The first day of the trial in Fort Worth began with a motion by the attorneys for the grandparents asking the judge to post a notice for observers in the court to maintain “decorum.” Warn people not to cause noise or make any facial expressions or other actions that might influence the jury, and no cameras or other devices. This admonition appeared to be directly aimed at home school families who were in court to observe in silence and to pray.
The grandparents also asked that the court divide the trial into two parts and in one of these to require the father to pay their court costs and legal fees because he decided to request a jury trial rather than allowing the judge to render a decision. The judge has been so negligent in his rulings that the father’s attorneys felt the jury trial was the best opportunity to get a positive ruling to reestablish the presumption that a fit parent should be the managing conservator in these kinds of cases. The judge did not rule on the motions made by each side, but he will likely do so soon. The rest of the day was to be used in selecting a jury, a process for which the public was not allowed admittance.
Today the trial will continue and could last as long as two weeks. Please continue to pray for this father, his attorneys, and the jury and that his parental rights will be recognized and his daughter returned to him.
THSC has paid the legal fees of the trial attorney as well as an appellate attorney to preserve appeal protections since the decision may be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, which has previously ruled that in modification cases the presumption that a fit parent should be the managing conservator does not apply. This is a terrible precedent that must be reversed.
While the jury trial is the best legal tactic at this point, it is also much more costly. Whether we win or lose at the trial level, an appeal is almost certain. In the 1980s the lawsuit against the state by home schoolers, the Leeper case, went through the courts for almost 10 years before the final decision by the Texas Supreme Court that established our home school freedom as private schools. This case has tremendous potential to strengthen parental rights in Texas for the benefit of home schoolers and all parents. By God’s grace and with your prayers and support, we will stay the course in this case to raise the level of protection for parents in Texas just as Texas home schoolers did in the 1980s. To make a contribution to support the battle for parental rights in Texas, go here. We will continue to give you updates as developments occur.