CONCURRING OPINION BY JUSTICE CHARLES SEYMORE
in In Interest of T.D.N.
C O N C U R R I N G M E M O R A N D U M O P I N I O N
I concur with majority's conclusion that Orosco failed to preserve
error for appellate review. However, I do not lightly join in a
disposition upholding the trial court's order terminating parental
rights. Accordingly, I write separately to address implicit denial of
Orosco's access to the court while incarcerated.
It is my considered opinion that our courts should exercise great
caution to protect the rights of the incarcerated when conducting a
civil proceeding that involves termination of parental rights. Litigants
should not be denied access to the courts simply because they are
incarcerated. In re Z.L.T., 124 S.W.3d 163, 165-166 (Tex. 2003).
However, an inmate does not have the absolute right to appear in
person in every court proceeding. Id. Trial courts should consider a
number of factors when deciding whether to grant an inmate's request
for a bench warrant, including:
(1) the cost and inconvenience of transporting the prisoner to the
(2) the security risk the prisoner presents to the court and public;
(3) whether the prisoner's claims are substantial;
(4) whether the matter's resolution can reasonably be delayed until the
(5) whether the prisoner can and will offer admissible, noncumulative
testimony that cannot be effectively presented by deposition,
telephone, or some other means;
(6) whether the prisoner's presence is important in judging his
demeanor and credibility;
(7) whether the trial is to the court or a jury; and
(8) the prisoner's probability of success on the merits.
Id. Our rules place the burden on litigants to identify with sufficient
specificity the grounds for the ruling they seek. Id. Since a prisoner
has no absolute right to be present in a civil action, the prisoner
requesting a bench warrant must justify the need for his presence. Id.
Orosco argues that his appearance in court "would neither have
hindered nor burdened the daily operations of the court."
Orosco fails to address all of the above factors or point this court to
portions of the record which might support an argument that the trial
court violated his fundamental right to participate in proceedings
which could result in termination of parental rights. Accordingly, I
concur with the majority's conclusion that the trial court did not abuse
its discretion by refusing to grant Orosco's motion for continuance.
/s/ Charles W. Seymore
Judgment rendered and Majority and Concurring Memorandum
Opinions filed June 26, 2008.
Panel consists of Justices Fowler, Frost, and Seymore.
(Frost, J., majority).