Case Summaries

Each week, TDCAA staff members summarize the most important cases from Texas and federal criminal courts and provide insightful commentary on how those cases could impact the criminal justice system as well as a link to the opinions. Find a library of previous Weekly Case Summaries here.


September 22, 2023

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Continental Heritage Ins. Co. v. Kinnard, d/b/a Pat Kinnard Bail Bonds

No. PD-0018-23                       9/20/23


Are civil filing fees part of the court costs that a bonding company must pay if a bond is forfeited?


Yes, except when a statute exempts the State from liability for a particular filing fee, unless another provision requires a civil defendant to pay the fee if the State prevails. “To summarize: The State does not have to pay a filing fee up-front when it files a civil lawsuit (filing fees are deferred), but it is still liable for most filing fees if it loses. The State is exempt from paying some filing fees in a civil case even if it loses. Because those exempt filing fees are never ‘charged’ in the case, a losing civil defendant does not have to pay them—unless a statute specifically says the defendant has to pay them anyway.” Read opinion.


As this case reminds us, a bond forfeiture proceeding that derives from a criminal prosecution is a criminal matter (despite that they are procedurally controlled by the rules governing civil actions), and is its own, independent (albeit related) suit—not merely a continuation of the underlying criminal case.  Aside from these points, this case concerns who is responsible for paying filing fees and other court costs at the conclusion of a bond forfeiture proceeding, and when the responsible party is obligated to pay; thus, this opinion will largely be of interest only to bond-forfeiture prosecutors and bail bondsmen, or other sureties.

Texas Attorney General Opinions

AC-0005                      9/14/23


Is an executive order enforceable as a “law” under Penal Code 1.07(a)(30)?


Under Government Code 418.012, executive orders issued by the governor pursuant to his emergency powers under Government Code Chapter 418 “have the force and effect of law.” The Penal Code defines “law” to include a rule authorized by and lawfully adopted under a statute. “A court is therefore likely to conclude that executive orders authorized by and lawfully adopted pursuant to the Governor’s statutory emergency powers constitute ‘laws’ for purposes of” §1.07(a)(30). Read opinion.

TDCAA is pleased to offer these unique case summaries from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Courts of Appeals and the Texas Attorney General. In addition to the basic summaries, each case will have a link to the full text opinion and will offer exclusive prosecutor commentary explaining how the case may impact you as a prosecutor. The case summaries are for the benefit of prosecutors, their staff members, and members of the law enforcement community. These summaries are NOT a source of legal advice for citizens. The commentaries expressed in these case summaries are not official statements by TDCAA and do not represent the opinions of TDCAA, its staff, or any member of the association. Please email comments, problems, or questions to Stephanie Huser.