No. 04-18-00475-CV, 2018 WL 6624409,
at *3-4 (Tex. App.--San Antonio Dec. 19, 2018, order) (en
banc) (discussing uniform standards for Anders
briefing in criminal appeals and concluding that the same
standards apply to Anders briefs in termination
appeals). For example, although counsel's amended brief
still refers to the criminal standard of review for
sufficiency of the evidence rather than the applicable clear
and convincing standard, the clear and convincing standard is