Opinions, June 4, 2015

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals issued its memorandum opinion in In re J.J.G. and D.J.T-B., No. 14-15-00094-CV (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] Jun. 4, 2015) in which it affirmed the termination of the mother’s rights to her children. In this case, an 11-week-old child was admitted to the hospital with what turned out to be shaken baby syndrome; the children were taken into the state’s care and the father was incarcerated as a result. Only the mother contested termination. After the state became involved, it established a family service plan with the mother which required the mother to, inter alia, stay drug free, maintain stable employment and housing, and attend parenting classes, all of which she subsequently either failed to do or failed to provide proof of having done. During the mother’s family service plan¬†period, she evidently tested positive for marijuana and cocaine but she claimed the positive cocaine result was because someone laced her marijuana without her knowledge. At trial, the mother testified that she had not used drugs 26 days before trial, was trained to become a dental assistant and would be able to get a job as such after a four-month externship. She also testified that if the state extended her case she would get treatment for addiction. The trial court terminated her rights. On appeal, the mother argued that her marijuana use should be viewed as a lesser offense, when compared to other illegal drugs, because other states have legalized marijuana use. The court of appeals disagreed and overruled the mother’s first issue. On her second issue, the mother argued the evidence was factually insufficient to support a finding that termination was in the best interest of the children. The court of appeals marshaled all the negative evidence against the mother and overruled her second issue.

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