From the 218th Judicial District Court, Atascosa County, Texas
Trial Court No. 17-04-0312-CVA
Honorable Melissa Uram-Degerolami, Judge Presiding Opinion by: Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice Sitting: Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice Irene Rios, Justice MOTION TO WITHDRAW DENIED; AFFIRMED
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services filed this suit, seeking termination of the parent-child relationship between appellant and her children. Appellant executed a voluntary affidavit of relinquishment of her parental rights. At a bench trial, there was evidence that appellant executed the affidavit voluntarily and that termination was in the children's best interest. The trial court signed a judgment terminating appellant's parental rights to the children. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal, stating appellant "desires to appeal the order of termination."
Appellant's court-appointed appellate attorney filed a brief concluding there are no non-frivolous issues to be raised on appeal. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967); In re P.M., 520 S.W.3d 24, 27 n.10 (Tex. 2016) (stating that Anders procedures protect indigent parents' statutory right to counsel on appeal in parental rights termination cases and apply in those cases). Counsel certified appellant was sent a copy of the brief and a letter advising her of her rights to review the record and to file a pro se brief. Counsel also provided appellant a form to use to request access to the record. In addition, counsel filed a motion to withdraw. This court issued an order setting deadlines to request access to the record and to file a pro se brief and holding the motion to withdraw in abatement. Appellant did not file a pro se brief.
We have thoroughly reviewed the record and the attorney's Anders brief. The record establishes by clear and convincing evidence the sole ground for termination and that termination is in the children's best interest. See TEX. FAM. CODE § 161.001; In re J.O.A., 283 S.W.3d 336, 344-45 (Tex. 2009); In re A.V., 113 S.W.3d 355, 362 (Tex. 2003). Upon a thorough review of the record, we conclude the evidence is legally and factually sufficient to support the termination order and there are no other arguably meritorious grounds for appeal. In re K.S.L., 538 S.W.3d 107, 111 (Tex. 2017) (holding evidence that affidavit of relinquishment will generally be sufficient to support a termination order). Therefore, we affirm the trial court's termination order.
Counsel filed a motion to withdraw in conjunction with his Anders brief. We deny counsel's motion to withdraw because it does not assert any ground for withdrawal apart from counsel's conclusion that the appeal is frivolous. See In re P.M., 520 S.W.3d at 27; In re A.M., 495 S.W.3d 573, 583 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2016, pet. denied). Counsel's duty to his client extends through the exhaustion or waiver of all appeals, including the filing of a petition for review in the Texas Supreme Court. See TEX. FAM. CODE § 107.016(3); In re P.M., 520 S.W.3d at 27.
Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice