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Thomas Leslie Mace v. Jill Bowen
Polk County Courthouse - Livingston, Texas
Case Number: 09-16-00175-CV
Judge: Charles Kreger
Court: Texas Court of Appeals, Ninth District on appeal from the County Court at Law of Polk County
Plaintiff's Attorney: Rachell Hunt, Harris County DA's Office
Defendant's Attorney: Thomas Leslie Mace, Pro Se
Description: Thomas Leslie Mace appeals the modification of a protective order. On May
11, 2015, the trial court found that Mace and Jill Bowen had a dating relationship
and that family violence had occurred and was likely to occur in the future. The trial
court signed a protective order to remain in effect until May 11, 2017, prohibiting
Mace from communicating with Bowen in a threatening or harassing manner and
excluding Mace from Bowen’s residence. Bowen filed a motion to modify the
protective order to include Bowen’s child, A.M.B.1 A hearing was scheduled for
May 18, 2016, and Mace appeared at the hearing.
Bowen testified that after the protective order originally issued, Mace
assaulted her while she was pregnant. The child was an infant when the trial court
heard the motion to modify the protective order. According to Bowen, Mace was
warned the he was not allowed to write to her because of the protective order. Mace
then started writing letters to her under another inmate’s name. The officer assigned
to Bowen’s case visited Mace in jail and warned him to stop writing to Bowen. At
that point, Mace started writing letters to the child. The letters discussed the events
that transpired between Mace and Bowen, and Bowen stated they were actually
meant for her and not for an infant too young to read. Additionally, Mace sent Bowen
threatening text messages after the protective order issued. In one exchange of text
messages between Mace and Bowen, Bowen suggested that she would have a friend
come over to protect her and the baby, and Mace replied, “And he won’t help.” The
trial court modified the protective order to prohibit Mace from harassing or
physically threatening the child or going within 200 yards of the child or his
childcare facility. Mace filed a notice of appeal.
1 Bowen stated that Mace is the child’s father, but at the time of the hearing,
no paternity action had been filed.
Mace argues he was unprepared for a hearing and claims Bowen is not a
credible witness. Mace did not request a continuance and, accordingly, waived any
complaint that the trial court proceeded with the hearing. See Tex. R. App. P. 33.1.
In a protective order hearing, the trial court is the trier of fact and the sole judge of
the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony. Boyd v.
Palmore, 425 S.W.3d 425, 431 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, no pet.).
Bowen presented evidence that Mace subverted the protective order through the
child, and Mace offered no evidence to challenge Bowen’s credibility in the
hearing.2 The trial court’s order modifying the protective order is affirmed.
* * *
2 Additionally, Mace argues he has a legitimate reason to contact the child
because his paternity was adjudicated in a separate case after the trial court modified
the protective order. That case was resolved in a separate appeal and is not at issue
here. See In re A.M.B., No. 09-16-0373-CV, 2017 WL 706498, at *1 (Tex. App.—
Beaumont Feb. 23, 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.).