Weekly Case Summaries: September 15, 2017

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In the wake of Harvey’s devastating impact on our state, the Board of the Texas District and County Attorneys Foundation has started a relief fund to assist those prosecutor office staff members who have suffered losses. 100 percent of your donation to the fund will go directly to those who have suffered hurricane and flood damage. The Board’s intention is to run the fund-raising campaign through the Annual Criminal and Civil Law Update, and then to accept applications and get the help out to folks in early October. So please click here to help those in our profession who need your help! If you have any questions, call Rob Kepple at 512/474-2436.

Texas Courts of Appeals

Liles v. State

Nos. 12-17-00084-CR & -00085-CR            9/06/17

Issue:

Are new indictments alleging aggravated manner or means and charging first-degree felonies the “same criminal action” as an original indictment alleging second-degree felonies?

Holding:

No. Once a defendant has given bail, he cannot be required to give another bond in the course of the “same criminal action” under Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 17.09. There is no prior Texas authority defining what constitutes the “same criminal action.” Comparing the charges in the two indictments in this case, the court notes that the new charges required proof of facts not required in the original charges. The original indictments, alleging second-degree felonies, charged that the defendant acted recklessly. The new indictments, alleging first-degree felonies, charged that the defendant acted intentionally and knowingly. For these reasons, the charges in the new indictments are not part of the “same criminal action” as the old indictments. The court did not abuse its discretion in revoking the original bond and requiring a new higher bond. Read opinion.

Commentary:

In this case of first impression, the court holds that a trial court can require a defendant to post new bonds if a re-indictment of the case results in an increased or aggravated charge. This seems like a reasonable result, because facing increased punishment might change the defendant’s mind on whether it is a good idea to stick around for trial. Add this case to the “bail” section of your book of good ideas.

Attorney General Opinions

Opinion KP-0163

Issue:

Must a district attorney’s office pay for a copy of a reporter’s record filed with the trial court clerk pursuant to Rule of Appellate Procedure 34.6(h)?

Response:

Neither the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, nor chapter 52 of the Government Code, nor a court reporter’s ethical duties authorize a court reporter to charge a district attorney’s office when the State is not the appellant for the copy of the reporter’s record filed with the trial court clerk pursuant to Rule 34.6(h). Read opinion.

Commentary:

Any prosecutor who ever had to get a check cut (or write a personal check) to a court reporter to meet an appellate deadline will treasure this AG opinion. It makes clear that if the court reporter files a record in a criminal appeal, he is required to file a copy with the trial court clerk even if the defendant paid for the record.

Request RQ-0177-KP

Question:

Which body-worn camera recordings may an officer review, pursuant to Occupations Code §1701.655(b)(5), before making a statement about an officer-involved incident? Read Request.

Commentary:

At issue here is not whether an officer gets to review BWC footage, but what footage the officer gets to review. As made clear by the request, there may be many officers in the vicinity of an incident, not all of whose cameras capture relevant data. Moreover, the vantage points of these officers may be such that the officer under investigation could not have seen what the other cameras capture. These videos, if reviewed, could affect the validity of statements made after reviewing them.

Announcements

The Court of Criminal Appeals has issued a joint order with the Supreme Court of Texas giving authorization to all courts in the state to consider disaster-caused delays as good cause for modifying or suspending all deadlines and procedures in any case. Read order here.  

TDCAA is now shipping its 2017 code books. For more information or to place an order, visit http://www.tdcaa.com/publications.

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 [email protected].