Texas Stamp


PD-0008-22 03/02/2022

“The  Second  Court  of  Appeals’s  opinion  that  draws  a  determinative  distinction under  article  22.02  of  the  Texas  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure  between  the  calling of  a  defendant’s  name  at  a  “courtroom  door”  as  opposed  to  a  “courthouse  door” conflicts  with  every  other  Texas  appellate  decision  rendered  on  the  same  issue, including  three  settled  opinions  from  this  Court.  The  Second  Court’s  decision introduces confusion  and conflict into an area of law that  was  previously simple and  undisturbed  and  leaves  bailiffs  and  clerks  who  are  tasked  with  ensuring compliance  with  article  22.02  in  a  state  of  flux.  This  Court  should  grant discretionary review.”

After a defendant failed to appear for court, the judge signed a judgment nisi to forfeit the bond. The State moved for traditional summary judgment against Green, the bondsman, and offered documentary evidence that the defendant’s name was called at the courtroom door. Green responded that there was a fact issue to be decided—whether the defendant’s name had been called at the courthouse door, as Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 22.02 requires. The trial court granted summary judgment and forfeited the bond.   

Green appealed. The court of appeals reversed. It acknowledged numerous cases hold that courtroom-calling substantially complies with Art. 22.02 but noted that most involved trial, not summary judgment, evidence. 

The State relies on the “previously simple and undisturbed” Court of Criminal Appeals’s holdings that courtroom-calling is substantial compliance—i.e., fully satisfies—Art. 22.02. This very court of appeals applied the rule in an unpublished summary judgment case. It contends that calling at the courtroom always constitutes calling at the courthouse and better serves the statute’s notice purpose than calling at a random exterior courthouse door. It argues that if substantial compliance satisfies the State’s burden at trial, it meets the summary-judgment threshold. Instead of creating doubt concerning the statutory requirement, it affirmatively establishes it.    


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