Texas Stamp


PD-0805-16 11/09/2016

  1. "Is a theory of law offered to prove a violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act timely presented if made for the first time in a motion for new trial?"
  2. "Is a county employee who retrieves the prosecuting officer's mail its agent for service of an inmate's request for trial under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act?"
  3. "Does a trial court abuse its discretion by failing to believe testimony or draw inferences contrary to its ruling?"

Cahill was incarcerated in Oklahoma when Collin County sent a detainer to his prison. Pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act (IADA), see Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 51.14, Cahill sent a letter demanding a trial on the Texas charges. The IADA requires that trial occur within 180 days from the date the demand is "delivered to the . . . prosecuting officer" or else the case is dismissed with prejudice. Cahill requested dismissal but the State denied it received his demand. Cahill's request was denied, and he was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison.

In his motion for new trial, and for the first time, Cahill alleged that his demand was received by the D.A.'s office. At a hearing, a Collin County employee said that one of his subordinates was tasked with picking up the county's mail, including that of the D.A. He claimed he acted as an agent of the D.A.'s office. The trial court allowed the motion to be overruled by operation of law. The court of appeals reversed, holding "the trial court could not have reasonably concluded appellant's IADA request was not delivered to the prosecuting attorney's designated agent," making the trial untimely and requiring dismissal.

The State raises three grounds. First, it argues that an IADA claim is forfeited if not raised pretrial and that Cahill did not present the factual basis for dismissal until after trial. Second, it challenges the applicability of agency principles because the Supreme Court explicitly requires delivery to the prosecuting authority and the IADA does not provide for surrogates. Third, even if the complaint was preserved and agency is permitted, the standard of review requires viewing the record in accordance with the ruling. Viewed thus, Cahill did not satisfy his burden of proof of actual delivery to the D.A.'s office.

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