Court of Appeals of Texas, Eighth District, El Paso
IN RE: D.P.P., D.P., J.L.P., and A.A.P., Children.
from the 65th District Court of El Paso County, Texas (TC#
Rodriguez, J., Palafox, J., and McClure, C.J. (Senior Judge)
McClure, C.J. (Senior Judge), sitting by assignment
M. PALAFOX, JUSTICE
A.P. (Mother) and D.P. (Father) appeal a trial court judgment
terminating their parental rights to children D.P.P., D.P.,
J.L.P., and A.A.P. We will dismiss the appeal as to A.P.
(Mother) based on her motion for voluntary dismissal, and
will affirm the judgment as to D.P. (Father).
A.P. (Mother) has filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss her
own appeal. See Tex.R.App.P. 42.1(a)(1). The motion
is granted, and this appeal is dismissed as to A.P.
D.P. (Father) is represented on appeal by court-appointed
counsel who has filed a brief in accordance with the
requirements of Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738,
741-44 (1967). Court-appointed counsel has concluded that,
after a thorough review of the record, Father's appeal is
frivolous and without merit.
Anders, the Supreme Court recognized that counsel,
though appointed to represent the appellant in an appeal from
a criminal conviction, had no duty to pursue a frivolous
matter on appeal. Anders, 386 U.S. at 744. Thus,
counsel was permitted to withdraw after informing the court
of his conclusion and the effort made in arriving at that
conclusion. Id. The procedures set forth in
Anders apply to an appeal from a case involving the
termination of parental rights when court-appointed counsel
has determined that the appeal is frivolous. See In re
P.M., 520 S.W.3d 24, 27 n.10 (Tex. 2016)(per
curiam)(recognizing that Anders procedures apply in
parental termination cases); In re J.B., 296 S.W.3d
618, 619 (Tex.App.-El Paso 2009, no pet.); In re
K.R.C., 346 S.W.3d 618, 619 (Tex.App.-El Paso 2009, no
brief meets the requirements of Anders by containing
a professional evaluation of the record and demonstrating
that there are no arguable grounds for reversal of the
termination order. See Gainous v. State, 436 S.W.2d
137 (Tex.Crim.App. 1969); Jackson v. State, 485
S.W.2d 553 (Tex.Crim.App. 1972); Currie v. State,
516 S.W.2d 684 (Tex.Crim.App. 1974).
receiving an Anders brief, we are required to
conduct a full examination of all the proceedings to
determine whether the appeal is wholly frivolous. Penson
v. Ohio, 488 U.S. 75, 80 (1988). We have thoroughly
reviewed the entire record, including the Anders
brief, and we have found nothing that would arguably support
an appeal. We agree with counsel's professional
assessment that the appeal is frivolous and without merit.
Because there is nothing in the record that might arguably
support the appeal, a further discussion of the arguable
grounds advanced in the brief filed by court-appointed
counsel would add nothing to the jurisprudence of the state.
The final order terminating Father's parental rights is
prayer section of the Anders brief, counsel for D.P.
asks this Court to relieve her of this appointment and allow
her to withdraw. Based on a recent change in Texas Supreme
Court precedent, we cannot do so at this time. Upon
determining that counsel has fully complied with the
requirements of Anders and Kelly and
finding that the appeal is frivolous following an independent
review of the record, intermediate appellate courts typically
grant motions to withdraw in criminal cases. Granting the
motion to withdraw relieves counsel of any obligation to
continue with a frivolous appeal. In re D.C., 573
S.W.3d 860, 864 (Tex.App.-El Paso 2019, no pet.). The Texas
Supreme Court has determined, however, that we must deny
counsel's motion to withdraw in this parental rights
termination case because a parent's statutory right to
counsel in suits seeking termination of parental rights
extends to all proceedings in the Texas Supreme Court,
including the filing of a petition for review, and
counsel's "belief" that the appeal is frivolous
does not constitute "good cause" for withdrawal.
In re P.M., 520 S.W.3d at 27; see
Tex.Fam.Code Ann. § 107.016(3)(in a suit by a
governmental entity seeking the termination of parental
rights, an attorney appointed to serve as an attorney ad
litem for a parent or alleged father continues to serve in
that capacity until the suit is dismissed, the date all
appeals from the termination order are exhausted, or the date
the attorney is relieved of his duties or replaced by another
attorney after a finding of good cause is rendered by the
we must deny counsel's motion to withdraw. See In re
P.M., 520 S.W.3d at 27. In the event Father advises
appointed counsel that he wishes to challenge our decision by
filing a petition for review, "counsel's obligations
can be satisfied by filing a petition for ...