Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Reviews of Judge Prine and Associate Ramos family court 246 Harris County Texas

Many reviews of Judge Prine exist. Here are a handful based on 15 selected. Judge Prine's Average Overall Review: Associate Judge Ramo Court 246 Harris County Texas. Based on 15 reviews 2553. other This father lied in court under oath and got away with it. He shund the one child for 6 years. He protected one son during IKe and cared less about the other son or his wife. Since the boys have pulled away from her these last weeks I am sure that they have been threaten by there father. They are afraid of him. It is so out of character for them.

 This woman is ignorant of the law. I witnessed 2 attorneys plead before her; one with over 30 years of experience in family law, the other with a loud mouth and circular logic. She has sided with the loud mouth in 2 different hearings. She degrades the family court with every decision. She has no business even being a lawyer mush less an associate judge. She is biased to the point of siding with a worthless drunk over a disabled and mentally abused woman. She deserves to be impeached AND disbarred.
7713. party to case (pro se) I can not believe that judge Charlie Prine does not go by the rules of law. He goes by his own rules and even though you hire experts he goes against the experts. For example me and my ex wife had a mediated settle agreement upon she past a drug test.

Unfortunately she failed due to meth and Charlie said the drug test didn't matter. The expert testified that it was not a false positive... 8497. witness How do we let our voices be heard? This man is completely unfair. It's terrifying how he's playing with the lives of others and can sleep at night. 2552. other Prine is not a fair and just judge.

He does not listen to the whole case He proves that money talks in Texas. He does not approve of same sex relationships ( that case made national news). He is willing to give children to a so called father that never really wanted kids. A man that emotionally abused with a moderate amount physical abuse. This man was given 2/3 of my daughter salary to buy electronic stuff for the kids instead of clothes.

 In the last three months I have had to pay for clothes and hair cuts for the boys and my daughter can do things with the boys to the tune of$1000. Do I want this man in office ? Hell no! My daughter is a bad housekeeper yes! Did she deserve to loose her kids? No. The boys will not even spend time with her because she made them do homework work on the STAAR test. I made the mistake of treating them to the rodeo when completed the sample test. Their so called father does not make them do homework.

They are both failing in school. I actively campaign against Prine. I want justice for all not just the rich. 2573. other I want to actively campaign against this man. He needs to be out of office. It is obvious he would like to see women back in the Victorian era with no rights. What is this country coming to. It is not an American for all but for the rich and it non moralistic lawyers. 4262. other Sadly, this man has moved from Associate Judge of Judge Dean, a corrupt judge, to District Judge of the 246th Court. He has appointed Chelsie Ramos as his associate judge as a political favor.

 She has no experience in family law, and looking at the tro's that she signed, doesn't care to spend any time learning family law. Her sole accomplishment for this job was being married to a former family law associate judge. Now the list has come out of the judges that refuse to appoint attorneys from a generally-accepted list, accepted by all but 4 courts. So 8 courts (9 if you include the CPS court - that the courts didn't need but which was set up so Judge Farr could take credit for it) are ok with the qualifications of the attorney list, and 4 aren't. And those 4 are.....this judge, the judge he worked under, and 2 other dishonorable judges (Alicia Franklin York and Jim Lombardino). These 4 judges continue to thank campaign donors with appointments and high-paid vouchers.

 Did it ever bother anybody that, as an associate judge, this judge took off more time that the judge that appointed him? And that they took off at the same time so, despite that you, the tax payer, paid 2 judges to cover one court, they regularly left that court without a single judge for weeks at a time, and anytime a political event was scheduled? It's past time to stop covering up for the good-old-boy system in Harris County Family Courts. The corruption has been reported since the 1990's, and the only judge any one ran out of the office was the one that rebuked these people. 7859. party to case (pro se) This judge is below any rating.

 I consider both judges of family court 246 pirates. I blog about these judges at https//williamsjules57.blogspot.com and posts at https://plus.google.com under search Jules Williams. I tweet as Jules williams also face book. The judges of court 246 are unfair, unjust, heartless and discriminating judicial representative operating in any court. Family court judges court 246 are a detriment to children and a danger to families

. These judges ignore due process, are comfortable lying and prejudging cases. The trial judge scares litigants in his court using anger and violence. These are two scary judges no one should chance messing with. They can cause an Innocent law abiding citizen to have a really bad day. 8899. party to case (with attorney) what an excellent judge. he saved the kids form abusive alcoholic mother with mental history who lied to get her spouse in jail which the husband easily beat the charges. more of these type of judges are needed with morals. 9014. party to case (with attorney) You'll Please Report Judge Prine and Judge Ramos @ www.scjc.texas.gov (1-877-228-5750) like l did so we can get these corrupted Judges out of our Judicial system.

They both is such a disgrace to our society. 9031. party to case (pro se) Judge prine is not a fair judge, there can be proud of domestic abuse with graphic pictures of the incident, yet not grant a protective order. He's a horrible judge, I thought these reviews were all a lie until I experienced it for myself today. He rolled his eye with every proof of domestic violence I gave in, including a threat to kill me from my ex husband which was stated it directly came from in. Yet he didn't grant it, I shall be back with a attorney to redo this case. 8773. attorney (private practice) He doesn't deserve 1 star.

 Out of the 100 or so judges I've had the pleasure of practicing in front of...he is by far, like really far, the worst. He should be removed from office. 8900. party to case (with attorney) what an excellent judge. he saved the kids form abusive alcoholic mother with mental history who lied to get her spouse in jail which the husband easily beat the charges. more of these type of judges are needed with morals. 9059. party to case (with attorney) To 10/03/17 & 10/05/17.

 You guys are right on the money. Both judges do not understand the family law and are extremely vengeful. I recommend that you send complaints also to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Nothing will get done, but eventually they will get enough complaints about this 2 power drunk judges. 9084. party to case (pro se) Judge prine is a very horrible judge, he doesn't go by the law, he makes up his own rules and I feel he really hates women. I've also seen judge Ramos work and she doesn't even care about her job. Both of these judges are corrupted. Judge prine is a woman hater and will always side with the father no matter what. We need these judges out the system.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Parents joy is derived from their children achievements

We have to do everything in our power as parents to ensure Government  don't lay claim to our children, compromising their future destroying their lives forever. Family courts destroy parents and children present and future life forever.

Take advantage of opportunities for our children's education

Congress assault on families using child support. continues.

Law makers continue their efforts at destroying American families. While national criticism of family law and specifically child support continues nation wide, Congress is again using financial child support to continue imposing further hardships on parents and children. Congress has been responsible for unbelievable family hardships in America for many years. Congress is directly responsible for family destruction, poverty, social evils and community demise. Congress has destroyed families and are responsible for calamities experienced in American society today.

 Make no mistake, family laws represent criminalizing law abiding citizens and extorting financial resources from especially minority families ensuring minorities remain dependent on political handouts and social programs. Where politicians don't find tax increases popular with American population, law makers have no problem taxing parents more than 25% of their salaries, many of these parents struggling paycheck to paycheck.

 Child support has always been about money to States and judicial institutions; Studies have shown that child support rarely assist children and recipients often support bad social habits and other financial circumstances. Congress always seem to ignore harm caused by their actions and overwhelming evidence that their involvement in critical areas of American life usually result in tremendous harm and hardships to so many. The following statements by influential congressmen clearly shows disconnect and community related ignorance associated with their position on child support.

 These congressmen ignores national problems associated with child support to include parents committing suicide, military active personnel losing their children, judges erasing children parent relationships, children placed in dangerous situations as a result of judges careless use of family laws, poverty,lowered self esteem, inability to compete in society are evils associated with family laws. Congress has to find a common theme that the general public can associate with to initiate their brain wash needed to impose financial hardships on the American parents vulnerable to laws that results in them being made criminals while providing easy money to States.

. Dead beat parents provide them the option. Can anyone believe forcefully taking money from parents to give to State programs, provide support to children? Having a child grow with knowledge that their lives have been financed using food stamps, Government insurance,free school meals and child support forcefully taken from an other wise caring and loving parent is in the best interest of the child? An analysis of statements from three congressmen below clearly shows ignorance and out of touch conclusions by key members of America's congress responsible to laws that Americans are to be governed by,

 There is no emphasis on parents spending time with their children and that children are used by family courts and parents to punish parents disadvantaged by America family laws. If these congressmen were sincere, they would pay attention to the best interest of children to include all aspects beneficial to them and not the financial component that they can forcefully enforce. In announcing the legislation Congressman Boustany said, “This president thinks he can use his pen and phone to make sweeping policy changes without legislation, but it is Congress’ role to determine child support policy, not the administration’s.

 The president’s rule could potentially let delinquent parents off the hook when we should be focused on structuring these important programs to promote strong families.” Senator Hatch said, “This legislation is necessary to reaffirm Congress’ role in legislating social welfare policy …Last year the administration issued a proposed rule that, if made final in its current form, would make it easier for non-custodial parents to evade paying child support—a move that could potentially force some American families to go on welfare. Deadbeat parents, not hardworking taxpayers, should be held accountable for their financial responsibilities.

 Our bill will prevent the administration from going forward with a unilateral approach that bypasses the Congress yet again and undermines this key feature of welfare policy.” Senator Cornyn echoed those comments in saying “While Attorney General of Texas, I fought to hold deadbeat parents responsible for paying the financial support their children deserve, and I am troubled to see President Obama go around Congress to undermine similar effort. This bill will stop the president’s unilateral action and ensure our child support laws protect innocent children and taxpayers, not absentee parents.” Speaker Ryan had one of the most sensible, reasonable and appropriate approach to family law reform and especially regarding child support.

 What creates the need for financial child support? The speaker of the House flirted with providing aid necessary to address the needs for supporting the child. His approach is outside the thinking of most politicians. However the idea that parents need should be evaluated and support be given to address the needs of children makes sense. For example a parent with control of children unable to receive financial assistance from the other parent who is able to provide some level of assistance, has a job but has transportation problems.

The need is transportation and that able parent should provide that assistance to enable continued support of the child. If housing is the problem aid should be provide to meet that need. Law makers should address the best interest of children while not leaving parents option other than to end their own lives, many times taking their children in the process, CPS ravaging families and family court judges erasing family structures and destroying communities and cultures in the process. Law makers must be held responsibility for the actions they take that result in death to parents, injury and harm to our children including scars some irreparable that they have to live with past 18 years for the remainder of their lives.

 The need exists for a medium that identifies these tragedy to the lawmakers that enabled them, available for anyone to find. Such a medium will remove hiding places for politicians who find comfort in making perilous decisions then simply walking away living lives undisturbed by the calamities they have created. Familyactivist@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH. PROTEST JUDICIAL CHILD ABUSE

An area not spoken of relating to child abuse is family courts bias. Charged with providing expertise in the best interest of the child, family courts have grown a culture that seem to use children as prawns to influence punitive measures against targeted parents, courts seem not to favor parents in cases when the parent is not of their choosing.

