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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Cynthia Parker’s rights to her children were terminated after a trial, as were the rights of the children’s father. At trial, evidence of Parker’s history of drug abuse was offered. It was said she left her children with her parents for long periods of time. Her sister turned her in. Drug counselors saw track marks on her arms. Parker admitted to use of heroin and daily injections of methamphetamine. Three exhibits revealing drug testing results were entered into evidence. Once was from a physician, and two were from Texas Alcohol and Drug Testing Services. Each was accompanied by an affidavit from their custodian stating that they were business records. Parker objected to the introduction of the records, saying they had to “satisfy all the other evidentiary requirements including hearsay, foundation, chain of custody. [Texas Rule of Evidence] 702, 703 . . . should also be included.” On appeal, Parker argues that the records were improperly admitted because the drug tests were not actually conducted by the entities that provided the records, that the custodian could not testify the tests were standard for the field, or that he had personal knowledge of the tests and results, and that there was an insufficient chain of custody to show the tests were actually for Parker. HOLDING:Affirmed. To be properly admitted under T.R.Evid. 803(6), the state must prove that the document was made at or near the time of the events recorded, from information transmitted by a person with knowledge of the events, and made or kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity unless the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate a lack of trustworthiness. The witness doesn’t have to be the record’s creator or have personal knowledge of the record’s content, only personal knowledge of the manner in which the records were prepared. The court first confirms that Parker properly preserved the alleged error for appeal. Though the objection quoted above, plus one other, was imprecise, it brought to the trial court’s attention that the exhibits were medical test records not prepared by the particular entities that produced them, and that there was no evidence to show how the drug tests were conducted or that the methods used were reliable and that they contained medical opinions. The court then considers whether the statements (that is, the drug test results) showed sufficient indicia of trustworthiness or reliability to bring them within an exception to the hearsay rule. How this question is analyzed depends on whether the introduction of such records in a termination of parental rights proceeding is treated as a criminal or a civil matter. Many other rules of evidence and procedure from criminal law are grafted onto the civil proceeding of parental rights termination due to the important rights at stake. The court concludes that it will apply the more stringent analysis of the records admission usually reserved for criminal proceedings, deeming it “inappropriate” to apply the more relaxed standards usually reserved for determining admissibility in civil cases. Here, there is no evidence about the types of machines used to conduct the tests or the methods used by the independent laboratories that conducted the tests. The representatives of the business entities who held the records admitted that they had no knowledge of these matters, and there was no effort made to provide any such information to the court through any other method. “We believe that admitting drug tests in a termination of parental rights case with no information as to the qualifications of the person or equipment used, the method of administering the test, and whether the test was a standard one for the particular substance indicates a lack of trustworthiness of the tests and that admission of such evidence is an abuse of discretion.” The court conducts a harm analysis of the error, but finds that in light of the other evidence of Parker’s drug use, the erroneous admission of the evidence probably did not lead to an improper judgment. The court then considers whether a 245-page file from the Northeast Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse was improperly admitted in violation of 42 U.S.C. �290dd-2, which restricts the release of drug treatment records except to certain persons except for good cause. The court assumes the NETCADA was covered by the statute. However, the court also notes that Parker’s objection to the release is general, and when a general objection is raised, it is properly overruled if any part of that evidence is admissible. The court finds there is no written order finding that there was good cause, but no specific order was required. What was required is a balancing of the right to rely on confidentiality and the public policy interest in protecting children. The court finds support in the record that the trial court conducted such a balancing test, and that the evidence supported the trial court’s determination to admit the documents into evidence. The trial also rules that it was not improper for the trial court to allow the children’s guardian ad litem to be present during the course of trial. And that it was not error to let Deb Brookshire, a counselor for a drug rehab center, testify, even though he had a professional association with Parker’s first attorney, who was a contract attorney for the rehab center. The court rules that though Brookshire and the attorney were employed by the same entity, Brookshire did not fall within the definition of a representative of the lawyer. OPINION:Carter, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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