Cases & Deals

Mothers' custody of Zion Ranch children restored by Texas Supreme Court

Clients Yearning for Zion Ranch Mothers

In a historic mandamus action, attorneys in Jones Day's Dallas, Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, and Washington offices, along with Texas Legal Aid, represented before the Texas Supreme Court some mothers of the 468 children who had been removed from their homes at the Yearning for Zion Ranch by the State of Texas in April 2008. After the mothers challenged the state's sweeping removal of the children, the team petitioned the appeals court for a writ of mandamus ordering the trial court to vacate its order authorizing removal because the state had failed to comply with the Texas Family Code's guidelines for the removal of children from parents. The court of appeals granted the petition. On May 28, 2008, the state challenged the decision before the Texas Supreme Court, asking that the order be vacated and seeking an emergency stay. The court denied the state's challenge, adopting Jones Day's arguments that the state overreached and must return the children to their mothers and ruling that the underlying investigation should continue.

In re Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Case No. 08-0403