In December 2019, County Court at Law No. 3 of Montgomery County, Texas found Nicola Kluge in contempt and ordered she be confined to jail for 130 days. The court found that Nicola violated the SAPCR order which included a geographic restriction that stated that the primary residence of her minor children must remain within Montgomery and Harris Counties. Earlier that year, after Nicola’s extremely gifted fifteen year old son received a scholarship to attend Texas A&M, she rented an apartment for him in Bryan, Texas near the campus. Soon after her son turned sixteen, he filed a petition seeking emancipation, and the Brazos County Court granted his petition. The trial court found that removing her son for the purpose of attending Texas A&M violated the SAPCR order.
Clouthier Law was retained on December 30, 2019 to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus on behalf of Nicola. At the time she had already served eleven days in county jail. The firm’s first priority when retained was to obtain bond as quickly as possible so that Nicola could remain free while the challenge was pending in the Court of Appeals. The firm first sought bond from the trial court, and the trial court ruled that it would grant bond upon the filing of the writ. The firm worked diligently to obtain the transcript of the hearing, review the record and the relevant law, and file the writ as soon as possible. The firm filed the writ on January 6, 2020. Within mere hours of filing the writ, the Ninth Court of Appeals issued bond, and Nicola was released on bond.
Ultimately, the Court of Appeals granted the writ of habeas corpus, set aside the trial court’s order of contempt, discharged Nicola from custody and released her bond. In its unpublished opinion, No. 09-20-00004-CV, the court concluded that the geographic restriction in the SAPCR order did not spell out the details of compliance in clear, specific and unambiguous terms, therefore the order was not enforceable by contempt.
Nicola and her family expressed sincere gratitude to our firm for correcting the wrongs of the justice system on her behalf. On google she wrote—
“Susan is a gift from God!! I was wrongfully incarcerated. Within two hours (!) of reading Susan”s brief, the Appellate Court released me from jail. They found me to be innocent, cleared my record. . .Susan gave me my life back!! My family and I are forever grateful to her!”
The attorneys at Clouthier Law are dedicated to helping those like Nicola obtain justice. The justice system is not perfect, and we want to help.