Texas Stamp

 

 

CARTER, DOUGLAS

PD-1449-16 11/08/2017

“Did the court of appeals err in holding that Section 133.102(a)(1) of the Texas Local Government Code by which the ‘consolidated court cost’ was assessed is not facially unconstitutional?”

On appeal, Carter challenged the “consolidated court cost” assessed against him as unconstitutional. He argued that three of the ways that the Local Gov’t Code statute allocated revenue from these costs did not “relate[] to the administration of our criminal justice system” as required to pass constitutional muster. One of the allocations went into the general revenue fund, another was being spent at the direction of an executive branch agency, and a third did not designate which account the funds should go to.

The court of appeals held Carter did not meet his burden of showing the statute unconstitutional. The court followed its own precedent in Ingram v. State, No. 02-16-00157-CR (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Nov. 23, 2016, pet. ref’d), which held that the Local Gov’t Code statute’s designated uses related to the administration of the criminal justice system, regardless of where the funds are actually deposited or disbursed.

Carter points to Revisor’s Notes in the annotated statutes showing that one of the allocated revenue streams is now an account in the state’s general revenue fund. He contends that for another, statutes in the Human Resources Code direct the funds for a non-criminal-justice purpose and that the third lacks statutory direction to ensure it is for a permissible purpose. He also argues that the three unconstitutional uses for consolidated court costs are so intermingled with the rest of the statute that the entire statute must be struck down.    

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