On Oct. 25, the Pardo family filed their final brief with the Supreme Court of Texas. This comes after the court ordered on Oct. 24 that Drake be immediately returned home, pending the court’s final response to the family’s mandamus petition.
In the Oct. 25 brief, the Pardo family responded to the argument raised by the Texas Solicitor General, who argued to the court that the gag order on the family was clearly unconstitutional but that it should be dealt with by the trial court, not the Supreme Court of Texas.
According to the Texas Solicitor General, the Supreme Court of Texas should not weigh in because the lower courts weren’t given an opportunity to fix it first. However, as pointed out by the family’s appellate attorney, the gag order was objected to by the family’s trial attorney at the time that it was instituted and was objected to at the Fifth Court of Appeals in THSC’s amicus brief.
In the brief, the family’s attorney outlines why it makes no sense to require the parties to re-litigate the gag order at the trial court since the gag order is clearly unconstitutional on its face and since the Supreme Court of Texas can easily vacate it now.
The one-sided, patently unconstitutional gag order on the Pardo family is salt in the wound that the family has suffered from Child Protective Services (CPS) and the family court system. Judge Chitty not only authorized the illegal removal of Drake from his home by CPS, as the Supreme Court of Texas has already acknowledged—he then silenced the family and prevented them from raising the alarm and asking for help.
This cuts right to the heart of the terrifying condition of Texas’ CPS and family court systems. The State of Texas has seemingly unlimited resources that can crush a family who is trying to defend themselves from CPS. Whether the family is guilty or innocent may come second to whether they have the means to fight back.
In addition, the courts can then gag the family, preventing them from asking their community for help (which may be the only resource they have left). Even when a gag order is not issued, families are sometimes intimidated into silence and led to believe that cooperation will resolve the whole problem.
As evidenced by a recent series of reports from the Houston Chronicle, these cases are too frequent for an honest observer to buy the claim that cooperation is the safest option. For the Pardos, bowing down to CPS would likely have meant they would never see Drake again.
Instead, they fought to have Drake returned home. That finally happened on Oct. 24. However, with the case still ongoing, now the family has to battle to get CPS out of their lives altogether. All the while, the Pardos are still prevented from speaking up about anything that is happening to them.
Unless the Supreme Court of Texas dismisses the entire case against the family, the battle could still last for months.
The people of Texas rose up behind the Pardo family to defend them. As a result, Drake was sent back home. Now we need to continue the fight to get CPS out of the family’s life and hold them accountable for their illegal actions.
Will you help get CPS out of the family’s life and force them to close the case? Donating $50, $100, $200 or another amount will enable the family to finish this battle.
Thank you for standing for Texas families, for Drake, and for the Pardo family.