IN THE INTEREST OF C.A.

No. 13-17-00161-CV.

IN THE INTEREST OF C.A., Z.A., AND A.N.G., Children.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi, Edinburg.


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

V.A., for Appellant, Pro se.

Eric Tai , for Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Appellee.

Before Justices Rodriguez, Contreras, and Benavides.


MEMORANDUM OPINION

Memorandum Opinion by Justice NELDA V. RODRIGUEZ.

Appellant V.A. appealed the termination of her parental rights to her children C.A., Z.A., and A.N.G.1 We dismiss for want of prosecution.

On February 22, 2017, an order terminating V.A.'s parental rights was entered by the County Court at Law No. 5 in Nueces County, Texas, in cause number 15-FAM-61485-5. V.A. filed an untimely notice of appeal on March 22, 2017. See TEX. R. APP. P. 26.1(b). On April 11, 2017, V.A.'s counsel contacted this Court via telephone and explained that V.A. was seeking a different appellate counsel. We considered this phone call to meet the minimum threshold for a reasonable explanation for the untimely notice of appeal; we granted V.A.'s implied motion for extension of time and marked her appeal as filed. See Hone v. Hanafin, 104 S.W.3d 884, 886 (Tex. 2003) (per curiam).

On May 3, 2017, the court reporter notified us that V.A. had not arranged to pay for the reporter's record. See TEX. R. APP. P. 37.3. This Court had also not received V.A.'s filing fee. See id. R. 12.1(b). We have since issued multiple notices warning V.A. of the potential dismissal of her appeal if her filing fee was not paid within a specified time. However, to date, this Court has not received the filing fee. Nueces County later arranged to pay for the reporter's record.

On May 19, 2017, we abated the appeal and remanded the matter to the trial court. On June 2, 2017, we received the record of a hearing in the trial court, at which all attorneys involved in the case declared that they had been unable to contact V.A. and that V.A. had abandoned her appeal. On June 27, 2017, we received a supplemental clerk's record which included an order permitting V.A.'s counsel to withdraw from representation. Pursuant to our abatement order, the trial court's order incorporated findings: (1) that V.A. has abandoned her appeal; (2) that V.A. has not filed an affidavit of indigency and is not entitled to appointment of counsel; and (3) that V.A. is not now represented by retained counsel.

We issued letters to V.A. on June 27, June 28, and July 12 regarding the status of her appeal. Each letter was returned as undeliverable, with no forwarding address available. We have not received any communication from V.A. or counsel, if any, since the April 11 phone call from V.A.'s counsel.

V.A.'s appellate brief was due on August 1, 2017. To date, no appellate brief has been filed.

After giving ten days' notice to all parties, the appellate court may dismiss the appeal on its own initiative where there is a want of prosecution, or where the appellant has failed to comply with a requirement of these rules, a court order, or a notice from the clerk requiring a response or other action within a specified time. See id. R. 42.3(b)-(c).

The Court—having examined and fully considered the record, the finding of abandonment by the trial court, the absence of a filing fee despite notice, the lack of any response to earlier notices from this Court, and the lack of any means to reach appellant with new notices—is of the opinion that V.A. has abandoned her appeal and that the appeal should be dismissed. The appeal is hereby DISMISSED FOR WANT OF PROSECUTION.

FootNotes


1. We refer to all parties by aliases, pursuant to appellate rule 9.8. See TEX. R. APP. P. 9.8(b)(2).

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