Trial And Appellate Strategies

Having endured the frustrations and complexities of dealing with the pre-trial matters and the statutory hearings, the best way to prepare for trial is prepare for the appeal. If you know the component elements to each of the grounds for termination remaining after the pre-trial limitations, then the trial efforts should be focused first on preventing termination and then on conservatorship. The following strategies have been helpful in the successful defense of a DFPS case:

  1. Limit the grounds in pre-trial;
  2. Know the elements incident to proof of the grounds;
  3. Know the case decisions as to each of the grounds;
  4. is cover and outline the DFPS case file. Chances are extremely high that if you do this you will be more familiar with the case than anyone else, including the caseworker and the attorney representing DFPS;
  5. Aim your case theory, questions and argument at the particular deficiencies in the proof of the case and provide the court with alternatives to termination and state conservatorship;
  6. Be creative in the presentation of alternatives. They must be practical and easy to implement;
  7. Challenge interventions by unfriendly parties;
  8. Re-draft the DFPS charge;
  9. Use Pre-trial Conferences and Pre-trial Orders to ascertain both the exhibits and witnesses of ad items who are outside the scope of normal discovery; and
  10. Know the specific timetables for appeals of both conservatorship and termination cases. They are shorter in both situations and are accelerated appeals. (§263.405; Tex.R.App.P. 28.1, 25.1, 26.1, and 20.1 (if the party is indigent).