Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 304th Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. JC-17-01300-W
Justices Whitehill, Molberg, and Reichek
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services filed this
suit to terminate Father's parental rights as to M.M.,
his minor child. The trial court granted that relief after a
appeals and raises six issues. We overrule them for the
following reasons: (i) the trial court didn't violate the
Family Code § 263.401 deadlines; (ii) Father hasn't
shown that he received ineffective assistance of counsel;
(iii) Father lacks standing to complain that an intervenor
wasn't allowed to supplement her petition during trial;
(iv) Father hasn't shown error or harm in the trial
court's ruling admitting Father's murder conviction
into evidence; and (v-vi) Father didn't preserve his
evidentiary sufficiency challenges to certain jury findings.
Accordingly, we affirm.
these facts from the trial evidence.
and Father were in a long-term relationship and began living
together shortly before their daughter M.M. was born in March
2011. At that time Mother also had possession of two other
children who were hers but not Father's.
early November 2015, Father's mother (Grandmother) came
to the United States from Greece, where she lived, for a
visit. Mother and Father were planning to get married later
Friday, November 13, 2015, Father left for work and took
Grandmother with him. Mother took the three children to
school and returned home. She went into the kitchen, where
someone shot and killed her. The police eventually concluded
that Father had arranged for two people to go to his home and
murder Mother. The suspected motive was that Father and
Mother's relationship was troubled and Father didn't
want to pay child support or lose any property when they
November 16, 2015, Child Protective Services received a
referral that one of M.M.'s older siblings had been
sexually abused by his father (not the appellant in this
case). During the CPS investigation, M.M. was temporarily
placed with the Graces, who were a family that Mother and
February 2016, the Department filed a petition seeking
temporary conservatorship of M.M.
2016, Father was arrested for Mother's murder.
December 22, 2017, the parties in the conservatorship case
signed a Rule 11 agreement in which they agreed to nonsuit
their various claims in the case. That same day, the trial
court signed an agreed order granting the nonsuits, and the
Department filed a new original petition commencing the
instant suit for conservatorship of M.M. and termination of
Father's parental rights.
Graces filed an intervention petition asking the court to
appoint them as M.M.'s joint managing conservators.
Grandmother also filed an intervention petition asking the
court to appoint her sole managing conservator.
September 2018, Father was convicted of capital murder and
sentenced to life imprisonment. We take judicial notice that
he has appealed his conviction and his appeal is currently
pending before this Court as No. 05-18-01200-CR.
November 2018, the trial judge signed an order extending its
jurisdiction in the instant case until July 5, 2019.
case was tried before a jury in February 2019. The jury found
by clear and convincing evidence that several predicate facts
for termination were true and that terminating Father's
parental rights was in M.M.'s best interest. The jury
also found that the Department should be appointed M.M.'s
managing conservator. The trial judge signed a judgment
terminating Father's parental rights and appointing the
Department as M.M.'s permanent managing conservator.
summarize Father's six issues as follows:
1. This lawsuit violated the strict time mandates of Family