 Children are abused in many form unnecessarily by family courts. Many situations involving separation and or divorce may have existed for months or years and resolutions to many issues would have been established. Family court would usually be seen as a means of legitimizing decisions already in place.
Then comes the City or State and special interest representatives to include judges, attorneys, social workers and other interest to initiate the family ordeal.

 Guaranteed to initiate a situation ridden with procedures that all but ensure suffering and misery to children and parents ensuring confusion and enmity between parents and all sorts of negative consequences for children.

 Family court 246 Houston Texas is staffed by two judges male and female. One would think the combination would bring about balance decisions favorable to children. Not so. Rulings from the court seem to depict clear disparities favorable to mothers at a ratio 80 to 20% against fathers. In real life, situations of research dealing with similar matrix hoping to achieve equity with such disparity would by very alarming necessitating systematic review.
Judicial child abuse is an area that should concern everyone because of the potential to affect many children for long periods with unbelievable consequences.

 What is damning is that judges seem to care less about obvious abuse to children caused by their indifference to humanity, careless disregard for laws and knowledge that law makers and citizens have accepted latitude given to them.

 Laws, statutes, higher court opinions, codes and American Constitution should be sufficient assets for judges to use without the national brain wash provided to judges to determine disputes involving families.

 Giving judges wide latitude to determine family issues, armed with lawyers, social services and the almighty attorney general office against a vulnerable minority parent unable to afford legal representation is like demanding a one leg man run up hill chased by a pack of hungry dogs with a referee given the responsibility to determine the duration of the race. Clearly no latitude is needed in this scenario.

 Cases should be decided on merit, without any unnecessary advantage to any party. The coins should be allowed to fall where they may, which is not the case with family cases.
Family court 246 Houston seem to consistently make use of its latitude, denying litigants of civil rights and due process also openly violating constitutional rights of parties not of their liking. What is even more disturbing is that both judges seemingly show the same disregard for basic humanity choosing to use both deceitful and punitive measures to punish parents wanting one thing, that to love and protect their children.

 One mother told me court 246 took the side of a felon and advocated and ruled against her in a custody case. I know of a case where a mother abandoned two children for more than two years. Approaching conclusion of the divorce case, the judges took turns getting rid of the father from his home of 15 years and returning the abandoning mother to the house and the children.
April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month by presidential proclamation in 1983. Since then, April has been a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse.

 In Child Maltreatment 2015 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau) it was reported that in FFY 2015 in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, an estimated 683,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect; and 1,670 children died as a result of abuse or neglect.

 The majority of child abuse cases stemmed from situations and conditions that can be preventable when community programs and systems are engaged and supportive. A community that cares about early childhood development, parental support, and maternal mental health, for instance, is more likely to foster nurturing families and healthy children.

A body of research has identified factors known to prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect. These factors—including parental resilience, nurturing and attachment, social connections, knowledge about parenting and child development, social and emotional competence of children, and concrete supports for parents—are outlined in Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being:

 A Network for Action 2017 Resource Guide, also developed by the Children's Bureau. In recognition of the collaborations needed to help prevent child abuse and neglect, the NCTSN has compiled a list of resources for advocates and policy makers, children and adolescents, educators, families and communities, and mental health and child welfare professionals.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ARE FAMILY COURT JUDGES 246 HOUSTON BIGOTS? ARE THEY HOMOPHOBICS?

Family court judge 246 Harris county Houston Texas, has gained the distinct reputation of being unjust and unfair. He is also a profound bigot and is clearly homophobic. Family court 246 is a concern to the reputation of the judicial system. Justice and fairness are building blocks for the judicial system of America.

 When trust in the system is lost, ideals, trust and confidence are all qualifications that are destroyed to the detriment of the entire judicial system. Family court trial judge 246 Houston seem to openly express his role is helping litigants of the court. Not providing equity and justice consistent with American laws. This judge imply his court is not accountable to laws, rules, statutes, codes or the constitution out side his dictate of what the laws in his court will be.

 Court 246 is a very dangerous institution that ignores due process and is bias to cultures and life styles disapprove by the court. This judge exhibits open disgust towards gays and lesbians, and don't seem to recognize the Supreme Court approval of same sex marriage.

Family court judge 246 Houston Texas ruled a father with visitation would have to receive written permission from his ex wife if he was to leave the children with any male, not immediate family or blood relative. This judge ignore males to include teachers, doctors, priests and other males that may have to provide services of one type or another to the children.
This judge has attracted demonstrations against his homophobic beliefs and bigotry and these demonstrations are likely to continue.

 The question can be asked, how is it such an intolerable, obviously very angry, unfair and bias judge exist in one of the most diversified counties in America.

 Family court 246 openly violates citizens civil rights, and constitutional rights to include, 1st, 7th and 14th amendments. Left unchecked family court 246 will maintain its reputation as being one of the most dangerous, dysfunctional institutions for children and parents in America. Familyactivist@gmail.com / techparalegal.us

Saturday, April 15, 2017

THE DISGUSTING HIDDEN ROLE OF FAMILY COURTS.

Unless family courts understand that its prime focus has to be fairness, equality and justice, family court can serve no useful purpose. For too long, family court judges have used violence, threats and anger to demand respect and authority in the courts, while being indifferent to the situations, anguish pain and suffering associated with the cases they are charged to determine. let us get one thing clear, persons associated with family courts are mostly law abiding citizens providing for their families with no intention of altering their responsibility.

The time comes when expertise is required, mostly to provide a frame work that families encountering problems can work with. In many cases children form part of disputes that family court is responsible to address. It is not unusual to find situations where most problems have been solved but the parties need legal confirmation and have no other option outside family courts. Although best interest of children is one of the most important consideration that family court judges should keep in mind, parents needs and responsibilities will always play an important role in determining children interest.
Family court should not entertain the calculus that over burdening one parent placing them at a disadvantage in separation or divorce is in the best interest of any one involved in a family dispute. Family court can be useful only if judges are litigant blind and resort to facts, rules, codes and laws associated with trial cases.

 Family courts seem to assume positions vital to cases prior to trial. The role of attorneys, their affluence, relationship with judges, should have no decision effect on a case prior to trial. Attorneys should provide legal direction to the court involving cases and should advocate legal requirements for the case.

Gone are the days when attorneys seem to cared about laws, truth or responsibility, although always charged with advocating for their clients, family court attorneys go way beyond that role. They lie, cheat, and short cut legal requirements of the court. Attorneys with small practices seem to be far more worthless compared to large legal companies, yet large companies are ridiculously expensive for reasons we can understand.

 Family court judges are required to manage courts providing justice bases on evidence supported with laws, codes, rules and opinions written and available for intelligent rulings. Family court judges seem to prefer using their preferential obviously bias interpretations to determine their rulings having nothing to do with legal requirements. Laws are provided to solve this very issue.
Justice is lost in family courts. Family court 246 Houston, Texas is well known for characteristics not expected of an institution responsible for managing delicate issues of any kind and certainly not associate with families. Dealing with this court one gets the distinct impression that law and order has no role in the court. The court seem to operate using modules of intimidation, fear, piracy, and confusion. One gets the impression that the court is one cover up then another.

One judge makes an obvious error the other makes certain it is covered. The court seem to have waiting attorneys ready to assist the court in accomplishing results detrimental to all parties involved with cases in the court. Family court 246 seem to have no problem intimidating litigants, denying parties of their choosing due process, using children to punish parents they don't support in cases, having nothing to do with evidence or laws, using threat of one party paying the other attorney fees, or simply refusing to bring to the court, motions, orders or processes accepted by the court.

Both judges of family courts assume the role of Lords of the court, using any meant, wants or likes to determine critical situations and decisions from the court. Family court 246 determines requirements for cases by setting levels of difficulty, the more the judges despise one party the more difficult the bar of evidence, the appropriateness for applicable laws, and the more personal influence negative to the despised party is provided by the trial judges

. As a matter of urgency the judges ruling, not serving family court 246 Houston should be separated and the entire staff including security should be reassigned. The trial judge seem to have a well established reputation as a bully and many of his staff seem to simply adhere to his positions. These are dedicated workers whose careers will forever be tainted and stained by the tragedy's they witness originating from family court 246 Houston Texas. They witness parents who are frightened of the trial judge for reasons having nothing to do with their legal process, but is anger, loudness, disrespectful, arrogant, and most of all his reputation in the community for being the alpha and omega for the law in the court.
Like a pirate family court uses child support as a means of destroying a parent not of their liking, ability to provide for their family and certainly defending themselves against to ravages of the court. Family court 246 Houston knows once a ruling is made against a party not of their liking it is all but impossible to get it set aside. They are aware of finances and resources.

 These judges do not loose much time at crippling a litigant using temporary orders. These orders are used to pave the way for the final blow when they strip their opponents of happiness, liberty and property. Satisfied with their accomplishment, these judicial pirates simply move to acquire the next loot.

 Familyactivist@gmail.com Family court judges should conform to laws and not latitudes given them by their pairs. The playing field has to be level with both parties to a dispute having to be governed by legal requirements. Once a party to a dispute realizes the goal is moved to justify the ruling of the a party regardless of how barbaric the decision is that process is no longer authentic and will loose authority.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

At what age does their learning and attention span begin?

This little angel is 8 months old and already has a liking for technology and media. Here she is occupying  her travel time viewing videos.

What is amazing is the attention span of someone that young focused on an area of interest to them.
My concern is with events that interfere or interpret these interest without concern for I'll effects.
Parent separation and divorce has to have tremendous I'll effect on the development of children.  Although  parents do not possess expertise to evaluate effects on children when their areas of preferred interests are suddenly interrupted or destroyed, it is wildly accepted that developmental interruptions has negative effects on children especially at an early age.


One of the most common source of family division is family courts. The institution makes decision that affect lives of children in a way no other circumstance can.
Family courts are I'll equipped to provide situations that take into account the progressive education requirements of children.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Violation of civil and human rights any where are violations every where.

Criticism of actions taken by President Trump is shameful and deplorable. At some point we have to take sides.
Are we for the actions of Russia and Syria or are we for humanity suffering extremely brutal actions in their own country.

Chemical weapons used deliberately to suck life from already brutalized people is not  an action that deserve verbal condemnation, but actions that cannot be misunderstood.
Media commentators should not made political  statements to aid in comforting those who find no problem gasing children, babies, men and women.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

FAMILY COURTS THE GREATEST THREAT TO FAMILIES. FUTURES

Family court judges should not be entrusted to determine which parent is better for a child during divorce or separation.

Family court judges are simply disconnected from best interest of a child instead they are involved with determining punishment for the parent not of their liking.
Parents have strong desires and aspirations for their children that  politicians and judges do not possess.

We all as parents strive to provide  for our children what we dream for ourselves. We want them to be astronauts, scientists, engineers, doctors and the like.

We view these precious little one as creation from another world. Family courts view our pearls as numbers used to justify a cause, tools used to punish parents not of the judge personal liking and  products used to attracted resources to the court system, benefit attorneys, staff and want list of the court.

