The last week of June there were several hearings in the Tutt case in Dallas. THSC-retained attorneys represented the Tutt family as they sought in one hearing to continue the adoption process of a child who is still in foster care and who is the sibling of two other children already adopted by the Tutts who are back in their home. CPS has said that they are working to prevent the adoption of this child by the Tutts, in spite of no issues raised to support that action.
In another hearing that week the judge ruled that Mrs. Tutt must pay child support to her former husband, with whom the judge placed her teenage son. Mrs. Tutt has still not seen a teenage son who was taken in November and placed with her ex-husband. In spite of the ex-husband defying the court order to have this son attend counseling with a court appointed counselor and Mrs. Tutt, the judge later agreed to allow the father to use a different counselor, who would only comply with the court-ordered counseling if Mrs. Tutt prepaid a $4000 fee for services. Now the judge is requiring Mrs. Tutt to pay child support to her ex-husband for the child, whom the judge has ruled should not have been removed from the home in the first place.
In yet another hearing, Dr. Ronald Johnson gave testimony as an expert witness for the family that it would be in the best interest of these children to be returned to the home schooling of their parents. The judge seemed to accept this testimony but found it necessary to say that the focus on the education of the children “had nothing to do with home schooling,” even though the hearing in December was focused on the alleged lack of education of the children as a justification for CPS to keep the children away from their parents.
The judge reportedly said at the hearing in January, “If your children were in public school and were two years behind, you would be banging on their doors. Well, we are banging on your door.” That statement would certainly undermine her current statement that this situation was “not about home schooling.”
The January statement was reported to us by family and home schooling friends who observed that hearing. We cannot yet corroborate that statement, since we still don’t have a redacted copy of the transcript that Judge Callahan ruled in March we could have. We have paid $2500 for that transcript but still don’t have it. In addition, Judge Callahan ruled that she would not allow the Tutts’ current attorney of record to have the transcript. When the attorney pointed out that she was legally entitled to the transcript, the judge said that she was not the attorney of record at the time and asked why the attorney needed it. The attorney stated that she needed it to file a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals. The judge responded that if the court of appeals told her that she had to give it to the attorney, she would do so. Legal observers are shocked by this action, since any attorney representing a client has a legal right to the court records of the client he or she represents.
In addition, the judge chastised CPS officials for not having the psychiatric evaluations of Mr. and Mrs. Tutt, which she had ordered 60 days earlier. She ordered that the Tutts have an evaluation done by a qualified psychiatrist before the next hearing in August.
Unfortunately, the Tutts are not the only Texas family dealing with such actions by CPS. A recent news article highlighted a hearing in Austin in which another family recounted the egregious actions of CPS workers that devastated their family and their children and destroyed them financially. THSC is committed to continuing to publicize the unlawful actions of CPS workers and judges and to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Please continue to pray for justice to be done soon and for the Tutt family to be restored and in full control of their children. Please also pray that they will be able to adopt the child in foster care so she can be with her siblings. If you would like to make a contribution to the legal defense of the Tutt family, you can do that through our Parental Rights Litigation Fund.