In re A.Y.C., 14-22-00361-CV

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Docket Number14-22-00361-CV
Decision Date27 September 2022


No. 14-22-00361-CV

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

September 27, 2022

On Appeal from the 313th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2020-02304J

Panel Consists of Chief Justice Christopher and Justices Wise and Hassan.



Appellant's appointed counsel, Jennifer A. Smith, filed a brief which counsel designates as an Anders brief. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967); In re D.E.S., 135 S.W.3d 326, 329-30 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, no pet.) (applying Anders procedures to a parental-termination case). To comply with Anders, counsel must do the following:

(1) Either (a) advance contentions which might arguably support the appeal, but, in the attorney's professional opinion are frivolous; or (b) present a professional evaluation of the record demonstrating why there are no arguable grounds to be advanced. See High v. State 573 S.W.2d 807 (Tex. Crim. App. 1978)
(2) File a copy of the transmittal letter to their client accompanying a copy of the Anders brief in which they inform appellant of the right to file a pro se brief and obtain a copy of the record by filing a motion for pro se access to the appellate record. See Kelly v. State 436 S.W.3d 313 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014).

The Anders procedure balances an indigent parent's constitutional right to appointed counsel on appeal and counsel's obligation not to prosecute frivolous appeals. See In re P.M., 520 S.W.3d 24, 27 n.10 (Tex. 2016). Arguments which may support an appeal must be disclosed by appointed counsel. See Banks v. State, 341 S.W.3d 428, 430 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2009, order). Appointed counsel should identify potential arguments, explain the ground, and cite to applicable legal authority and pertinent evidence. Id. at 431. An issue which is arguable on the merits is, by definition, not frivolous. Sam v. State, 467 S.W.3d 685, 687 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2015, order). Appointed counsel may not simply justify the contention that the potential error is not an arguable ground with a conclusory statement that no grounds for appeal exist. Banks, 341 S.W.3d at 431.

The Texas Supreme Court has instructed appellate courts that due process requires a heightened standard of review of a trial court's findings under section 161.001(b)(1) (D) or (E), even when another ground for termination is sufficient because of the potential collateral...

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