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My friend lost custody after a seemingly believable

My friend lost custody...

My friend lost custody after a seemingly believable accusation of drug use. Temporary custody was given to her ex-husband and she was ordered a blood, urine, and hair follicle drug test. She went back to court to get custody reinstated as all drug test results were negative. However, the judge didn't reinstate custody. No real reason was given other than his personal opinion was that there are substances she could have taken to pass the test. The presiding judge also was formerly in private practice with the ex husbands attorney which is not illegal for him to hear that case but is a conflict of interest. Can my friend appeal this ruling to a higher court? Additionally, she was not aware this was an option and was unfamiliar that she had a right to try to appeal and was not informed by her attorney. Therefore the time period has also passed in which she would be able to file an appeal . Is there a way to appeal anyway since the original decision was based on a proven non fact and she did not know that she was able to appeal the decision? Additionally, she lives in a very small county in Texas where there are only 2 judges. Additionally, the judges have friendships with her ex husband and he has contributed money to their campaigns. Is there a way to move her case to another court where she can be given a fair chance of not being a victim of the good ol boy way of doing family law. There are no rules in the family court system like we see in the criminal courts and this has long been a debated topic questioning if justice is for sale in Texas. What can you advise that might help her either be able to appeal or get a change of venue. Her divorce and original custody cases were originally filed in this court. Does she have any options here that can help her. It can also be argued that it is an emergency as her 16 year old has made a suicide attempt on two occasions stating that she cannot be kept from her mom any longer based on no evidence of improper parenting and she wants to die. Please help me. I feel this is a huge miscarriage of justice and is alienating this mother but the judges are buddys with the husband who has intentionally alienated the mother. Both children are over 12 and have stated where they want to be but have not been given a say. Additionally, the mother is running out of funds after fighting false allegations all proven to be false with no results. How do I advise her?

Lawyer's Assistant: What's the time period for the temporary guardianship?

It was supposed to be a few weeks while she underwent testing. She then came to the next scheduled hearing with her evidence but custody was not returned and no reason was given. There was just the statement of the judges opinion that certain substances could cover drug use. The statement wasn't made because a substance was found in her system during the lab work. She has been fighting for 4 years to get them returned. This is in Angelina County Texas. There is no reason given other than the statement that they are better off with their dad. Since there is no burden of proof in Family Court, this is the only reason given. I know many groups in Texas are fighting to change the family court due to these type of atrocities, but nothing other than some campaign finance limitations have been put in place. How do you appeal, is it even possible now? She has no criminal record other than a misdemeanor traffic violation and a bounced check "theft by check " which was dismissed. What is the next best move to either get an appeal or get put in a situation to not battle the same judge over and over. I am from San Antonio, while you can make a case by following the finance trial that judges often rule in favor of their former law partners or monetary contributors. we at least have such a large city that we get assigned different judges on the docket for different hearings due to the fact that there are so many cases and so many judges. How do you get out of the small town situation of getting stuck over and over with the same judge who clearly has decided due to no wrong doing but rather bases a decision on who his buddies are and who he gets money from. It is highly unusually to take custody away just for an allegation that was later proven scientifically false and impossible. Additionally, the mom had primary custody up until the whole drug allegation and subsequent disproving of that allegation. She hasn't had custody now for 4 years.

Lawyer's Assistant: The Family Lawyer will be able to walk you through that. Have you talked to a TX lawyer about the guardianship?

I have not spoken with her lawyer. And at this time she does not have representation to go forward and fight as she has depleted every bit of money she ever had and her parents withdrew and spend their retirement accounts to help her. They have no more resources. If I can figure out the next move to help her get them back, I then am going to attempt to get people to contribute if they would be so kind and help her build a fund to move forward and retain counsel.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Her attorney no longer represents her because after four years, she no longer can pay him. It is a travesty.

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Answered in 7 hours by:
6/24/2018
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 126,940
Experience: Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
Verified

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Your friend should appeal this case, as a judge exceeds their authority when they insert personal opinions about "substances" someone can take to beat drug tests. This is an abuse of the judge's discretion and he cannot rule in that manner without some evidence showing that she did take something to defeat the test.