We have to protect our children from  judges and institutions with agenda that does not include the best interest of the child.
Profiteering using children and parent demise is cruel, inhumane, corrupt and morally illegal if not illegal.

All too often family court judges blind themselves to the needs and interest of children, making their lives a living hell, with no legal authority or justify able basis.
Sadly, there is little recuse for many and virtually none for minorities where  judges prefer to prey.
These vulnerable minority parents do not have resources to provide relief for their children, and have to experience  pain and suffering lamenting the carnage caused by erroneous  results of  family court orders.

Parents should, unless confirmed by civilian monitors, never be isolated from their children, and parents should be given every opportunity to be with their children.
It is far too easy for the almighty attorney general office and a mentally distorted judge to change  parent child relationship. Once done this change is not reversible, both parent and child are damaged in one way or another and the system simply move to claim it's next victim.
Familyactivist@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

FAMILY COURTS DETERMINING CHILDREN FUTURE CAREERS TO THEIR DETRIMENT.

Family courts have taken the role of parents and are creating a generation of children so deprived of family social structure that competitive involvement in society's activities is nonexistent.

Family courts are destroying family child relationships for reasons having nothing to do with the best interest of children.

Opportunities for especially female children have been reduced to family law involvement.
Profit verses child consideration seem to be the priority of family court.
If this trend continue to exist, minorities will forever loose the ability to compete in today's competitive work environment.

We will forever lose careers in science and technology and engineering. We will not have careers as astronaut, involved with robotics and fields like artificial intelligence.
One could conclude that family court is systematically determining the future for minorities and their future role for developmental opportunities in America.

There is no doubt that family court 246 is determined to  ensure children are disadvantaged  by having one parent.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES DENIED CHILDREN BY FAMILY COURTS

It is well documented that careers in science and technology are dominated by males. Females are lagging in these fields.
Verizon wireless is supporting efforts at increasing female interest in engineering. While society is observing that need, family courts continue to use one formula to settle issues at divorce or separation of parents.
The court magic formula is mother awarded children, primary home and children; father is charged with medical insurance, medicals and 25% of salary. Father has to pay social  credit card bills and attorney fees for mother.
What family court is accomplishing in essence is depriving children access to their father. As angry as family court 246 court judge is in court dealing with family issues, what is lost is the best interest of the child.

I cannot imagine a two year trial where neither judge of family court, respondent attorney or respondent make one mention emphasizing best interest of children.
An entire case  was based on respondent mostly social debt acquired after deserting home and children, fabricated stories of  adultery  cruelty, future funds for protection mothers future, like purchasing life insurance naming respondent sole beneficiary and attorney fees.

Family court efforts at denying visitation between fathers and especially daughters retards  interest in technical careers, since research has shown children are attracted to the careers of parents.
In one case of separation a 10 year old was fascinated with electricity, chemical and mechanical sciences. Family court judge and associate judges ignore this child's future turning her education to a mother that care little about education.

Now the mother is frequently involving police to solve domestic home issues involving the children, family court 246 has refused for two weeks, to respond to a TRO that documents the situation the children are living with.
Family court ignores the best interest of children favoring resources for their court. Family court reform is needed  if integrity is to be returned to the court.
Familyactivist@gmail.com.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

DOES JUSTICE AND EQUITY EXIST IN FAMILY COURTS?

In one hearing, the opinion says, when speaking to a woman who was seeking an order of protection against her then-husband in a domestic violence case, Watkins blamed the woman for “shooting off your fat mouth about what happened,” told her to “Shut up!” and then continued: “Shut up! You stupid woman.

 Can’t even act properly. One more word out of you that you aren’t asked a question you’re out of here, and you will be found in direct contempt of court and I will fine you appropriately. So, shut your mouth. You know I hate it when people are just acting out of sheer spite and stupidity.” The court also criticized Watkins for failing to make timely rulings, failing to comply with court orders to do so and failing to see that his staff timely completed required tasks, such as entering protective orders into the state’s domestic violence registry.

 The Charleston Gazette says Watkins did not respond to a Tuesday phone call seeking comment and notes that the court entered an order that retains Deloris Nibert, a former Mason County family court judge who was appointed by the court in December to handle Watkins’ caseload after he took an emergency medical leave. Watkins did not contest the conduct cited by a hearing board of the Judicial Investigation Commission when it recommended that he be suspended without pay for the remainder of his term in office, which concludes on Dec. 31, 2016.

 However, he argued that the sanction amounted to removal from office, which the state constitution allows only the West Virginia legislature to do, by impeachment. Hence, the judge said, the supreme court didn’t have the power to suspend him for the rest of his term. The court disagreed, distinguishing impeachment, which would also have stripped Watkins of his pension and prohibited him from serving in office again, from a suspension and saying that public policy requires that the court use its inherent powers to protect lawyers and litigants from a judge who is unable or unwilling to do his job properly.

It also censured Watkins for 24 violations of nine canons of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct, which are printed in full in the opinion. “Socrates said, ‘Four things belong to a judge: to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially,’” the court wrote. “We recognize that regulating the demeanor of a judge is a difficult task, because judges are human and may occasionally display anger or annoyance, and lawyers and litigants sometimes incite judges. Judges must also be allowed some flexibility in criticizing the performance of lawyers who appear before them.

But a judge owes a duty to treat lawyers and litigants courteously, to hear them patiently, to study their arguments and evidence conscientiously, and to decide their cases promptly.” In a concurring opinion (PDF), Chief Justice Brent Benjamin agreed that Watkins should be suspended without pay for the rest of his term but disagreed about the manner in which the court imposed this sanction. Instead of using inherent judicial powers, which opens the door to potential misuse in the future for political reasons, the court should have simply imposed consecutively the one-year suspensions it is clearly authorized to impose under the state constitution, he wrote.

 “While I have the utmost respect for my colleagues and the professionalism of our current court and share their belief that the admittedly harsh sanction in this case is fully justified, I fear how a highly partisan or polarized future court might misuse this expansive new precedent.”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

WHY ARE JUDGES NOT SUBJECT TO AMERICAN LAWS?

TEXAS CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT (As amended by the Supreme Court of Texas through August 22, 2002) Preamble Our legal system is based on the principle that an independent, fair and competent judiciary will interpret and apply the laws that govern us. The role of the judiciary is central to American concepts of justice and the rule of law. Intrinsic to all sections of this Code of Judicial Conduct are the precepts that judges, individually and collectively, must respect and honor the judicial office as a public trust and strive to enhance and maintain confidence in our legal system. The judge is an arbiter of facts and law for the resolution of disputes and a highly visible symbol of government under the rule of law.

 The Code of Judicial Conduct is not intended as an exhaustive guide for the conduct of judges. They should also be governed in their judicial and personal conduct by general ethical standards. The Code is intended, however, to state basic standards which should govern the conduct of all judges and to provide guidance to assist judges in establishing and maintaining high standards of judicial and personal conduct.

 Canon 1: Upholding the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining and enforcing high standards of conduct, and should personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary is preserved. The provisions of this Code are to be construed and applied to further that objective.

Canon 2: Avoiding Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All of the Judge’s Activities A. A judge shall comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. B. A judge shall not allow any relationship to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness. C. A judge shall not knowingly hold membership in any organization that practices discrimination prohibited by law.

 Canon 3: Performing the Duties of Judicial Office Impartially and Diligently A. Judicial Duties in General. The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all the judge's other activities. Judicial duties include all the duties of the judge's office prescribed by law. In the performance of these duties, the following standards apply: B. Adjudicative Responsibilities.

 (1) A judge shall hear and decide matters assigned to the judge except those in which disqualification is required or recusal is appropriate.

 (2) A judge should be faithful to the law and shall maintain professional competence in it. A judge shall not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.

(3) A judge shall require order and decorum in proceedings before the judge. (4) A judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and should require similar conduct of lawyers, and of staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's direction and control.

 (5) A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. (6) A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, and shall not knowingly permit staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's direction and control to do so.

 (7) A judge shall require lawyers in proceedings before the court to refrain from manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status against parties, witnesses, counsel or others. This requirement does not preclude legitimate advocacy when any of these factors is an issue in the proceeding.

(8) A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be heard according to law. A judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications or other communications made to the judge outside the presence of the parties between the judge and a party, an attorney, a guardian or attorney ad litem, an alternative dispute resolution neutral, or any other court appointee concerning the merits of a pending or impending judicial proceeding.

 A judge shall require compliance with this subsection by court personnel subject to the judge's direction and control. This subsection does not prohibit: (a) communications concerning uncontested administrative or uncontested procedural matters; (b) conferring separately with the parties and/or their lawyers in an effort to mediate or settle matters, provided, however, that the judge shall first give notice to all parties and not thereafter hear any contested matters between the parties except with the consent of all parties; (c) obtaining the advice of a disinterested expert on the law applicable to a proceeding before the judge if the judge gives notice to the parties of the person consulted and the substance of the advice, and affords the parties reasonable opportunity to respond; (d) consulting with other judges or with court personnel; (e) considering an ex parte communication expressly authorized by law.

 (9) A judge should dispose of all judicial matters promptly, efficiently and fairly. (10) A judge shall abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding which may come before the judge's court in a manner which suggests to a reasonable person the judge's probable decision on any particular case. This prohibition applies to any candidate for judicial office, with respect to judicial proceedings pending or impending in the court on which the candidate would serve if elected. A judge shall require similar abstention on the part of court personnel subject to the judge's direction and control.

 This section does not prohibit judges from making public statements in the course of their official duties or from explaining for public information the procedures of the court. This section does not apply to proceedings in which the judge or judicial candidate is a litigant in a personal capacity. (11) A judge shall not disclose or use, for any purpose unrelated to judicial duties, nonpublic information acquired in a judicial capacity. The discussions, votes, positions taken, and writings of appellate judges and court personnel about causes are confidences of the court and shall be revealed only through a court's judgment, a written opinion or in accordance with Supreme Court guidelines for a court approved history project. C. Administrative Responsibilities.

 (1) A judge should diligently and promptly discharge the judge's administrative responsibilities without bias or prejudice and maintain professional competence in judicial administration, and should cooperate with other judges and court officials in the administration of court business.

 (2) A judge should require staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's direction and control to observe the standards of fidelity and diligence that apply to the judge and to refrain from manifesting bias or prejudice in the performance of their official duties.

 (3) A judge with supervisory authority for the judicial performance of other judges should take reasonable measures to assure the prompt disposition of matters before them and the proper performance of their other judicial responsibilities. (4) A judge shall not make unnecessary appointments. A judge shall exercise the power of appointment impartially and on the basis of merit. A judge shall avoid nepotism and favoritism. A judge shall not approve compensation of appointees beyond the fair value of services rendered.

