October 2, 2019—Supreme Court of Texas Reviews a Second Abuse of Family Rights
October 30, 2019
We’re In a Battle for the Families and Children of Texas
The Supreme Court of Texas issued an emergency stay in the Pardo case on Oct. 24, ordering that the trial court had to immediately return Drake home. The court’s order stated that Child Protective Services (CPS) had failed to show a continuing danger which would justify Drake’s removal.
The case continues at the local level while the family battles to get the CPS case closed completely. We are rejoicing with God’s answer to our prayers and we’re continuing to work to get CPS out of the lives of the Pardo family.
We have also been following the James Younger case in Dallas for over a year. This case centers around a custody dispute between divorced parents of twin boys who are now seven years of age. The mother is a pediatrician and has insisted that one of her sons, James Younger, has identified as a girl—since the age of three!
The judge in the case consistently ruled with the mother in her requests to force the father to agree to the transition of his son, even though the boy only dresses up as a girl for the mother, and not for the father.
The father had no legal choice but to request a jury trial and ask for full custody of his son to prevent the life-altering and often devastating medical, physical and emotional effects of “transitioning” this young child. Unfortunately, the jury sided with the mother.
However, as the The Texan reported, “Cooks [the judge] instead gave both parents joint decision making over all medical, dental and psychiatric care for the twin boys, indicating that both the father and mother need to consent to the use of puberty blockers or other aspects of a ‘medical transition.’”
The judge also placed a gag order on the father to prohibit him from posting about the case online.
The media has covered this extensively and has chronicled the horrific consequences that this kind of policy will have not only on the family but also on our legal system—calling it evil and insane.
In yet another parental rights case, a Denton Republican judge gave joint custody of a four-year-old girl to a man who was not in any way related to her—against the wishes of the child’s biological father.
Incredibly, this non-relative was granted joint custody of the young girl even though all parties agreed that the father is an entirely fit parent. Rather than contesting this point, the non-relative simply argued that he should have an equal right to the child anyway.
THSC filed an amicus brief in support of the father in that case as well and the Supreme Court of Texas responded by issuing a stay and ordering that the grant of custody to the non-relative be halted while the court obtains a full briefing from all the parties.
People all over Texas and the country are asking: how can judges allow such things?
The law must be changed. It allows judges far too much discretion to rule based on personal opinion rather than objective principles.
Each of these issues was before the Texas legislature this year with bills that could have solved these problems, but the legislature did not prioritize them and they failed to pass.
How many more children will be harmed and families be torn apart before the state of Texas addresses these issues by legislation?
Judges are making decisions based on their philosophies or preferences instead of following the law and what is in the best interest of children (staying with their loving families). We must hold these judges accountable and elect judges who will do what’s best for children and families.
We will be interviewing and endorsing judges in the upcoming elections because it is critical to Keeping Texas Families Free that we have judges who will follow the law and protect families and children instead of following the latest philosophy or simply affirming whatever CPS wants to do.
These cases highlight why these elections are critical and why the governor must call a special session of the Texas legislature to address these issues immediately!
Please sign up for our election updates and endorsements. Please call your legislators and Governor Abbott and ask them to pass legislation to protect the families of Texas.
In the brief, the solicitor general called the gag order issued against the family “plainly unconstitutional” and described the trial court’s reasoning for imposing the order “threadbare.”
While the State took a strong position against the gag order, it declined to offer an opinion on any other issues raised in the case, stating that “Because the Court’s resolution of that fact-bound question is unlikely to have any impact beyond this case, the State expresses no view of the proper disposition of the first issue presented.”
Of course, whether the resolution of the case has a broader impact and helps other families is entirely up to how the Supreme Court of Texas handles the issue. In addition, the solicitor general argued to the Supreme Court of Texas that the trial court should clean up its own mess regarding the gag order, rather than the Supreme Court of Texas stepping in.
Further action around this high profile case has included Governor Greg Abbott’s announcing he has appointed a new leader of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which oversees CPS.
While we do not know much about the new commissioner, we are very happy that the governor did not appoint the acting commissioner (who has presided over the debacle of the state wrongly removing four-year-old Drake from his parents and home).
Meanwhile, the Kaufman County Court will likely have another hearing in November to consider the psychological evaluations of Daniel and Ashley Pardo as ordered in the July hearing. CPS will likely present the worst case they can, as they have done before.
Please continue to pray for Drake and the Pardo family as well as the Supreme Court of Texas justices and the judge in Kaufman County. There is no guarantee that this will end soon, but we pray that it will. The longer this continues, the more detrimental it is to Drake and his family and the more expensive it becomes.
The family is now waging a legal fight in two battlefronts at once: The trial court and the Supreme Court of Texas. Generous support from hundreds of individuals who are appalled by CPS’ abuse of power has enabled the family to mount a formidable legal defense. However, with two battlefields running simultaneously, the costs for the family are quickly running high.
