The West Texas town of Eldorado is more than 200 miles from Austin. So imagine my surprise when I realized that any appeals coming out of the drama surrounding the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints "Yearning for Zion" Ranch (which the ABA Journal describes as "what surely will be among the largest child custody cases in U.S. history") will be heard by the Third Court of Appeals, right here in the Live Music Capital of the World.
Surprisingly few Texas family law bloggers have weighed in on the FDLS matter. I’m sure some of them were among the hundreds who volunteered to serve as court-appointed ad litems in more than 100 child removal cases the State filed in the 51st District Court (which serves Schleicher County and nearby Tom Green County, among others). What an incredible effort.
It will be interesting to see how the appeals will be handled logistically. Some of the attorneys involved have identified Judge Barbara Walther’s decision to hear the State’s evidence en masse, rather than child-by-child, as a potential ground for reversal. I suspect the challenges arising from the sheer numbers will carry over into the appellate court to a significant degree.