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Civil Litigation Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Two years after mother and father divorced, mother remarried and father wound up in prison. In October 2001, mother and her new husband petitioned to terminate father’s parental rights to his two children, who lived with mother. On Nov. 5, 2001, father filed a pro se answer that requested a jury trial. He also filed a declaration of inability pay costs due to his imprisonment. He did not deposit a jury fee or file an oath of inability to pay the jury fee, as required by T.R.Civ.P. 217. In December 2001, a guardian ad litem filed an answer, and in January 2002, father filed an “Original Answer, Request for Appointment of Attorney Ad Litem and Motion for Issuance of Bench Warrant,” as well as another declaration of inability to pay costs. The court appointed an attorney ad litem for father in April 2002. Also that month, the court made a docket entry setting trial for June, but not indicating whether it would be a bench trial or a jury trial. In May 2002, the attorney ad litem filed a document styled, “Attorney Ad Litem’s Original Answer,” which did not request a jury trial. He also requested a continuance, which the court denied. At a June 18 hearing, the attorney ad litem pointed out that though trial was set to begin the next week, father had requested a jury trial in his pro se filing. Two days later, the attorney ad litem moved to withdraw as counsel, to remove the guardian ad litem and to confirm father’s right to a jury trial. Those motions were denied. At a bench trial on July 2 and 3, the trial court terminated father’s rights and allowed mother’s husband to adopt the children. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 216(a), a party desiring a jury trial must make a written request for it not less than 30 days before the date set for trial of the cause on the nonjury docket. A party must also deposit a fee with the clerk of the court within the time for making a written request for a jury trial under Tex. R. Civ. P. 216(b). A party who is unable to afford the deposit for the jury fee shall file an affidavit to that effect within the time for making such deposit; and the court shall then order the clerk to enter the suit on the jury docket under Tex. R. Civ. P. 217. And, an inmate in the Texas Department of Corrections may file an unsworn declaration in lieu of an affidavit. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. �132.001(a). The court rules father satisfied these requirements because he asked for a jury trial in his first, pro se pleading, and he filed an uncontested declaration of inability to pay costs, which, as an inmate, was in lieu of the oath of inability to pay the required jury fee. The court further finds that father did not waive his request. Though subsequent pleadings generally replace the previous filings, a look at the captions, filing history and substance of father’s pleadings does not indicate that he meant his filings to be amendments to his original pleading. Finding error in the trial court’s failure to hold a jury trial, the court reverses and remands. The court does, however, affirm the trial court’s denial of father’s motion to remove the guardian ad litem. OPINION:Anderson, J.; Anderson, Seymore and Guzman, JJ.

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