The Pardo family needs the continued support of the public to maintain the costly legal defense required to counteract the State’s taxpayer-funded goliath of a legal arsenal. Can you help with $50, $75, $100 or another amount to enable the Pardo family to continue their legal defense and bring Drake home?
Supreme Court of Texas Takes Action in Parental Rights Case
A few weeks ago I wrote about another very important case regarding parental rights at the Supreme Court of Texas.
In this case, a district court gave joint custody of a young girl to a man who was not in any way related to her. The court did this over the objections of the biological father. THSC and the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed “friend of the court” briefs in support of the father’s constitutional right to raise his daughter.
The Supreme Court of Texas has responded by asking the parties for a full briefing on the case and issuing an emergency stay to the lower court. An emergency stay temporarily invalidates the lower court’s grant of joint custody and possession, at least until the Supreme Court of Texas has time to make a final ruling.
Why does that matter?
This response by the Supreme Court of Texas is a sign that the court sees this case as important. The court has set new deadlines for all briefs to be submitted by early December.
This case shows the critical nature of the God-given right of parents to raise their children as they see fit. In what world is it acceptable for a non-parent to walk into an existing father-daughter relationship and obtain custody of that daughter over the objections of an entirely fit father?
Please continue to pray for the father in this case, who is battling to maintain the ability to raise his daughter without the interference of a non-relative. The results of this case could impact many Texas families.
I spent five hours on October 4 with the Pardos in a Kaufman County courtroom as their attorney Chris Branson made the case for removing Drake from foster care and placing him with a friend of the family. Once again, Child Protective Services’ (CPS) opposition and rationale were shocking. News reports also covered the hearing.
According to testimony, CPS policy and procedures require that a home study for possible placement of a child with someone other than foster care be completed during the investigation stage which, in this case, was in June. During the hearing on Aug. 9, CPS said the study would take six to eight weeks and the judge ordered them to expedite the study in two weeks. They agreed.
By the end of September, CPS had still not finished the home study. Branson filed a motion to force CPS to do so and to sanction CPS for not following the court’s order. Within a few hours of his filing, CPS had produced the report. CPS says that was just a coincidence.
In the Oct. 4 hearing, the psychologist hired by CPS to conduct a psychological evaluation of four-year-old Drake admitted under oath that she had amended her report at the request of CPS. Further, she opposed Drake’s being removed from foster care on the basis of how Drake responded to a question in the evaluation. When asked why he was not with his family, he stated, “No tubes, no wheelchairs,” and “the judge doesn’t like that.” The psychologist acknowledged that Drake was merely repeating information that he had been told from the foster parent or CPS.
Ultimately, the judge ruled it was in Drake’s best interest to be placed with a friend of the family who had been his physical therapist for over a year before CPS took him. However, the judge declined to sanction CPS. Drake will be placed with the friend of the family by the time you read this. This is a victory for Drake and his family and we are one step closer to Bringing Drake Home.
Please continue to pray for the family, judges, attorneys, and all involved in this case.
Supreme Court of Texas Reviews a Second Abuse of Family Rights
Another case before the Supreme Court of Texas highlights the attack upon the God-given, fundamental, constitutional right of parents to direct the care, custody and control of their children.
THSC worked with the Texas attorney general’s office this past spring to issue a legal opinion supporting the right of fit parents to make decisions for their children.
That opinion has been cited extensively in a case currently before the Supreme Court of Texas. In the case of In re C.J.C., a lower court judge granted joint custody of a four-year-old child to a non-relative over the objections of the child’s father.
The mother and father in the case had been previously divorced and shared custody of the daughter. In July 2018, the mother was tragically killed in a car accident, at which point the little girl went to live with her father full time.
Not long after the mother’s death, the child’s grandparents filed for joint custody—against the wishes of the father. Ultimately, the grandparents’ custody suit was dismissed.
After the court denied the grandparents’ custody request, the mother’s live-in fiance, whom the mother had become engaged to a couple months before her tragic death, filed a lawsuit to obtain joint custody.
The fiance and mother had lived together for 11 months. Approximately half of that time, the daughter also lived with them. The fiance argues that because he lived with the daughter for approximately six months that he developed an emotional bond that entitles him to joint custody over the objections of the daughter’s actual father.
It is especially noteworthy that all parties in the case agree that the father is an entirely fit father who takes good care of his daughter.
Shockingly, the district court judge not only awarded joint custody to the non-relative fiance—a virtual stranger to the child—she went even further by stating that the little girl could spend nearly unlimited time with her maternal grandparents during J.D.’s (the father’s) periods of possession (the same access that the grandparents were previously denied in their own lawsuit).
This non-relative now has joint custody of the daughter, shared responsibility for making certain educational decisions, medical decisions and more. The father has expended more than $170,000 defending his right to raise his own daughter.
Like the Pardo case, this case centers around the fundamental right of parents to raise their own children. Both cases are currently pending before the Supreme Court of Texas.
THSC has filed an amicus brief in support of the father in this case. This situation is yet another example that highlights the need for legislative reform to protect Texas families from abuse in court.