As I have written frequently over the last few years, the assault against the constitutional right of fit parents to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children is taking place most often in Texas today in the family courts. I have written extensively on the Tutt case in Dallas and will be posting an update on that case soon.
The point of this post, however, is that in many of these situations, the person who is at the center of this assault on the rights of fit parents is a judge. The judge is at the center of the assault because he/she is supposed to fairly and justly apply the law. Too many judges do not have a high view of parental rights and, therefore, often defer to CPS or others, without requiring these entities to meet the statutory requirements in place to protect innocent parents and children.
THSC has chosen to address this issue by educating the public about such judges. We post on our Texas Judicial Wall of Shame reports of judges who demonstrate their low view of parental rights by actions in their courts. The point of doing so is not only to call attention to such judges but also to encourage the replacement of such judges at election time.
In the Republican Primary in Houston, two races for family court judges have resulted in runoffs, and both of these races present an opportunity for the public to make a statement in support of parental rights. In this runoff THSC Association has endorsed John Schmude for judge of the 247th Family Court because he has taken a clear position in support of parental rights. I strongly encourage our friends in Houston to get involved in his campaign and help elect him to this office.
The other runoff is in the 311th Family Court, in which one member of our Texas Judicial Wall of Shame, Judge Denise Pratt, has been forced into a runoff as a result of numerous criminal complaints filed against her, not to mention our concerns with her view of parental rights. She has also received the worst ratings from attorneys practicing in her court in Harris County history.
The controversy surrounding Judge Pratt has been unprecedented, and it appears that she may again be under investigation by the Harris County district attorney’s office regarding allegations of tampering with court records. Last year Judge Pratt was admonished by the 14th Court of Appeals of Texas for failing to rule on a parent’s visitation motion for ten whole months. The court said, “A parent’s right to access his child is a fundamental liberty interest more precious than property rights.” A recent “gag order” issued by Judge Pratt also has caused some controversy, since it appears to apply to every pending case in her court involving children.
In spite of the fact that Judge Pratt came in first in a five-way race, she only got 30% of the Primary vote, which means that 70% of the voters chose someone else. This week a visiting judge removed Judge Pratt from five more cases and criticized her for making a final ruling in a child custody case without hearing any testimony or evidence.
Suffice it to say that Judge Pratt must be replaced and that, therefore, THSC endorses her opponent, Alicia Franklin, in the Runoff. Make sure your friends in Harris County vote in the Runoff for John Schmude for Judge of the 247th Family Court and Alicia Franklin for Judge of the 311th Family Court!