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In re D.E.P – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In In re D.E.P., 512 S.W.2d 789 (Tex. Civ. App.--Houston 14th Dist. 1974, no writ), the juvenile did not appeal his initial adjudication and probationary disposition.

After the expiration of the appellate filing period, the State filed a motion to modify the disposition. The trial court entered a modification order, committing the juvenile to the TYC.

The juvenile appealed the modification decision and attacked the judgment rendered on adjudication, claiming the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction based on the initial lack of service. Id. at 790.

The Houston Fourteenth court reasoned that Section 53.06(e), which forbids a juvenile from waiving service of summons, was not dispositive, stating:

"Here appellant filed answer by his counsel . . . . He fully participated in the adjudication proceedings and was very carefully advised of his rights by the court and by his own attorney. Since no appeal was perfected from the adjudication hearing, this contention constitutes a collateral attack on that judgment. A far different question would have been presented had he objected on the hearing, perfected appeal of the adjudication order and assigned failure of service on the child as error." Id. at 791.

Having disposed of any claim that the trial court had no jurisdiction at the adjudication hearing, the court then determined the juvenile was not entitled to service of process for the hearing to modify disposition. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 54.05(d) (West Supp. 2011) ("Reasonable notice of a hearing to modify disposition shall be given to all parties."). Because the issue of reasonable notice was not raised on appeal, and because the juvenile and his parents "were present and fully advised of the issues presented and the rights of the parties," no basis existed for complaint. D.E.P., 512 S.W.2d at 791.

With no citation to authority, discussion of whether the adjudication judgment was void, or other analysis, the court in D.E.P. found that the juvenile could not collaterally attack the adjudication judgment.