 (5) A judge shall not fail to comply with Rule 12 of the Rules of Judicial Administration, knowing that the failure to comply is in violation of the rule. D. Disciplinary Responsibilities. (1) A judge who receives information clearly establishing that another judge has committed a violation of this Code should take appropriate action. A judge having knowledge that another judge has committed a violation of this Code that raises a substantial question as to the other judge's fitness for office shall inform the State Commission on Judicial Conduct or take other appropriate action. (2) A judge who receives information clearly establishing that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct should take appropriate action.

A judge having knowledge that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the Office of the General Counsel of the State Bar of Texas or take other appropriate action. Canon 4: Conducting the Judge's Extra-Judicial Activities to Minimize the Risk of Conflict with Judicial Obligations A. Extra-Judicial Activities in General. A judge shall conduct all of the judge's extra- judicial activities so that they do not: (1) cast reasonable doubt on the judge's capacity to act impartially as a judge; or (2) interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties.

 B. Activities to Improve the Law. A judge may: (1) speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in extra-judicial activities concerning the law, the legal system, the administration of justice and non-legal subjects, subject to the requirements of this Code; and, (2) serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.

 A judge may assist such an organization in raising funds and may participate in their management and investment, but should not personally participate in public fund raising activities. He or she may make recommendations to public and private fund-granting agencies on projects and programs concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice. C. Civic or Charitable Activities.

 A judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon the judge's impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties. A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization not conducted for the profit of its members, subject to the following limitations: (1) A judge should not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge or will be regularly or frequently engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.

 (2) A judge shall not solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization, but may be listed as an officer, director, delegate, or trustee of such an organization, and may be a speaker or a guest of honor at an organization's fund raising events.

 (3) A judge should not give investment advice to such an organization, but may serve on its board of directors or trustees even though it has the responsibility for approving investment decisions. D. Financial Activities.

(1) A judge shall refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on the judge's impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of the judicial duties, exploit his or her judicial position, or involve the judge in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which the judge serves. This limitation does not prohibit either a judge or candidate from soliciting funds for appropriate campaign or officeholder expenses as permitted by state law. (2) Subject to the requirements of subsection

(1), a judge may hold and manage investments, including real estate, and engage in other remunerative activity including the operation of a business. A judge shall not be an officer, director or manager of a publicly owned business. For purposes of this Canon, a "publicly owned business" is a business having more than ten owners who are not related to the judge by consanguinity or affinity within the third degree of relationship.

 (3) A judge should manage any investments and other economic interests to minimize the number of cases in which the judge is disqualified. As soon as the judge can do so without serious financial detriment, the judge should divest himself or herself of investments and other economic interests that might require frequent disqualification. A judge shall be informed about the judge's personal and fiduciary economic interests, and make a reasonable effort to be informed about the personal economic interests of any family member residing in the judge's household. (4) Neither a judge nor a family member residing in the judge's household shall accept a gift, bequest, favor, or loan from anyone except as follows:

(a) a judge may accept a gift incident to a public testimonial to the judge; books and other resource materials supplied by publishers on a complimentary basis for official use; or an invitation to the judge and spouse to attend a bar-related function or activity devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice;

 (b) a judge or a family member residing in the judge's household may accept ordinary social hospitality; a gift, bequest, favor, or loan from a relative; a gift from a friend for a special occasion such as a wedding, engagement, anniversary, or birthday, if the gift is fairly commensurate with the occasion and the relationship; a loan from a lending institution in its regular course of business on the same terms generally available to persons who are not judges; or a scholarship or fellowship awarded on the same terms applied to other applicants;

(c) a judge or a family member residing in the judge's household may accept any other gift, bequest, favor, or loan only if the donor is not a party or person whose interests have come or are likely to come before the judge;

 (d) a gift, award or benefit incident to the business, profession or other separate activity of a spouse or other family member residing in the judge's household, including gifts, awards and benefits for the use of both the spouse or other family member and the judge (as spouse or family member), provided the gift, award or benefit could not reasonably be perceived as intended to influence the judge in the performance of judicial duties. E. Fiduciary Activities.

 (1) A judge shall not serve as executor, administrator or other personal representative, trustee, guardian, attorney in fact or other fiduciary, except for the estate, trust or person of a member of the judge's family, and then only if such service will not interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties. (2) A judge shall not serve as a fiduciary if it is likely that the judge as a fiduciary will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge, or if the estate, trust, or ward becomes involved in adversary proceedings in the court on which the judge serves or one under its appellate jurisdiction.

 (3) The same restrictions on financial activities that apply to a judge personally also apply to the judge while acting in a fiduciary capacity. F. Service as Arbitrator or Mediator. An active full-time judge shall not act as an arbitrator or mediator for compensation outside the judicial system, but a judge may encourage settlement in the performance of official duties. G. Practice of Law. A judge shall not practice law except as permitted by statute or this Code. Notwithstanding this prohibition, a judge may act pro se and may, without compensation, give legal advice to and draft or review documents for a member of the judge's family. H. Extra-Judicial Appointments

 Except as otherwise provided by constitution and statute, a judge should not accept appointment to a governmental committee, commission, or other position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. A judge, however, may represent his or her country, state, or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection with historical, educational, and cultural activities. COMMENT TO 2000 CHANGE This change is to clarify that a judge may serve on the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. I. Compensation, Reimbursement and Reporting. (1) Compensation and Reimbursement. A judge may receive compensation and reimbursement of expenses for the extra-judicial activities permitted by this Code, if the source of such payments does not give the appearance of influencing the judge's performance of judicial duties or otherwise give the appearance of impropriety. (a) Compensation shall not exceed a reasonable amount nor shall it exceed what a person who is not a judge would receive for the same activity.

 (b) Expense reimbursement shall be limited to the actual cost of travel, food, and lodging reasonably incurred by the judge and, where appropriate to the occasion, by the judge's family. Any payment in excess of such an amount is compensation. (2) Public Reports. A judge shall file financial and other reports as required by law. Canon 5: Refraining from Inappropriate Political Activity (1) A judge or judicial candidate shall not: (i) make pledges or promises of conduct in office regarding pending or impending cases, specific classes of cases, specific classes of litigants, or specific propositions of law that would suggest to a reasonable person that the judge is predisposed to a probable decision in cases within the scope of the pledge; (ii) knowingly or recklessly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent; or (iii) make a statement that would violate Canon 3B(10). (2) A judge or judicial candidate shall not authorize the public use of his or her name endorsing another candidate for any public office, except that either may indicate support for a political party.

A judge or judicial candidate may attend political events and express his or her views on political matters in accord with this Canon and Canon 3B(10). (3) A judge shall resign from judicial office upon becoming a candidate in a contested election for a non-judicial office either in a primary or in a general or in a special election. A judge may continue to hold judicial office while being a candidate for election to or serving as a delegate in a state constitutional convention or while being a candidate for election to any judicial office. (4) A judge or judicial candidate subject to the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act, Tex. Elec. Code §253.151, et seq. (the “Act”), shall not knowingly commit an act for which he or she knows the Act imposes a penalty.

 Contributions returned in accordance with Sections 253.155(e), 253.157(b) or 253.160(b) of the Act are not a violation of this paragraph. COMMENT A statement made during a campaign for judicial office, whether or not prohibited by this Canon, may cause a judge’s impartiality to be reasonably questioned in the context of a particular case and may result in recusal. Canon 6: Compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct A. The following persons shall comply with all provisions of this Code: (1) An active, full-time justice or judge of one of the following courts: (a) the Supreme Court, (b) the Court of Criminal Appeals, (c) courts of appeals, (d) district courts, (e) criminal district courts, and (f) statutory county courts.

 (2) A full-time commissioner, master, magistrate, or referee of a court listed in (1) above. B. A County Judge who performs judicial functions shall comply with all provisions of this Code except the judge is not required to comply: (1) when engaged in duties which relate to the judge's role in the administration of the county; (2) with Canons 4D(2), 4D(3), or 4H; (3) with Canon 4G, except practicing law in the court on which he or she serves or in any court subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the county court, or acting as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she has served as a judge or in any proceeding related thereto. (4) with Canon 5(3). C. Justices of the Peace and

Municipal Court Judges. (1) A justice of the peace or municipal court judge shall comply with all provisions of this Code, except the judge is not required to comply: (a) with Canon 3B(8) pertaining to ex parte communications; in lieu thereof a justice of the peace or municipal court judge shall comply with 6C(2) below; (b) with Canons 4D(2), 4D(3), 4E, or 4H; (c) with Canon 4F, unless the court on which the judge serves may have jurisdiction of the matter or parties involved in the arbitration or mediation; or (d) if an attorney, with Canon 4G, except practicing law in the court on which he or she serves, or acting as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she has served as a judge or in any proceeding related thereto. (e) with Canons 5(3). (2) A justice of the peace or a municipal court judge, except as authorized by law, shall not directly or indirectly initiate, permit, nor consider ex parte or other communications concerning the merits of a pending judicial proceeding.

This subsection does not prohibit communications concerning: (a) uncontested administrative matters, (b) uncontested procedural matters, (c) magistrate duties and functions, (d) determining where jurisdiction of an impending claim or dispute may lie, (e) determining whether a claim or dispute might more appropriately be resolved in some other judicial or non-judicial forum, (f) mitigating circumstances following a plea of nolo contendere or guilty for a fine- only offense, or (g) any other matters where ex parte communications are contemplated or authorized by law. D. A Part-time commissioner, master, magistrate, or referee of a court listed in Canon 6A(1) above: (1) shall comply with all provisions of this Code, except he or she is not required to comply with Canons 4D(2), 4E, 4F, 4G or 4H, and (2) should not practice law in the court which he or she serves or in any court subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the court which he or she serves, or act as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she has served as a commissioner, master, magistrate, or referee, or in any other proceeding related thereto. E.

A Judge Pro Tempore, while acting as such: (1) shall comply with all provisions of this Code applicable to the court on which he or she is serving, except he or she is not required to comply with Canons 4D(2), 4D(3), 4E, 4F, 4G or 4H, and (2) after serving as a judge pro tempore, should not act as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she has served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto. F. Any Senior Judge, or a former appellate or district judge, or a retired or former statutory county court judge who has consented to be subject to assignment as a judicial officer: (1) shall comply with all the provisions of this Code except he or she is not required to comply with Canon 4D(2), 4E, 4F, 4G, or 4H, but (2) should refrain from judicial service during the period of an extra-judicial appointment permitted by Canon 4H. G. Candidates for Judicial Office.

 (1) Any person seeking elective judicial office listed in Canon 6A(1) shall be subject to the same standards of Canon 5 that are required of members of the judiciary. (2) Any judge who violates this Code shall be subject to sanctions by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. (3) Any lawyer who is a candidate seeking judicial office who violates Canon 5 or other relevant provisions of this Code is subject to disciplinary action by the State Bar of Texas. (4) The conduct of any other candidate for elective judicial office, not subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) of this section, who violates Canon 5 or other relevant provisions of the Code is subject to review by the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, or the local District Attorney for appropriate action. H. Attorneys.

