Opinions, August 18, 2015

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals issued its memorandum opinion in Germain v. Germain, No. 14-14-00341-CV (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 18, 2015) this morning. The trial court granted the wife’s motion for protective order after the wife alleged the husband committed family violence and that he would likely commit family violence in the future. The husband appealed. In his first issue, he argued the evidence was legally and factually insufficient. The Court of Appeals disagreed and affirmed the trial court.

In his second issue, the husband argued the trial court abused its discretion in preventing cross-examination into the wife’s immigration status. The husband argued that the federal Violence Against Women Act provided a motive for the wife to complain because the act allows the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen to apply for an immigration visa. But the husband’s counsel failed to make an offer of proof to preserve the error for appellate review. Further, the wife did testify concerning the VAWA, stating she had never heard of it and her request for a protective order was not driven by immigration considerations.

In his third issue, the husband argued  that he should have been granted the continuance he requested because it is “incredibly unfair and constitutionally repugnant to expect him in 48 hours, with no discovery right to adequately cross-examine and refute the claims” of the wife. The Court of Appeals held the supposed error was not preserved as the record did not contain a motion for continuance. Additionally, the husband failed to provide any authority addressing discovery in protective order proceedings and the record did not contain any request by the husband to obtain discovery or modify the default deadlines. Finally, the Court of Appeals noted the intentionally abbreviated nature of protective order hearings as provided in the Texas Family Code, noting that the Code requires the defendant receive notice and a hearing, which the husband received.

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