In January 2014, District Judge Tena Callahan rendered an order finding that there had been no cause for CPS’s illegal removal of the Tutt children from their household. Nonetheless, Judge Callahan refused to close the case, despite agreeing that the suit brought against the family was unwarranted.
On March 26, 2014, Judge Callahan issued a ruling allowing THSC a redacted copy of the January transcript. Observers at the January hearing stated that this transcript would shed light on seven hours of personal and religious attacks against the family by CPS.
Yet, Judge Callahan decided to withhold the court transcript in contradiction of her own order. To date, the transcript has not been released.
In a status hearing on August 22, Judge Callahan stooped to a new low by confiscating the cell phone of a spectator who was present in support of the Tutts merely because the attendee was sending tweets about the public hearing. Judge Callahan then threatened the attendee with jail time if she brought her cell phone back into the courtroom. Judge Callahan also chastised the Tutt family in open court for speaking to the local press and told the mother that the family ought to be able to take on CPS by themselves.
Judge Callahan even went so far as to illegally deny a copy of the January hearing transcript to the Tutt family’s attorney, thereby preventing the family from seeking proper remedies at the appellate level. The family still sought relief from the appellate court, providing 417 pages of documentation from witnesses. Relief was denied because they had no official record to prove their accusations against the court.
Judge Callahan’s deliberate withholding of evidence constitutes obstruction of justice, as it prevents the family from addressing the corruption of judicial and CPS officials. This disregard for public accountability and justice is unconscionable and Judge Callahan’s usurpation of ethics deserves the strongest condemnation.
The Tutt case sadly continued for three long years. Judge Callahan continually obstructed justice and in the end, the Tutts had to give up an attempt to adopt one of their foster children.
Fortunately, Judge Callahan decided to retire in 2018 and opted not to run for re-election, giving Dallas residents hope that they may get a new judge who respects the rights of Texas families.