 Any lawyer who contributes to the violation of Canons 3B(7), 3B(10), 4D(4), 5, or 6C(2), or other relevant provisions of this Code, is subject to disciplinary action by the State Bar of Texas. Canon 7: Effective Date of Compliance A person to whom this Code becomes applicable should arrange his or her affairs as soon as reasonably possible to comply with it. Canon 8: Construction and Terminology of the Code A. Construction. The Code of Judicial Conduct is intended to establish basic standards for ethical conduct of judges. It consists of specific rules set forth in Sections under broad captions called Canons.

The Sections are rules of reason, which should be applied consistent with constitutional requirements, statutes, other court rules and decisional law and in the context of all relevant circumstances. The Code is to be construed so as not to impinge on the essential independence of judges in making judicial decisions. The Code is designed to provide guidance to judges and candidates for judicial office and to provide a structure for regulating conduct through the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. It is not designed or intended as a basis for civil liability or criminal prosecution.

Furthermore, the purpose of the Code would be subverted if the Code were invoked by lawyers for mere tactical advantage in a proceeding. It is not intended, however, that every transgression will result in disciplinary action. Whether disciplinary action is appropriate, and the degree of discipline to be imposed, should be determined through a reasonable and reasoned application of the text and should depend on such factors as the seriousness of the transgression, whether there is a pattern of improper activity and the effect of the improper activity on others or on the judicial system. B. Terminology. (1) "Shall" or "shall not" denotes binding obligations the violation of which can result in disciplinary action.

 (2) "Should" or "should not" relates to aspirational goals and as a statement of what is or is not appropriate conduct but not as a binding rule under which a judge may be disciplined. (3) "May" denotes permissible discretion or, depending on the context, refers to action that is not covered by specific proscriptions. (4) "De minimis" denotes an insignificant interest that could not raise reasonable question as to a judge's impartiality.

 (5) "Economic interest" denotes ownership of a more than de minimis legal or equitable interest, or a relationship as officer, director, advisor or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that: (i) ownership of an interest in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not an economic interest in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund or a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the interest; (ii) service by a judge as an officer, director, ad visor or other active participant, in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization or service by a judge's spouse, parent or child as an officer, director, advisor or other active participant in any organization does not create an economic interest in securities held by that organization; (iii) a deposit in a financial institution, the proprietary interest of a policy holder in a mutual insurance company, of a depositor in a mutual savings association or of a member in a credit union, or a similar proprietary interest, is not an economic interest in the organization unless a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the interest; and (iv) ownership of government securities is not an economic interest in the issuer unless a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of the securities.

 (6) "Fiduciary" includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, and guardian. (7) "Knowingly," "knowledge," "known" or "knows" denotes actual knowledge of the fact in question. A person's knowledge may be inferred from circumstances. (8) "Law" denotes court rules as well as statutes, constitutional provisions and decisional law. (9) "Member of the judge's (or the candidate's) family" denotes a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent or other relative or person with whom the candidate maintains a close familial relationship.

 (10) "Family member residing in the judge's household" means any relative of a judge by blood or marriage, or a person treated by a judge as a member of the judge's family, who resides at the judge's household. (11) "Require." The rules prescribing that a judge "require" certain conduct of others are, like all of the rules in this Code, rules of reason. The use of the term "require" in that context means a judge is to exercise reasonable direction and control over the conduct of those persons subject to the judge's direction and control. (12) "Third degree of relationship."

 The following persons are relatives within the third degree of relationship: great-grandparent, grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, child, grandchild, great-grandchild, nephew or niece. (13) "Retired Judge" means a person who receives from the Texas Judicial Retirement System, Plan One or Plan Two, an annuity based on service that was credited to the system. (Secs. 831.001 and 836.001, V.T.C.A. Government Code [Ch. 179, Sec. 1, 71st Legislature (1989)]

 (14) "Senior Judge" means a retired appellate or district judge who has consented to be subject to assignment pursuant to Section 75.001, Government Code. [Ch. 359, 69th Legislature, Reg. Session (1985)] (15) "Statutory County Court Judge" means the judge of a county court created by the legislature under Article V, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, including county courts at law, statutory probate courts, county criminal courts, county criminal courts of appeals, and county civil courts at law. (Sec. 21.009, V.T.C.A. Government Code [Ch. 2, Sec. 16.01(18), 71st Legislature (1989)]) (16) "County Judge" means the judge of the county court created in each county by Article V, Section 15, of the Texas Constitution. (Sec. 21.009, V.T.C.A. Government Code [Ch. 2, Sec. 16.01(18), 71st Legislature (1989)])

 (17) "Part-time" means service on a continuing or periodic basis, but with permission by law to devote time to some other profession or occupation and for which the compensation for that reason is less than that for full-time service. "Judge Pro Tempore" means a person who is appointed to the court. familyactivist@gmail.com / techparalegal.us

SAVAGE, VIOLENT OUT OF CONTROL FAMILY COURT JUDGES

Judges cannot be allowed to ignore rules and regulations and simply assume laws are not intended to be used against them. Family court trial judge court 246 Houston Texas has built a reputation that seeming assumes laws and legal requirements are not pertinent to him. I think the staff of 246 Family court Houston has seen the trial judge in such an acute stage of mental disorder and that he is so well known in political circles that he silently dares them to communicate his wrong doing using the court. Rule 2.15. RESPONDING TO JUDICIAL AND LAWYER MISCONDUCT

 (a) A judge having knowledge* that another judge has committed a violation of this Code that raises a substantial question regarding the judge’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a judge shall inform the appropriate authority.*

 (b) A judge having knowledge* that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question regarding the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer shall inform the appropriate authority.*

 (c) A judge who receives credible information indicating a substantial likelihood that another judge has committed a violation of this Code shall take appropriate action.

 (d) A judge who receives credible information indicating a substantial likelihood that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct shall take appropriate action.

Code Comparison The Hawai‘i Revised Code of Judicial Conduct modifies ABA Model Code Rule 2.15(C) and (D) by adding “credible.”

 COMMENT: [1]Taking action to address known misconduct is a judge’s obligation. Rules 2.15(a) and
(b) impose an obligation on the judge to report to the appropriate authority the known misconduct of another judge or a lawyer that raises a substantial question regarding the honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness of that judge or lawyer.

 Ignoring or denying known misconduct among one’s judicial colleagues or members of the legal profession undermines a judge’s responsibility to participate in efforts to ensure public respect for the justice system. This Rule limits the reporting obligation to misconduct that an independent judiciary must vigorously endeavor to prevent.
[2]A judge who does not have actual knowledge that another judge or a lawyer may have committed misconduct, but receives credible information indicating a substantial likelihood of such misconduct, is required to take appropriate action under Rules 2.15(c) and (d).

 Appropriate action may include, but is not limited to, communicating directly with the judge who may have violated this Code, communicating with a supervising judge, or reporting the suspected violation to the appropriate authority or other agency or body.

Similarly, actions to be taken in response to credible information indicating that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct may include, but are not limited to, communicating directly with the lawyer who may have committed the violation or reporting the suspected violation to the appropriate authority or other agency or body. familyactivist@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

ANGRY AND OUT OF CONTROL FAMILY COURT JUDGES

In a much too common bout of extreme anger Trial court Judge 246 Harris County exploded while attacking a litigant before his court. The litigant had several motions PRO SE with the court and was schedule for hearings before the trial judge. The court was involved with a trial until lunch break about 12:30 pm. Both Petitioner and Respondent were present for the morning session of the trial. Attorney for the Respondent appeared during the lunch break. Concluding the lunch break,

respondent attorney waived the petitioner to the bench where the judge was waiting. In a sudden burst of aggressive anger, the trial court judge screamed he was not of help to the petitioner and that the petitioner should take his case to the appellate court, since I had taken my case from his court.

The trial judge continued his rampage from the bench screaming to the petitioner that he was a liar and that he did not pay monies for material for the appellate court and that the petitioner was not meeting the financial requirement of the appeals court.

 His rage continued screaming loudly that he told the petitioner at the last meeting that he had nothing more to do with the case. then in a bizarre turn of events, the judge turned to the respondent attorney an inquired of him whether he said to the petitioner on 18 March, that he had nothing to with the case, to which the attorney answered yes.

The irony is this attorney was not present in the court that day and that he sent a certified excuse to the petitioner indicating he was in another court, unavailable for appearance in family court that day. In one hearing, the opinion says, when speaking to a woman who was seeking an order of protection against her then-husband in a domestic violence case, Watkins blamed the woman for “shooting off your fat mouth about what happened,” told her to “Shut up!” and then continued:

 On 18th March the trial judge was singing another tune stating the respondent was not served and that the petitioner has to give 7 days service to the respondent prior to trial. In that incident when the judge was in a state of rage much calmer than he was today, It was the Attorney General representative that saved the day explaining the method of service for herself and the respondent. The respondent was served certified mail return signature, and a notice of service was filed with the court.

A trial judge places the court in grave danger when he becomes deranged and obviously out of control. There was a trial waiting with 4 attorneys present in the court. There was obvious concern on expressed on their faced, and one could conclude the impression of the litigants in the court.

The trial judge of court 246 is obviously out of control, and his shouts of anger is very dangerous and unbecoming of a judicial institution. Lack of professionalism, integrity and control are qualities displayed by the judge.

Security officials approached the bench obviously concerned with the activities occurring in the court. Trial judge 246 should be given anger management training and made to show control and discipline deserving a professional. Below is a case of anger from a family court and steps taken to aid the out of control judge.

 This 246 family court judge turned the court into a street brawl and not a court of law. Trial Judge 246 H “Shut up! You stupid woman. Can’t even act properly. One more word out of you that you aren’t asked a question you’re out of here, and you will be found in direct contempt of court and I will fine you appropriately. So, shut your mouth.

You know I hate it when people are just acting out of sheer spite and stupidity.” The court also criticized Watkins for failing to make timely rulings, failing to comply with court orders to do so and failing to see that his staff timely completed required tasks, such as entering protective orders into the state’s domestic violence registry.

The Charleston Gazette says Watkins did not respond to a Tuesday phone call seeking comment and notes that the court entered an order that retains Deloris Nibert, a former Mason County family court judge who was appointed by the court in December to handle Watkins’ caseload after he took an emergency medical leave.
Watkins did not contest the conduct cited by a hearing board of the Judicial Investigation Commission when it recommended that he be suspended without pay for the remainder of his term in office, which concludes on Dec. 31, 2016. However, he argued that the sanction amounted to removal from office, which the state constitution allows only the West Virginia legislature to do, by impeachment.

 Hence, the judge said, the supreme court didn’t have the power to suspend him for the rest of his term. The court disagreed, distinguishing impeachment, which would also have stripped Watkins of his pension and prohibited him from serving in office again, from a suspension and saying that public policy requires that the court use its inherent powers to protect lawyers and litigants from a judge who is unable or unwilling to do his job properly. It also censured Watkins for 24 violations of nine canons of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct, which are printed in full in the opinion.

