In the Interest of J.R., a Child v. <<

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Supreme Court of Texas.

In the Interest of J.R., a Child

NO. 15–0308

Decided: April 01, 2016


This Court abated this case to consider whether petitioner, a pro se indigent parent in a government-initiated parental rights termination suit, has a statutory right to appointed counsel to pursue a petition for review.  Only the child's father, incarcerated at the time of trial, appealed from the termination of both parents' rights.  Father's appointed counsel filed a motion to withdraw and an Anders brief in the court of appeals, asserting that on examination of the record and applicable law, the attorney had concluded that the appeal was frivolous.  See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967).  The court of appeals dismissed the appeal and allowed the attorney to withdraw, directing the attorney to advise father of his right to file a pro se petition for review.

In a hand-written document filed in this Court, father asks for relief, asserting that he “basically never got” the court-appointed attorney that he asked for, and raising issues concerning the ineffectiveness of his appointed attorney and the attorney's successful effort to withdraw.  In light of our opinion in In re P.M., ––– S.W.3d –––– (Tex. 2016), we refer this case to the trial court for the appointment of counsel.  We direct the trial court to report on the appointment to the Court within thirty days.  The case remains abated until further order.