Capital murder defendant wants his children back, files appeal

Capital murder defendant wants his children back, files appeal

Capital murder defendant James Calvert is appealing a judge's decision to terminate his parental rights. It's the latest chapter in a child custody case that began in November of 2012. On Halloween of that year Calvert allegedly killed his ex-wife Jelena and then kidnapped his young son. He was later caught in Louisiana.

It's been a month since Calvert was in front of Judge Carole Clark, fighting alone against Child Protective Services after firing his court appointed attorney.

That day Calvert's cousin gained custody of the capital murder suspect's two young children. Documents newly obtained by CBS 19 show Calvert intends to appeal that decision.

He wrote a long and rambling list of objections to what went on, saying the court violated his right to present evidence which would have gone into the consideration of his ability to "provide a safe environment" for those children.

His contention is that CPS needed to prove "clear and convincing evidence" that he "abandoned" the children and can't give them a place to live safely. His writings do not include an explanation of how his prolonged and open-ended jail stay alone wouldn't be evidence enough.

Instead he complains of being treated like a prisoner in "belly chains and hand-cuffs."

The documents also reveal why he fired his court-appointed lawyer, claiming the attorney's presence in the courtroom was "a control mechanism to disable [my] ability to speak and litigate the case."

Calvert argues that because he never filled out a so-called "pauper's oath" indicating his indigence, the court-appointed attorney was provided illegally. However, his appeal contains several references to his own indigence--as found in a court of law--which is used to procure documents and services at tax-payer expense.

For the time being, Calvert's two children are in the Houston area completing the school semester while in foster care. After that they'll go out of state to live with the relative as ordered by Judge Clark.


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