HOUSTON - Two years ago CPS removed this 3-year-old girl from her father.
The father apparently did everything CPS wanted and associate family court Judge Paula Vlahakos thought the child would be returned home.
But after the judge noticed the foster parents had filed a custody intervention she began investigating the case.
That prompted the judge to appoint Dennis Slate to represent the girl’s father.
“It was very clear early on CPS had taken this child without a court order and had done so in a way that wasn’t even following the law that allows them to do that,” Slate said.
That prompted Slate to file a motion for sanctions against Child Protective Services.
“They were looking for any reason to avoid those sanctions,” said Slate.
CPS even tried to dismiss the suit but Judge Vlahakos found the state agency had acted in bad faith when they removed the little girl.
“There wasn’t a reason at all for them to come and do a removal without a court order on a Friday night when this little girl was asleep,” Slate said.
When the judge grilled CPS for a reason behind the child’s removal Slate says all the judge got from CPS were lies.
“Various witnesses for CPS testified to various stories,” Slate said. “But the court didn’t believe any of the different stories that everybody told because there were so many of them.”
In a rare move Judge Vlahakos ordered CPS to pay Slates 27 thousand 500 dollar legal fees.
Then she did something that should leave CPS workers involved in this case red-faced for some time.
“And Judge Vlahakos ordered them to read the Texas Constitution and the Bill of Rights that the citizens of Texas have against illegal governmental intrusion into their life,” Slate said.
“At this time CPS has no comment.”
That’s all CPS had to say to us when we asked about the sanctions.
In her court order Judge Vlahkos also suggests that all CPS caseworkers supervisors and program directors in Harris County read the United States Constitution the Texas Constitution and the family code that deals with the removal of children.