Texas Courts of Appeals
No. 02-21-00058-CR 1/13/21
Did the Legislature’s removal of the term, “reparations,” from Art. 42.03, §2(b) in 2017 strip the trial court’s ability to assess unpaid monthly probation fees in a judgment revoking probation or adjudicating guilt after revoking deferred-adjudication probation?
No. The court noted the Legislature’s intent was a nonsubstantive revision when removing the term “reparations.” Additionally, adopting a functional approach, the court held that these fees were not part of punishment or restitution but instead were administrative fees authorized by Art. 42A.652(a). Read opinion.
This appears to be an issue confined to the Fort Worth Court of Appeals, and the court treats it as such. Apart from that court of appeals, there are very few, if any, decisions dealing with “reparations” after the 2017 amendment deleted the word. The more significant issue the court decides is that a trial court has the authority to assess unpaid monthly probation fees in a judgment revoking the defendant’s probation or adjudicating his guilt. In that respect, the court disagrees with a prior holding of the Eastland Court of Appeals and construes a decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals as not holding to the contrary. The court’s statutory analysis is thorough, but it is possible that the Court of Criminal Appeals might wish to review this decision.
No. 03-20-00110-CR 1/13/21
May a trial court grant the defendant’s motion for a new trial in the “interest of justice” when the defendant believes a witness’s testimony is disingenuous?
No. In this case, the defendant did not articulate or show how his substantial rights were affected by the witness’s testimony. A trial court may not make a determination on its own about the credibility of a witness’s testimony. As a result, the court of appeals reversed the order granting a new trial. Read opinion.
This is a great decision, emphasizing once again that, to grant a defendant’s motion for new trial, the trial judge must rely upon a “legal” reason. Claims of false or misleading testimony can be raised in other proceedings, but if presented in a motion for new trial, this decision should help in confronting the defendant’s motion.