The 5th Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday denying relief to a family whose children were illegally removed by CPS nearly a year ago. The Tutt family had their seven children removed by CPS in November of 2013 in an attempt to cover up the issuance of an illegal order by associate Judge Graciela Olvera, and the submission of an affidavit to the court that CPS later testified under oath had been falsified.
In January of 2014, district Judge Tena Callahan rendered an order finding that there had been no cause for removal of the children, but refused to close the case despite agreeing that the suit brought against the family was unwarranted.
On March 26, 2014, Judge Callahan issued a ruling allowing the Texas Home School Coalition a redacted copy of the January transcript, which observers at the January hearing stated would shed light on seven hours of personal and religious attacks against the family by CPS. After appeasing friends of the family with her apparent move towards transparency, Judge Callahan then withheld the court transcript in contradiction of her order. To date, the transcript has not been released.
In a status hearing on August 22, Judge Callahan stooped to a new low by confiscating the cell phone of a spectator there in support of the Tutts, because the attendee was sending tweets about the public hearing. Judge Callahan then threatened the attendee with jail time if she brought her cell phone back into the courtroom. Judge Callahan also chastised the Tutt family in open court for speaking to the local press, and told the mother that the family ought to be able to take on CPS by themselves.
Judge Callahan went even so far as to illegally deny a copy of the transcript from the January hearing to the Tutt family’s attorney, thereby preventing the family from seeking proper remedies at the appellate level. Even so, the family sought relief from the appellate court, providing 417 pages of documentation from witnesses. Relief was denied based on the fact that they had no official record to prove their accusations against the court.
Independent observers are appalled with the actions of Judge Callahan to deliberately withhold evidence to prevent dealing with the corruption of Judicial and CPS officials. The thwarting of public accountability and justice in the courtroom for this family is unconscionable. The Texas Home School Coalition says that the fight is far from over, and that the recent denial from the 5th Court of Appeals only serves to strengthen their resolve in defense of the Tutt family.