July 10, 2009

Texas Courts of Appeals

Urdiales v. State- 4th COA

07/01/09 : Cite No. 04-08-00546-CR : Racing Statute


Is Transportation Code §545.420 (racing on the highway) unconstitutionally vague in its definition of "the innocent conduct of mere passing on the highway"?


No. The defendant’s "as applied" challenge to the statute failed because he did not show that the statute was impermissibly vague as to his own conduct. The information was sufficient under Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 21.11 because it tracked the language of the statute.
Read opinion.


Justice Marion agreed with the majority but would urge the Legislature to change the statute’s definition of "race" (using one or more vehicles in an attempt to "outgain or outdistance" another vehicle), which she believes risks criminalizing behavior by an ordinary law-abiding citizen who is simply using his vehicle to pass another.
Read concurrence.


This might have been an interesting issue for the court of appeals. As the concurring opinion points out, one of the definitions of "race" does seem to be the sort of innocent conduct one would expect to see when any driver seeks to pass another driver. The defendant, however, provided not one factual detail associated with his actual crime of racing. That is just sad representation and leaves the court with nothing to decide.


Lackey v. State- 6th COA

07/02/09 : Cite No. 06-08-00162-CR : Pecuniary Damages


Did the trial court correctly assess pecuniary damages at more than $1,500 for criminal mischief where the defendant was convicted of throwing handfuls of roofing nails into the roadway and damaging the tires on the victim’s truck and on three police cars?


No. An employee from the local Goodyear tire store testified as to the value of the tires, whether they were damaged or destroyed. The State produced evidence of the cost of replacement tires, but no evidence of the cost of repairing or restoring the tires from the patrol vehicles. Evidence of repair to the victim’s truck showed a pecuniary loss of around only $80, and the State used only replacement value as proof of loss without first demonstrating that the fair market value of the property at the time of the damage could not be ascertained.
Read opinion.


If you want to see what happens when trashy people drink too much and fight, read this opinion.


Attorney General Opinion Requests

Request from the Kerr County Attorney

06/22/09 : Request No. RQ-08-09-GA : Transport of Proposed Mental Patients


Under Government Code §402.043, may a peace officer who has taken a proposed patient into custody under Health and Safety Code §573.001 (peace officer’s emergency detention) or §573.011 (judge’s or magistrate’s order for emergency apprehension and detention) be required to transport the proposed patient to a medical facility for evaluation prior to acceptance by either a state hospital or a local MHMR crisis stabilization unit?
Read opinion request.

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