The Sixth Appellate District of Texas in Texarkana has ruled against County Judge Sterling Lacy.
On Aug. 2, 2012, the appellate court ruled that Lacy must transfer a probate case from his court to the Bowie County Court of Law within five days of the appellate court decision.
Lacy did as the court ordered and transferred the contested portions of the case involving the estate of Linda J. Velvin to the county court at law on Friday, Aug. 3.
“There are a number of complicated issues in the Estate of Linda J. Velvin,” Lacy said. “Most of them remain unresolved. It is not unusual for issues like those involved in this case to find their way to the Court of Appeals or even the Supreme Court.” Lacy went on to say, “The Sixth Court of Appeals decided more than one case a day during the month of July. Many of those decisions were Bowie County cases. I am grateful that we live in a country where people have the right to disagree and seek guidance from a higher authority. I accept and respect the memorandum opinion of the Court of Appeals.”
Jeri S. Calhoun requested the writ of mandamus asking the Court of Appeals to require Judge Lacy to transfer the probate case from his court to the county court at law pursuant to Section 4E(a) of the Texas Probate Code and the Sixth Appellate District agreed and wrote in the decision, “Mandamus relief is proper when the trial court has abused its discretion and a party has no appellate remedy. In re Prudential Ins Co. of Am., 148 S.W.3d 124, 135-36 (Tex. 2004) (orig. proceeding); Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 840-44 (Tex. 1992) (orig. proceeding). Calhoun argues that the trial court abused its discretion in failing to transfer the case pursuant to Section 4E because ‘[t]his case presents contested matters involving (1) the sua sponte (without notice) appointment of Mr. William Demond, an attorney ad litem for minor beneficiary, C.A., (2) the removal of Mr. Kyle Davis4 as administrator/personal representative, and (3) the appointment of Mr. Sam Russell as successor administrator/personal representative.’ We must address whether there was an abuse of discretion. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 148 S.W.3d at 135-36. In a county in which there is no statutory probate court or county court at law exercising original jurisdiction, the county court has original jurisdiction of probate proceedings.
When contacted Calhoun said she was pleased with the court’s ruling, “I think they’re a lot of families that are adversely affected by this court in Bowie County and I hope that other families will feel they have a voice and they can do it when the court adversely rules with them as well.”
Calhoun said she didn’t feel her child’s best interest in Lacy’s court. She also said “Lacy is not an attorney himself so he does not know the procedures that need to be done. I am not sure that he is doing it maliciously I just think it is an ignorance thing. If you don’t know the law then you’re not going to know how to carry it out. I think that is one of the main problems.”
Appeals court rules against Lacy
August 10, 2012
The Bowie County Citizens Tribune