If she did miss the time to file an appeal, then I am afraid that is yet another issue and she would generally be forbidden from filing an appeal out of time unless she can provide proof of some good cause for missing the time. Her attorney not telling her is generally not good cause to appeal out of time, BUT it is good cause to perhaps sue her attorney for malpractice

So her first step is to seek to file the appeal out of time and argue that her attorney never advised her on her appeal rights. If the court denies her, then she will need a legal malpractice attorney to sue her attorney

I am sorry to hear she has all of these other issues, but in order to get the judge's decision vacated in these small towns you have to show a personal relationship between the judge and the ex husband, not simply dontations to the judge's campaign because that would be considered normal business and could disqualify the judge from hearing cases of the whole town who voted for them or supported them.

Your friend needs to get an attorney to argue her first attorney's malpractice is good cause to get her to appeal out of time and if she loses she needs to sue her first attorney for the malpractice and all the money it has cost her.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 126,940
Experience: Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok. I know that the judge made the statement that it is possible she could have taken something that would cover up the drugs in her system. But here lies the next issue, in the Civil Court there doesn't have to be a court reporter who documents all conversation that went on during the hearing. I know this is required in a criminal court but it is not in a civil court. I do believe you can request a court reporter if you pay for it yourself and then you'll have documentation of what the judge said but we know that now in hindsight so there is no record of conversation that took place in the courtroom. And, if you're filing a malpractice suit in the same county, isn't that a civil issue that would again be handled by the one and only judge. Can you prove malpractice simply by the fact that the attorney did not advise her of her right to appeal and the time frame in which it should have happened in? It just looks to me like she's going to keep running up against the same problem. It can be established that her ex husband's parents are close friends with this judge. It's actually common knowledge within the community but what would suffice as evidence for that? Would it have to be pictures of them attending an event together.? What would you advise the best way to go about establishing that relationship. Also, I'm sure the judge presiding over the case knows that she will use this malpractice suit as an opportunity to then file an appeal. Couldn't he just overlooked the attorney's failure to advise her of her appeal rights just like he's done in every other situation? Also, do you know of any Watchdog groups that have a specific name that they used to call themselves that I could look up and find out exactly when and whom all the campaign contributions were made from? I do know a person who is a news anchor and is a personal friend who would be willing to run a story if I could establish using public record the percentage of rulings in favor of his campaign contributors. That can be done simply by pulling all the cases he's presided over during his last two terms seeing who has contributed to use are or what packs or social groups or law firms have contributed to him and then measure that against how people that were in his court for a case were ruled for or against and show a parallel between money and decisions. But wouldn't I first have to get the malpractice suit one before I could do an appeal and then I could use all that other information in the appeal. What is a concrete a b c d e step by step method you could tell me to get the ball rolling? Your idea is excellent by the way I'm just trying to figure out how to execute it and be able to circumvent the bias is that judge presides over the malpractice suit as well. He presides over criminal and civil proceedings in that county and there's only two judges in the county. That's real confusing to me because I live in Bexar County and San Antonio and we have a criminal Courthouse that has criminal judges and criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors in it and then we have a separate courthouse for civil matters and family law that has a whole bunch of different judges that rule on those type of cases. In my city there is no incident of anybody serving as both a criminal and civil judge concurrently. Likewise, due to the amount of Judges we have every time you go on the docket you're always getting your case heard by a different judge than the time before. In our criminal court system when you get a criminal judge assigned to your case he's assigned to every hearing and proceeding that happens in regard to that criminal matter. Why is this like this and how do I get around the fact that whether she's in a criminal case or a civil case or anything she always ends up in front of the same man. It's Angelina County Texas maybe you could take a look at their website and tell me if I'm understanding it correctly. But it appears that her judge for the her civil issue also handled her criminal issue with the check which was dismissed. What do you do if you are always going in front of a person who has already decided to not give you a fair shot from the get-go. Why does she have to file all her civil petitions in that particular court. Shouldn't she be entitled to have a fair chance. I know they give changes of venue in criminal matters all the time

thank you for your reply.

She can record the trial in civil court and also has a right to insist on a court reporter and she can be made to pay for one.

The attorney failure to inform their client about an appeal cannot really just be overlooked.

You need to get her another attorney, try one of the same sites used by other attorneys http://www.hg.org or http://www.superlawyers.com

Your friend can call the Texas family rights groups, but they are wholly ineffective in small towns for the same reasons you mentioned above.

The media is also not generally effective in small towns for those same reasons.

You are going to need to get her a new attorney to seek to pursue this further trying to get an appeal or getting her first attorney for malpractie.

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Malpractice, sorry for typo.

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