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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Bettina Lohner Chavez’s parental rights to J.L. were terminated. The court of appeals, after taking judicial notice of the testimony of an expert witness in Frank’s criminal prosecution, concluded the evidence was legally insufficient to support the termination of Bettina’s parental rights to J.L. HOLDING:The court reverses the court of appeals’ judgment and remands the case to the court of appeals to consider Chavez’s complaints about the factual sufficiency of the evidence. Following the original final judgment in this case, Bettina did not file her notice of appeal within 20 days, although she did timely file a motion for new trial and also a motion to modify, correct, or reform that judgment. The trial court overruled the motion for new trial but granted the other motion, correcting and making a number of changes to its original judgment. Three days after the signing of the corrected judgment, Bettina filed her notice of accelerated appeal. The Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services contends that, because Bettina failed to file her notice of appeal within 20 days of the original judgment, she did not perfect her appeal in a timely manner; thus, the court of appeals did not acquire jurisdiction. While the department does not maintain that Bettina’s post-trial motions were untimely, it relies on the Family Code provision which states that such motions do “not extend the deadline for filing a notice of appeal.” Moreover, the department argues that even if a corrected judgment would otherwise have restarted the appellate timetable, it did not do so here because the court’s purpose was not to make corrections but to give Bettina a second chance to file her notice of appeal. In an ordinary appeal, a timely filed post-trial motion extends both the trial court’s period of plenary jurisdiction and the time for filing the notice of appeal. The Family Code clearly anticipates the acceleration of this type of case by shortening the appellate deadlines and instructing the appellate court to render its decision “with the least possible delay.” It further provides that the filing of post-trial motions does not extend the time for filing a notice of appeal as might otherwise be the case. The Family Code, however, does not purport to eliminate post-trial motions or otherwise constrict the trial court’s plenary power. In this case, Bettina’s timely filed motion for new trial extended the trial court’s plenary power but did not extend the deadline for filing the notice of appeal. However, because the trial court actually modified and corrected its judgment while it retained plenary power jurisdiction to do so, the time for filing the notice of appeal must be calculated from the date of the new final judgment. The time for filing a notice of accelerated appeal is restarted not by the filing of the motion but by the act of the court. Thus, the court concludes that the notice of appeal, filed three days after the signing of the corrected judgment, was timely. The department contends, however, that the corrected final judgment in this case was simply a sham to extend the time for appeal. Relying on Mackie v. McKenzie and Anderson v. Casebolt, the department argues that the appellate timetable should not restart when the record reveals that the trial court signed its new judgment “for the sole purpose of extending the appellate timetable.” Mackie v. McKenzie, 890 S.W.2d 807 (Tex. 1994) (discussing Anderson v. Casebolt, 493 S.W.2d 509 (Tex. 1973)). The department submits that any change to the judgment was purely cosmetic and solely for the purpose of extending Bettina’s time for appeal. In Anderson, the modified judgment was identical to the former judgment except for its date. The trial court even stated that the modified judgment was issued because the “counsel for the plaintiff did not discover such entry [of the former judgment] until too late to file a motion for new trial . . . .” The court held the appellate timetable did not restart because the record revealed that the modified judgment “could serve no purpose other than to enlarge the time for appeal.” The changes made to the judgment in this case are not so transparent. They include: revising the docket number to reflect a severance of the case as to J.L. from the case concerning the infant; correcting an attorney’s misspelled name; reflecting that the trial court, not just the jury, made the requisite findings for termination; deleting an erroneous reference to an inapplicable statute; and adding language regarding J.L.’s continued right to inherit from Bettina. In Check v. Mitchell, the court held that “any change, whether or not material or substantial, made in a judgment while the trial court retains plenary power” will restart the appellate timetable from the date the modified judgment is signed. 758 S.W.2d 755 (Tex. 1988). The trial court’s changes to its judgment satisfy Check’s standard and thus created a new judgment from which to calculate the time for appeal. The court conducts a legal sufficiency review. Viewing all the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury’s verdict and recognizing that the jury is the sole arbiter when assessing the credibility and demeanor of witnesses, the court concludes that a reasonable factfinder could form a firm belief or conviction that Bettina 1. knowingly placed or knowingly allowed J.L. to remain in conditions or surroundings which endangered his physical or emotional well-being; and 2. engaged in conduct or knowingly placed J.L. with persons who engaged in conduct that endangered J.L.’s physical or emotional well-being. Viewing all of this evidence in the light most favorable to the jury’s verdict and recognizing that the jury is the sole arbiter when assessing the credibility and demeanor of witnesses, the court concludes that a reasonable factfinder could form a firm belief or conviction that Bettina 1. knowingly placed or knowingly allowed J.L. to remain in conditions or surroundings which endangered his physical or emotional well-being; and 2. engaged in conduct or knowingly placed J.L. with persons who engaged in conduct that endangered J.L.’s physical or emotional well-being. OPINION:Medina, J., delivered the court’s opinion.

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