Non custodial parent has kids in Brownsville. Order granting grand parents custody is out of Harris Co. Grand parents live in west Texas. Non custodial parent refuses to return kids, who are with him in Brownsville. Where is jurisdiction? I think in Brownsville, in west Texas and possibly even in Harris Co. Anyone have any experience with this?
To me, neither the taking nor the retention appears to have occurred in West Texas. See Shier, 60 S.W.3d at 344-5. Thus, I think venue is questionable in West Texas. In most cases it is only the retention which becomes a crime. Maybe the venue statute needs to be amended, since it might not always be easy to find where the child actually is, and it seems unfair to force the victim to rely on far away authorities for help.
maybe you fellow prosecutors who live in small counties that are located between two large counties can relate: Judge in Harris Co. issues custody order where dad lives in Harris Co. and mom lives in Travis Co. They are to exchange the child in Washington Co. at a certain date and time. (By the way, thanks for making our small town McDonald's the scene of custody exchanges for people far and near.) Mom shows up at the appointed time/place. Dad doesn't show up with the child. Mom wants to file charges here in Washington Co. It doesn't seem fair that we should have to deal with it. I found Roberts v. State, 619 sw2d 161, that says jurisdiction is proper where the custodial parent lives (at 164). Granted, Roberts didn't involve the "shuttle diplomacy" twist that our case does. But I think that the county where mom lives is appropriate jurisdiction. Her right to the child is being thwarted by dad, where ever he may be. Make him travel to make court appearances. What do you all think?
We refer them to the lawyers who represented them in their divorce.If I ever open the floodgates to these cases it would require another full time ADA. Edwards we need to get you to South Texas!
Okay, fair enough. Maybe other jurisdictions don't take these cases. But there must be SOME that do. Doesn't anyone else have an opinion?
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