“Socrates said, ‘Four things belong to a judge: to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially,’” the court wrote. “We recognize that regulating the demeanor of a judge is a difficult task, because judges are human and may occasionally display anger or annoyance, and lawyers and litigants sometimes incite judges. Judges must also be allowed some flexibility in criticizing the performance of lawyers who appear before them.

But a judge owes a duty to treat lawyers and litigants courteously, to hear them patiently, to study their arguments and evidence conscientiously, and to decide their cases promptly.” In a concurring opinion (PDF), Chief Justice Brent Benjamin agreed that Watkins should be suspended without pay for the rest of his term but disagreed about the manner in which the court imposed this sanction.
Instead of using inherent judicial powers, which opens the door to potential misuse in the future for political reasons, the court should have simply imposed consecutively the one-year suspensions it is clearly authorized to impose under the state constitution, he wrote.

 “While I have the utmost respect for my colleagues and the professionalism of our current court and share their belief that the admittedly harsh sanction in this case is fully justified, I fear how a highly partisan or polarized future court might misuse this expansive new precedent.”

familyactivist@gmail.com / techparalegal.us

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

FAMILY COURTS USE ATTORNEY FEES AS THREAT

ARE FAMILY COURT JUDGES SCARING LITIGANTS WITH PAYING OPPONENTS ATTORNEY FEES? ATTORNEYS’ FEES IN FAMILY LAW PROCEEDINGS I. INTRODUCTION A practitioner seeking to successfully obtain and collect attorneys’ fees in a family law proceeding must be aware of and comply with not only the statutory authority and bases which justify a fee award, but must also be careful to meet pleading and proof requirements established by Texas courts by presenting appropriate evidence in a manner which clearly demonstrates to the court the attorney’s right to recover the fees requested. This paper identifies the bases for recovery in several types of family law proceedings and alerts the practitioner to the requirements which must be met in order to obtain an award pursuant to particular statutory authority.

Practice pointers are provided to assist the practitioner in maximizing a fees award and collection of the award from the opposing party. II. STATUTORY BASIS FOR RECOVERY IN FAMILY LAW PROCEEDINGS A statutory basis must exist in order for a court to make an award of attorneys’ fees. Tony Gullo Motors I, L.P. v. Chapa, 212 S.W.3d 299, 310-11 (Tex. 2006). Many such statutory bases are provided in the Texas Family Code, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

This paper identifies and discusses the statutory bases for an award of attorneys’ fees in some of the areas often encountered by family law practitioners, but is by no means exhaustive. A. Dissolution In a suit for the dissolution of a marriage a court may award attorneys’ fees as part of temporary orders and as part of the final division of the community estate. 1. Temporary Orders Texas Family Code § 6.502(4) provides that after notice and hearing, upon the motion of one of the parties or on the court’s own motion, a court may render orders ―for the preservation of property and protection of the parties as deemed necessary and equitable‖ including: ―ordering payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses

.‖ The standard for an award of interim fees mirrors that of an award of temporary spousal support, i.e., the need of one party to access community funds to pay attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses considered against the opposing spouse’s ability to pay those expenses out of community assets. Herschberg v. Herschberg, 994 S.W.2d 273, 278-79 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi, 1999, pet. denied). A court will consider whether one spouse has greater access to community property in making an interim attorneys’ fee award, but will not make a party destitute in order to make such funds available to the requesting party.

 Id. In seeking an award of interim attorneys’ fees on behalf of a client, it is important to identify to the court the community asset or assets which can be used to satisfy the request for fees. In a dissolution proceeding without children, a court may only order the payment of attorneys’ fees out of community property and cannot order a party to pay a spouse's interim attorneys’ fees out of separate property. Grossnickle v. Grossnickle, 935 S.W.2d 830, 846-47 (Tex. App.—Texarkana, 1996, writ denied).

 If possible, identify a specific community account and provide proof to the court of the balance of funds available in that account for the payment of fees. If there is no account from which sufficient funds may be withdrawn to satisfy the request for interim fees, be prepared to suggest to the court that a particular item of community property be sold or pledged to generate the necessary funds and provide the court with a detailed plan about how the sale or pledge of that property should proceed. 2.
Division of Community Estate Texas Family Code § 7.001 grants a court the authority to make a final division of the community estate ―in a manner the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party.‖ The court has the discretion to award attorneys’ fees to a party as part of this division, even where the award of fees to one party results in an unequal division of the community estate. Carle v. Carle, 149 Tex. 469, 474 (Tex. 1951) (the court is not required to divide community estate equally, and there is no error in ordering one party to pay all fees of the other party which results in an unequal division). An award of fees is but one factor the court may consider in the overall division of the community estate. Simpson v. Simpson, 727 S.W.2d 662, 664 (Tex.App.—Dallas 1987).

 Further, a court may order one party to pay the opposing party’s attorneys’ fees notwithstanding that the opposing party is awarded sufficient property from which he or she would be able to pay his or her own fees. Brown v. Brown, 520 S.W.2d 571, 578-89 (Tex.Civ.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1975) (ordering husband to pay $1.25 million in wife’s attorneys’ fees where wife was awarded $25 million of community property); Braswell v. Braswell, 476 S.W.2d 444, 445- 48 (Tex.Civ.App.—Waco 1972) (husband ordered to pay $250,000 in wife’s attorneys’ fees where wife was awarded more than $4 million in community property including $600,000.00 in cash).

 The authority of the court to order payment of attorneys’ fees in a dissolution proceeding is based solely on the court’s authority to divide the community estate. Accordingly, in a suit for the dissolution of a marriage without children, a court does not have authority to order a spouse to pay attorneys’ fees for the opposing party out of his or her separate estate, or to award fees in an amount greater than the total value of the community estate. See Chiles v. Chiles, 779 S.W.2d 127, 129 (Tex.App.— Houston [14th Dist.] 1989, writ denied, overruled on other grounds by Twyman v. Twyman, 855 S.W.2d 619 (Tex. 1993)); Henry v. Henry, 48 S.W.3d 468, 480 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2001); Toles v. Toles, 45 S.W.3d 252, 267 (Tex.App.—Dallas 2001). In dividing the community estate and making an award for attorneys’ fees, a court may consider earlier payment of attorneys’ fees out of the community estate, and has discretion to award fees to either party, whether or not that party was successful before the trial court or on appeal. Grossnickle, 935 S.W.2d at 846. 3.

Post-Decree Division of Property Pursuant to Texas Family Code § 9.205 a court may award reasonable attorneys’ fees in a suit to divide property which was not divided as part of the original divorce proceeding. B. SAPCR As with a suit for dissolution of a marriage without children, a court also has the authority to order payment of attorneys’ fees for the opposing party either at the time of temporary orders or as part of final orders in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (―SAPCR‖) which has either been brought as part of a proceeding for the dissolution of a marriage or as an independent proceeding. 1.

Temporary Orders Texas Family Code § 105.001(a)(5) provides that ―for the safety and welfare of the child‖ a court may make temporary orders ―for payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses.‖ Courts have interpreted the ―safety and welfare‖ requirement of § 105.001(a)(5) to be mandatory, without which an award of fees may not be made. Saxton v. Daggett, 864 S.W.2d 729, 736 (Tex.App.— Houston [1st Dist.] 1993, no writ) (trial court may not make orders for the payment of reasonable attorneys’ fees in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship ―for a purpose other than the safety and welfare of the child‖).

 To meet this standard a party must present evidence concerning the safety and welfare of a child, not merely present evidence that an award of fees is necessary to even the financial playing field between the parties. In re T.M.F., No. 09-10-00019-CV, 2010 WL 974577, at *1-2 (Tex.App.—Beaumont March 18, 2010) (error to award fees where only evidence to support request for fees was disparity in financial abilities of the parties to pay attorneys’ fees and no evidence was presented concerning the safety and welfare of the children); In re Sartain, No. 01-07- 00920-CV, 2008 WL 920664, at *2 (Tex.App.— Houston [1st Dist.] April 3, 1993, orig. proceeding). It is not enough that issues to be presented at the final trial ―may involve issues relating to the safety and welfare of the children.‖ In re T.M.F., 2010 WL 974577, at *2.

 A party seeking an award of interim attorneys’ fees is required to present evidence that, at the time of the request, funds are necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the children. In re Christopher Rogers, No. 03-12-00154-CV, 2012 WL 1581374, at *1-4 (Tex.App.—Austin May 4, 2012). In In re Christopher Rogers, the court held that where temporary orders were already in place protecting the safety and welfare of the children and the movant’s attorney testified that funds were necessary to prepare for the jury trial rather than to address a current safety and welfare issue concerning the children, the requirements of Texas Family Code § 105.001(a)(5) were not met. Id.

 Intervenors may recover fees in the same manner as if they were entitled to fees as an original party. See, e.g., Yerby v. Heineken & Vogelslang, 209 S.W. 835 (Tex.Civ.App.—Austin 1919), writ refused, (Oct. 15, 1919). 2. Final Orders Pursuant to Texas Family Code § 106.002 in a SAPCR, a court may render judgment for fees and post judgment interest to be paid directly to the attorney and enforced in the attorney’s name. An award under this provision of the code is also within the court’s discretion.

Unlike in a dissolution proceeding without children, a court may order the payment of attorneys’ fees in excess of the value of the community estate in a dissolution proceeding with children or in an independent suit affecting the parent-child relationship. Moroch v. Collins, 174 S.W.3d 849, 870- 71 (Tex.App.—Dallas 2005, pet. denied). In other words, the court in a SAPCR may order fees paid from a party’s separate estate, if necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the child. Further, in a divorce proceeding with children, the court may award fees either as part of the division of the community estate or as costs in the SAPCR and may also allocate fees between each. Id. III. SEMI-MANDATORY FEE AWARDS AND FEE AWARDS FOR DISCOVERY ABUSE AND AS SANCTIONS .

While many of the statutory provisions on which the request for attorneys’ fees may be made in family law proceedings are discretionary, some statutes provide that a court shall award fees, unless it makes further findings that fees are not appropriate in the particular circumstances. A. Enforcement The Texas Family Code provides that a court ―shall order the respondent to pay the movant’s reasonable attorney’s fees and all court costs in addition to the arrearages‖ in a suit to enforce a child support order. TEX. FAM. CODE § 157.167(a) (emphasis added). Further, § 157.167(b) provides that ―[i]f the court finds that the respondent has failed to comply with an order providing for the possession of or access to a child, the court shall order the respondent to pay the movant’s reasonable attorney’s fees and all court costs in addition to any other remedy.‖ TEX. FAM. CODE § 157.167(b) (emphasis added).

