On Appeal from the 446th District Court Ector County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. E-18-033-PC
This is an appeal from a final order in which the trial court terminated the parental rights of the children's mother and father. See TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 161.001 (West Supp. 2019). The mother filed a notice of appeal. We affirm.
Appellant's court-appointed counsel has filed a motion to withdraw and a supporting brief in which counsel professionally and conscientiously examines the record and applicable law and concludes that the appeal presents no issues of arguable merit and is therefore 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.
Appellant's counsel provided Appellant with a copy of the brief and the motion to withdraw. In compliance with Kelly v. State, 436 S.W.3d 313, 318-20 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014), counsel provided Appellant with a copy of the record in this cause and informed Appellant of her right to review the record and file a pro se response to counsel's brief. We conclude that Appellant's counsel has satisfied his duties under Anders, Schulman, and Kelly.
We note that Appellant 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 appeal is frivolous. However, in light of P.M., we must deny the motion to withdraw that was filed by the mother's court-appointed counsel. See P.M., 520 S.W.3d at 27.
Accordingly, we deny counsel's motion to withdraw, and we affirm the trial court's order of termination.
Jim R. Wright, Senior Chief Justice (Retired), Court of Appeals, 11th District of Texas at Eastland, sitting by assignment. --------