Court waits on Mary Winkler

Mary Winkler will have to respond by Friday to a Jackson appeals court order that says the court appears to lack jurisdiction to hear an appeal she filed in her child custody case.

The Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Jackson issued its order last Friday and has given Winkler until this Friday to show cause why the court should not dismiss her appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

It appears that her application, which was filed May 23, should have been made in circuit court instead of in the appeals court, according to the order.

Winkler had asked the Court of Appeals to order Madison County Juvenile Court to hear her custody petitions before a Carroll County Chancery Court judge hears a petition from her in-laws. The appeals court had ordered a stay in the chancery court proceedings while it considered her request.

Kay Farese Turner, Winkler’s lawyer in the custody case, said Monday that the order is a “show-cause order,” which are routinely issued.

“We’re in the process of briefing the question the court asked,” Turner said. “We believe we’ve filed the appeal to the appropriate court under the law.”

Winkler, 33, was sentenced Friday on a voluntary manslaughter conviction for the shooting death of her husband, Selmer’s Fourth Street Church of Christ minister Matthew Winkler. With credit for time served, on Friday she began serving what amounts to 67 days incarceration. She likely will spend seven days of that in the McNairy County Jail and 60 days in a mental health facility, her attorneys have said. After that, she would be on probation for three years, according to court officials.

One of her attorneys in the criminal case, Steve Farese Sr., said Monday that it would probably be Wednesday before attorneys know about a mental health facility where Winkler could serve the 60 days.

Winkler is in a battle with her husband’s parents, Dan and Diane Winkler of Huntingdon, for custody of her three girls, Patricia, 9, Mary Alice (Allie), 7, and Brianna, 2.

Dan and Diane Winkler filed their petition in chancery court in Carroll County seeking to end Mary Winkler’s parental rights and to adopt their grandchildren.

Meanwhile, Madison County Juvenile Court Judge Christy Little decided to postpone Mary Winkler’s case in that court, in which Winkler was seeking the immediate return of her children and to set aside an agreed custody order she initially had with her in-laws.

Little’s ruling was that Mary Winkler’s case needed to be postponed until the chancery court case was heard.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Tonya Smith-King, The Jackson Sun, Jun. 12, 2007,

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday June 14, 2007.
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