 This section also provides that if the court finds the enforcement of the order was ―necessary to ensure the child’s physical or emotional health or welfare, the fees and costs . . . may be enforced by any means available for enforcement of child support, including contempt, but not including income withholding.‖ Id. However, the statute giveth and the statute taketh away. Pursuant to § 157.167(c) ―for good cause shown‖ the court may waive the mandatory payment of attorneys’ fees and costs if the court ―states the reasons supporting the finding.‖

Where a party is in arrears more than $20,000.00 in child support and the court finds the party in contempt, the court may not waive the mandatory payment of fees and costs, unless the court also specifically finds that the party is: 1) involuntarily unemployed or disabled; and 2) lacks financial resources to pay the fees and costs.

TEX. FAM. CODE § 157.167(d). A court must make the necessary findings however, or the award of attorneys’ fees is mandatory. See Goudeau v. Marquez, 830 S.W.2d 681, 682 (Tex.App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1992) (finding that ―[t]he provision requires the trial court to impose attorney's fees and court costs, provided they are reasonable, absent a specific finding that the respondent need not pay the attorney's fees or court costs.

 The provision is mandatory.‖) (citations omitted). The practitioner should be mindful that even where a statute mandates an award of fees, the party requesting the award must still satisfy the burden of proof and evidence should be presented to the court demonstrating the reasonableness of the amount of fees requested. In re A.L.S., 338 S.W.3d 59, 70 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2011, rehearing overruled) (finding that there is no abuse of discretion in awarding no fees to a prevailing party on enforcement of payment of child support where party failed to put on any evidence supporting reasonableness of fees requested).

The practitioner should also specify those fees incurred which support the mandatory award to be enforced. See Kogel v. Robertson, No. 03-04-00246-CV, 2005 WL 3234627, at *10 (Tex.App.-Austin Dec. 2, 2005). In Kogel v. Robertson, the portions of the trial court’s fee award were not attributed specifically to the enforcement of child support arrearages versus the award of fees for the modification proceeding. Id.

 Because the award on the basis of child support arrears allowed for enforcement by contempt, the Court of Appeals could not uphold the award with no distinction between those fees awarded for the suit to enforce child support arrearages and those awarded on the basis of modification, and therefore determined that the entire award could only be enforced as a debt and not by contempt. Id. B. Attorneys’ Fees for Discovery Abuse Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 215 contains several provisions for the award of attorneys’ fees for discovery abuse and failure to comply with discovery obligations. Sanction able discovery abuse may include ―unreasonably frivolous, oppressive, or harassing‖ discovery requests or an answer or response that is ―unreasonably frivolous‖ or ―made for purposes of delay.‖

TEX. R. CIV. P. 215.3. It may also include the failure of a witness or a party giving notice of a deposition to attend the deposition. TEX. R. CIV. P. 215.5. Additionally, Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 215.1 sets forth a list of other discovery abuses that may trigger an award of fees. The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure provides that in lieu of or in addition to other sanctions, a court shall award reasonable expenses, including attorneys’ fees ―unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.‖ TEX. R. CIV. P. 215.2 (emphasis added). The purpose of awarding fees is to compensate the party for additional litigation expenses incurred as a result of the abusive discovery tactics. Lopez v. La Madeleine of Tex., Inc., 200 S.W.3d 854, 865 (Tex.App.—Dallas 2006). C. Attorneys’ Fees for Frivolous Filings

Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 13 and Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 10.001 et seq. allow for the imposition of sanctions against a party and/or his or her attorney, if a pleading is brought in bad faith, is groundless or brought for the purposes of harassment. Among the sanctions a court may impose are reasonable expenses and attorneys’ fees. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 10.002(c), § 10.004(c); TEX. R. CIV. P. 215.2. The amount of an attorneys’ fee award imposed as sanctions for a frivolous filing is within the court’s discretion and there should be ―a reasonable relationship between the harm done and the sanctions assessed.‖ Glass v. Glass, 826 S.W.2d 683, 688-90 (Tex.App.—Texarkana 1992, writ denied 1992) (finding abuse of discretion where the fees award was disproportionately large relative to the amount in controversy). IV. PLEADING, DISCOVERY

ISSUES AND PROVING-UP REQUEST A party seeking an award of attorneys’ fees should ensure that a statutory basis for an award exists and that an affirmative pleading is on file requesting an award of attorneys’ fees. Swate v. Medina Comty. Hosp., 966 S.W.2d 693, 701 (Tex.App.—San Antonio 1998) (finding that ―[a]bsent a mandatory statute, a trial court's jurisdiction to render a judgment for attorney's fees must be invoked by pleadings, and a judgment not supported by pleadings requesting an award of attorney's fees is a nullity.‖).

 Practitioners must also be prepared to prove to the court that the fees sought were reasonable and necessary for the prosecution of the suit. Reasonableness is a question of fact to be determined by a judge or jury. Bocquet v. Herring, 972 S.W.2d 19, 21 (Tex. 1998). A jury may determine the reasonableness of attorneys’ fees but its opinion on which party should pay fees is advisory, although the court may consider and adopt the jury’s finding. A. Reasonable and Necessary The party seeking fees must prove the base amount of the fees sought by providing the hours worked, the amount charged by hour, a description of the work performed, a statement that the work was necessary to the prosecution or defense of the case, and a statement that the fees were reasonable.

 Arthur Andersen & Co. v. Perry Equip. Corp., 945 S.W.2d 812, 818-19 (Tex. 1997). The Texas Supreme Court has identified factors which should be considered in evaluating whether fees sought are reasonable and necessary. Id. This non-exclusive list of factors, based on Rule 1.04 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, includes the following: 1) The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill required to perform the legal services properly;

 2) The likelihood ... that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer; 3) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services; 4) The amount involved and the results obtained; 5) The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances; 6) The nature and length of the professional relationship with the client; 7) The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and 8) Whether the fee is fixed or contingent on results obtained or uncertainty of collection before the legal services have been rendered. One consideration in assessing reasonableness is the conduct of the parties during the course of the litigation.

 In the Interest of S.E.C., 2009 WL 3353624, No. 05-08-00781-CV, at *2 (Tex.App.—Dallas Oct. 20, 2009) (attorney testified that although the fees incurred were high for the type of proceeding, the fees incurred were necessary and reasonable due to conduct of opposing party, including a failure to pay debts as agreed, and litigation conduct such as the filing multiple motions and the scope and nature of discovery); see Hammonds v. Hammonds, 583 S.W.2d 807, 809-10 (Tex.Civ.App.—Dallas 1979) (―the court could also have properly concluded that unjustified delay and lack of co-operation by appellant added unnecessarily to the services required of appellee's counsel‖).

 In addition, evidence of settlement negotiations may also be considered when determining the amount of attorneys’ fees a court should award. See F. Lee Lawrence v. C.W. Boles, 631 S.W.2d 764, 768-69 (Tex.App.—Tyler 1981); see e.g., Travelers Ins. Co. v. Barrett, 366 S.W.2d 692, 694-95. The dollar amount of fees awarded depends on a number of factors including the total value of the property at issue. See Brown, 520 S.W.2d at 578-89 ($1.25 million awarded in attorneys’ fees where community estate valued at approximately $50 million); Braswell, 476 S.W.2d at 445-48 ($250,000.00 awarded in attorneys’ fees where community estate valued at approximately $10 million); Phillips v. Phillips, 296 S.W.3d 656, 672-73 (Tex.App.—El Paso 2009) ($175,000.00 awarded in attorneys’ fees in dissolution suit). When opposing a request for attorneys’ fees, it may be appropriate to challenge the hourly rate of the attorney, the tasks performed and/or the amount of time spent on the case or certain tasks therein, as unreasonable or unnecessary.

 In Beard v. Beard, both the attorney of the party requesting fees and the opposing attorney proffered testimony regarding the amount of fees which were reasonable and necessary under the circumstances. 49 S.W.3d 40, 65 (Tex.App.—Waco 2001). The movant sought an award of $60,000.00 in attorneys’ fees and costs. The trial court awarded $1,500.00. The award was upheld on appeal due to the testimony of the opposing witness who testified that $1,500.00 was a reasonable fee for the nature of the case, a divorce with only two community assets and no children. Id. Evidence was also presented that two pre-trial hearings sought by the movant were unnecessary and that movant had also engaged in excessive discovery. Id. Note however, that failure to present evidence or other objection on the record opposing the reasonableness and/or necessity of a fee request or award, may waive the objection. Treadway v. Treadway 613 S.W.2d 59, 60-61 (Tex.Civ.App.—Texarkana 1981). B. Discovery Issues – Rule 194 Disclosures Be aware of your responsibilities to provide information to the opposing party as part of the discovery process in connection with a request for attorneys’ fees.

 Likewise, make sure that you propound the necessary requests to the opposing party in order that you will be aware of their claims for attorneys’ fees and will be in a position to object to their proceeding with such a request if they have not complied with the appropriate discovery requirements. Pursuant to Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194.2(c), a party is required to state the legal theories, and in general factual bases of his or her claims and defenses. In response to this request for disclosure, a party should identify his or her claim for attorneys’ fees and state the legal theories and factual bases for the claim.

 Pursuant to Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194.2(d), a party is required to identify persons having knowledge of relevant facts. In response to this request for disclosure, a party should identify all attorneys and legal assistants in the firm who have performed work on the case. Most importantly, a party must identify an attorney as a testifying expert pursuant to 194.2(f) for the purpose of proving the elements necessary to secure the award of attorneys’ fees. In addition, a party is required pursuant to Rule 194.2(f) to provide the following regarding a testifying expert: 1) name, address and telephone number; 2) subject matter of testimony; 3) mental impressions and opinions, including facts known by the expert that relate to or form the basis of those mental impressions and opinions; 4) all documents, reports or compilations provided to, reviewed by or prepared by or for the expert in anticipation of the expert’s testimony; and 5) the expert’s current resume and bibliography. Where an opposing party fails to comply with these disclosures required by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194, it is appropriate to move to strike the request for fees and object to the presentation of any evidence to the court at a hearing or trial in support of his or her request for an award of attorneys’ fees. E.F.

Hutton & Co. v. Youngblood, 741 S.W.2d 363, 364 (Tex. 1987); Campos v. State Farm Gen. Ins. Co., 943 S.W.2d 52, 54-55 (Tex.App.—San Antonio, 1997, writ denied). Nothing in the rules or Texas law permits a party not designated as a testifying expert to testify as an expert at a hearing or trial. Collins v. Collins, 904 S.W.2d 792, 801 (Tex.App.—Houston [1st Dist.], writ denied, 923 S.W.2d 569 (Tex. 1996)). The Court must exclude a witness who was not listed in response to a request for disclosure unless there is a showing of good cause for the untimely response and a showing that the failure timely to respond will not unfairly surprise or prejudice the parties. TEX. R. CIV. P. 193.6(a); Fort Brown Villas Condo. Ass’n v. Gillenwater, 285 S.W.3d 879, 881 (Tex. 2009). C. Trial Exhibits to Prove-up Fee Request Attorneys’ fees must be proven by offering expert testimony that the fees were reasonable and necessary. Twin City Fire Ins. Co. v. Vegal-Garcia, 223 S.W.3d 762, 770 (Tex.App.—Dallas 2007, pet. denied); Woollett v. Matyastik, 23 S.W.3d 48, 52 (Tex.App.—Austin 2000, pet. denied).

