Since Child Protective Services (CPS) removed their four-year-old son in June, Ashley and Daniel Pardo have been trying to have Drake returned home.
After their petition for a writ of mandamus — which would order to CPS to reunite the child with his family — with an appellate court was denied on August 21, lawyers of the Pardo family brought the petition to the Texas Supreme Court on August 28.
In what is said to be an unusual action, the court requested the solicitor general, which works in the office of the Texas Attorney General, to weigh in on the case.
“The attorney general does not do CPS cases,” said Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC). “A former supreme court justice told me that what this means is the court is taking this case very seriously and they are asking the executive branch to give their opinion.”
A response from the solicitor general was due on September 18, but his office requested a thirty-day extension, noting that they are “in the process of reaching out to the parties to explore whether this matter may be resolved in a way that would obviate the need for the Court to address the pending petition for a writ of mandamus.”
The court granted the extension to set the new due date as October 18, but said that “further requests for extensions of time for this filing will be disfavored.”
With the new extension, there is a strong possibility that the solicitor general will not file a brief until on or just before the deadline and that the court will take a few more weeks after that to make a decision.
While the case has drawn on for the past few months, a myriad of legislators and others have signed their support for the Pardo family.
THSC, which has been advocating for the family since June, submitted an amicus brief with Texas Supreme Court with 22 bipartisan state senators and representatives indicating their support for it.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is also planning to submit an amicus brief this week similar to the one they filed with the appellate court. Twelve bipartisan legislators have signed their support for TPPF’s brief.
THSC also launched a social media campaign, which has garnered nearly 40,000 signatures on a petition to bring the family home and has raised over $100,000 to help pay for the legal fees accrued by THSC’s attorneys, who are representing the Pardos.
Meanwhile, Drake has remained in the same foster home CPS placed him in, according to Marissa Gonzales, a media specialist with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
At the status hearing in a Kaufman County district court on August 9, the court ordered CPS to expedite a home study so that the child could be placed in a home outside of foster care, asking them to complete the process within two weeks.
At the hearing nearly six weeks ago, a testifying caseworker also admitted she had violated CPS policy by not including the family in the formation of the proposed family service plan — the way in which Drake could be returned to the family apart from a mandamus.
The court rejected the proposed plan and ordered one to be rewritten jointly with the family after psychological evaluations of Ashley and Daniel were completed.
According to Jeremy Newman of THSC, the Pardos are still awaiting the results of the evaluations to be returned.
Asked why the home study has been delayed and if any disciplinary action has been taken to prevent further violations of CPS policy, Gonzales wrote in an email to The Texan, “We can’t discuss specifics of the case, but I’m sure these topics will be discussed at the next court hearing.”
This is a developing story. For more information, please see the other articles published by The Texan linked to in the timeline below.
- June 20: CPS removed the child from his family.
- July 2: The district court issued a gag order on parties involved and ruled in favor of CPS, granting them temporary managing conservatorship.
- August 2: The Pardo family brought the case to an appellate court, petitioning for a writ of mandamus to have Drake released from CPS custody.
- Read also: a detailed analysis by The Texan on the accusations of medical child abuse against the family and accusations against CPS of conducting the removal illegally.
- August 9: A status hearing (separate from the case in the appellate court) was held at the district court.
- August 21: The appellate court denied the family’s petition for a writ of mandamus.
- August 28: The family’s lawyers brought the request for mandamus to the Texas Supreme Court.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.