SPLIT DECISION-EVIDENCE & FAMILY LAW: Sufficiency of the Evidence, No. 04-19-00090-CV, In re G.M

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In G.M., Chief Justice Marion’s concurrence (which announced the decision of the court) would have held there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s finding that termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interest. Justice Watkins’ concurrence  expressed “concern with appellate courts being required to review orders permanently severing constitutionally protected parental rights when, as here, the appellate record is so underdeveloped.” Justice Martinez’s dissent would have held the evidence was insufficient.

Whether a Video Recording Was Admitted into Evidence. The parties in the case disputed whether a video recording was actually admitted into evidence. At the bench trial, the video recording was played for the judge, but there were was no formal offer and ruling that the video recording was admitted into evidence. Chief Justice Marion would have held that the video recording was part of the evidence we could consider in a legal sufficiency review. Both Justice Watkins and Justice Martinez agreed the video recording was not admitted into evidence. However, even without the video recording, Justice Watkins would have held the evidence was sufficient based on the evidence and the standard of review.

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