Testimony of the attorney alone is sufficient to support an award of fees. See Lofton v. Texas Brine Corp., 777 S.W.2d 384, 386 (Tex. 1989). An expert witness or representing attorney should present testimony using the factors set out in Andersen as a guide. Although it is not necessary to elicit testimony on each of the Andersen factors, the prudent practitioner would do so. The following exhibits should be presented to the court in connection with the attorney’s testimony. 1) Fee Agreement.

his establishes for the court the hourly fees charged by an attorney or attorneys and legal assistants working on the case. Redact from the fee agreement any privileged information including any legal advice which may be contained in the agreement. Work performed by a paralegal or legal assistant under the supervision of any attorney, which constitutes work traditionally performed by an attorney, may be included in an attorneys’ fees award. All Seasons v. Window & Door Mfg. v. Red Dot Corp., 181 S.W.3d 490, 504 (Tex.App.—Texarkana 2005, no pet.); Clary Corp. v. Smith, 949 S.W.2d 452, 469 (Tex.App.—Fort Worth 1997, pet. denied); Gill v. Sav. Ass’n, 759 S.W.2d 697, 702 (Tex.App.— Dallas 1988, writ denied).

In order to recover fees for a paralegal or legal assistant’s time, the practitioner must show the following: ―(1) that the legal assistant is qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work; (2) that substantive legal work was performed under the direction and supervision of an attorney; (3) the nature of the legal work which was performed; (4) the hourly rate being charged for the legal assistant; and (5) the number of hours expended by the legal assistant.‖ Id. 2) Invoices and billing statements. Invoices and billing statements for fees, costs and expenses incurred should be sufficiently detailed in order that the client – and the fact finder – can understand and evaluate the nature of the work performed on behalf of the client. Invoices and billing statements should clearly state the hourly rate for each individual working on the case and state the amount of time for which work was performed each day.

As with fee agreements, invoices and billing statements should be redacted to protect attorney work-product, attorney-client privileged information and other confidential and privileged information. 3) Line Item Exhibits. The basis upon which an award of attorneys’ fees is sought will dictate the nature of evidence to be presented to the court. Presenting information to the court organized to support the request may increase the court’s willingness to approve the request. Several examples are provided below: a) Fees Already Incurred.

When seeking an award for fees and expenses already incurred, a helpful exhibit to provide to the court in addition to a detailed invoice or billing statement is an exhibit which provides line item totals and breaks down fees and expenses incurred as a result of work performed by each attorney and legal assistant as well as a breakdown of expenses and costs incurred for expert witnesses. b) Anticipated Fees for Interim Award.

 If interim fees are sought, the attorney should prepare an exhibit setting forth the anticipated fees and litigation expenses the attorney reasonably believes will be necessary through an identified time in the case. The exhibit should identify the attorneys and legal assistants who will work on the case, state the hourly rate for each and estimate the number of hours which will be spent by each person working on the case for each category of legal work to be performed. For reference, an exhibit is attached to this article as an example of what is necessary to show anticipated interim attorneys’ fees. c) Fees Associated with a Particularized Request.

When an attorney seeks an award for a specific portion of a case or for specific work performed it may be necessary to segregate for the court how much attorney time was spent on particular issues and the expenses incurred therewith. For example, in seeking fees on a motion to compel the attorney should present an exhibit which segregates the fees incurred seeking the production of requested information from the opposing party, drafting the motion to compel and preparing for and attending the hearing. An attorney should also segregate fees for which they are entitled to recover from those which they are not, and further. See Tony Gullo Motors I, L.P., 212 S.W.3d at 311; Kogel v. Robertson, No. 03-04-00246-CV, 2005 WL 3234627, at *10 (Tex.App.— Austin Dec. 2, 2005). The practitioner is cautioned that even where testimony and other evidence supporting the reasonableness of a fee request is presented, a court may still find the amount requested to be unreasonable.

 See Smalley v. Smalley, 2012 WL 1448433, No. 09–11–00261–CV at *3-6 (Tex.App.— Beaumont April 26, 2012) (reversing trial court award of $110,000.00 in appellate attorneys’ fees where court considered counsel’s testimony, the amount in controversy, the nature and complexity of the case, and the court’s own ―common knowledge and experience…‖)). Evidence should be presented not only on the Andersen factors but specific testimony that the amount requested is reasonable should be elicited. Tucker v. Thomas, 2011 WL 6644710, No. 14–09–01081–CV at *14 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Dec. 20, 2011) (finding and abuse of discretion of an award of attorneys’ fees based on ―invoices showing the attorney's fees she incurred, the work performed, the hours billed, and the billing rates, [where] the record contains no testimony as to whether the fees are reasonable‖). D. Opposing a Fee Request General cross examination of an attorney testifying in support of a fee request is not enough.
A practitioner should consider objecting to or questioning the testifying attorneys’ fees witness on his or her qualifications as an expert and/or experience to give the testimony, challenge supporting exhibits on evidentiary grounds and make specific inquiries concerning the particular work performed for which an award of fees is sought. In the Interest of S.E.C., 2009 WL 3353624 at *2 (affirming fee award where opposing counsel did not oppose witness qualifications, object to affidavit admitted in support of fees or otherwise attempt to controvert majority of fees sought). E. Enforcement of a Fee Award 1.

As Child Support/Necessaries Attorneys’ fees can be ordered to be paid as child support. Tucker v. Thomas, 2011 WL 6644710, No. 14–09–01081–CV at *1 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Dec. 20, 2011) (detailed survey of Texas courts’ treatment of fees as necessaries for children and payment of same as child support, holding that ―under the Texas Family Code, the trial court in a non- enforcement modification suit has jurisdiction and authority to order a parent to pay reasonable attorney's fees, as additional child support, for legal services benefiting the children‖); cf. Finley v. May, 154 S.W.3d 196, 198-99 (Tex.App.—Austin 2004, no pet.) The trial court in Tucker ordered the parents to each pay one-half of the amicus attorneys’ fees as child support and further ordered the father to pay attorneys’ fees incurred by the mother as child support.

 This case provides a comprehensive review and analysis of case law and provisions of the Texas Family Code related to ordering attorneys’ fees to be paid to third parties such as guardians ad litem and amicus attorneys on the basis that such fees are necessaries for the children and ordering such payments be made as additional child support. It is advisable that practitioners plead for attorneys fees to awarded be paid as child support, and this specific request should also be included in pretrial forms submitted to the court and testimony elicited supporting the request. 2. Contempt In certain circumstances an award of attorneys’ fees may be enforceable by contempt. As discussed above, an award in a suit to enforce a child support order may be enforced by contempt.

 The obligation to pay child support is not considered a debt, but a legal duty. See Ex parte Hall, 854 S.W.2d 656, 658 (Tex. 1993). An award of attorneys’ fees in a SAPCR may be enforced by the means available for the judgment for a debt. Taylor v. Speck, 308 S.W.3d 81, 84 (Tex.App.—San Antonio 2010, no pet.). However, the Texas Supreme Court has determined that the failure to pay one’s child support obligations is also punishable by contempt.

 In re Henry, 154 S.W.3d 594, 596 (Tex. 2005). In Henry, respondent failed to pay child support and property taxes pursuant to the final decree and imposed criminal contempt sentence, which was suspended while respondent made weekly child support payments. Id. at 595-96. However, respondent failed to comply with the suspension order’s conditions and was ordered into confinement. Id.

The Court determined that an award of attorneys’ fees related to child support contempt actions are viewed as costs, not as debts and are therefore enforceable by contempt. Id. (citing Ex parte Helms, 152 Tex. 480, 259 S.W.2d 184, 188-89 (1953)). V. WITHDRAWAL FOR FAILURE TO PAY FEES, RECOVERING FEES AND THE STATE BAR OF TEXAS CLIENT- ATTORNEY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CAAP) When a lawyer takes on a matter, that lawyer should endeavor to handle the matter to completion. See Tex. Disciplinary Rules Prof’l Conduct R. 1.15 cmt. 1. However, a lawyer may withdraw from representation on the basis that the client has failed to pay attorneys’ fees. Tex. Disciplinary Rules Prof’l Conduct R. 1.15 (b). Texas Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct allows an attorney to withdraw from representation if: The client fails substantially to fulfill an obligation to the lawyer regarding the lawyer’s services, including an obligation to pay the lawyer’s fee as agreed, and has been given reasonable warning that the lawyer will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled;

 The representation will result in an unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer or had been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client; or Other good cause for withdrawal exists. Tex. Disciplinary Rules Prof’l Conduct R. 1.15(b)(5)(6), (7); see also In re Daniels, 138 S.W.3d 31, 33 (Tex.App.—San Antonio 2004)(finding that attorney established good cause in seeking to withdraw from representation of client where client failed to fulfill obligations under the engagement agreement, including failure to pay attorneys’ fees and the continued representation would result in an unreasonable financial burden on the attorney).

 If a client fails to pay the attorneys’ fees owed, and the lawyer must withdraw from representation, it may be necessary for the lawyer subsequently to intervene in the underlying divorce proceeding in order to collect the fees owed. In Wythe II Corporation v. Stone, lawyer withdrew from representation of client and intervened in the underlying lawsuit between the client and the insurance company. 342 S.W.3d 96, 106-07 (Tex.App.—Beaumont 2011, reh’g denied).

 The client counterclaimed against the lawyer for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Id. at 102. However, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the lawyer on the fee contract. Id. at 106-07. In Martel v. Martel, husband’s first attorney withdrew from representation and subsequently intervened in the underlying divorce proceeding in order to collect attorneys’ fees owed. 2001 WL 996052 (Tex. App.—Dallas, Aug. 31, 2001) *7. The trial court awarded attorney outstanding attorneys’ fees and collection costs and the Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment. Id. The State Bar of Texas has established a procedure for preemptively resolving fee disagreements between attorneys and their clients. 

The Texas Client-Attorney Assistance Program (CAAP) is a program which mitigates the need for clients to file formal grievances, and then provides assistance if in fact a grievance needs to be filed. The CAAP encourages the client to talk to his or her attorney about any outstanding disagreements on fees and if the disagreement cannot be resolved, to contact the CAAP in order to assist the client in determining if the fee dispute may be resolved without filing a grievance.

 If the CAAP determined that the attorney has not broken any rules and there is merely a disagreement between the attorney and client, the client will be referred to a local bar association. If it is determined that rules have been broken, then the client will be assisted through the grievance process. VI. CONCLUSION Numerous statutory provisions authorize a court to award attorneys’ fee to a party. To be successful in obtaining such an award, a practitioner should be mindful of the limitations in the law relevant to the particular basis upon which an award is sought.

or the request will increase the likelihood that a court will grant a request for attorneys’ fees.