Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
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
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.