In re J.O.A – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In In re J.O.A., 283 S.W.3d 336 (Tex. 2009), the trial court terminated the father's rights but the court of appeals found the evidence legally and factually insufficient. Id. at 339.

The Texas Supreme Court held that the evidence was legally sufficient to support the termination of the father's parental rights but remanded to the trial court for a new trial based on the court of appeals' conclusion that the evidence was factually insufficient. Id. at 347.

Part of the evidence that the court relied upon was the father's history of "two or three incidents of domestic violence." Id. at 346.

In In re J.O.A., the court of appeals had considered both the legal and the factual sufficiency of the evidence, despite the failure of the appellant's trial counsel to file a statement of points for appeal, and it had found the evidence supporting termination to be both legally and factually insufficient to support termination of the father's parental rights. Id. at 339, 346.

The supreme court concluded that the evidence of endangerment, on which termination was predicated, was legally sufficient to support termination. Id. at 346.

However, although it did not agree with the court of appeals that the evidence was factually insufficient to support termination, it recognized that, under the Texas Constitution, factual sufficiency review is committed to the courts of appeals and not to the supreme court. Id. at 346-47 (citing TEX. CONST. art. V, § 6).

Therefore, because the court of appeals had determined that the evidence at trial was factually insufficient to support the essential finding that the parent had endangered the child, the supreme court remanded the case to the trial court for a new trial on the issue of termination of the father's parental rights. Id. at 347.

In In re J.O.A., the supreme court, after disagreeing with the court of appeals' holding that the evidence was legally insufficient to support termination of a father's parental rights, noted that the court of appeals had also held that the evidence was factually insufficient to support termination. 283 S.W.3d at 347.

Accordingly, the supreme court "remand[ed] the cause to the trial court for a new trial." Id.