Price Gouging as Texans Prepare to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus
Price gouging is illegal, and a disaster declaration triggers tough penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Texans who believe they've encountered price gouging should contact the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection.
“The Eighth Court’s holding that rule 25.2(g)’s jurisdictional bar does not apply to deprive a trial court of jurisdiction pending issuance of the mandate on a State’s interlocutory appeal–the basis of the Eighth Court’s ultimate conclusion that Macias’s premandate trial was improperly terminated and his retrial jeopardy barred–was erroneous and impermissibly abridged the State’s right to appeal under article 44.01.”
The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s ruling granting Macias’ motion to suppress. On remand, Macias’ jury trial began before the court of appeals’ mandate issued. After both parties closed, the State notified the trial court of the procedural irregularity. The court maintained that it lacked jurisdiction to declare a mistrial and dismissed the jury. Macias filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that a second trial would be jeopardy barred. The trial court denied relief, and Macias appealed.
The court of appeals ruled in Macias’ favor. It determined that Tex. R. App. P. 25.2(g), which states that further proceedings in the trial court are suspended until mandate issues, did not deprive the trial court of jurisdiction. Rule 25.2(g), according to the court, operates differently when there is an interlocutory appeal. Pending such an appeal, the trial court retains jurisdiction over the case and can adjudicate the merits. Thus, the jury trial was proper and any subsequent prosecution of Macias is jeopardy barred.
The State contends that jeopardy never attached because the proceedings were null and void in their entirety, so the trial court’s termination was proper and Macias’s retrial is not jeopardy barred. The State claims that the court of appeals erred to draw a distinction between interlocutory appeals and appeals after final conviction. The State argues that Rule 25.2(g) must be read in conjunction with Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 44.01(a), which allows the State to appeal an order granting a defendant’s motion to suppress and seek discretionary review if necessary. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 44.01(h). Further, the State is entitled to a stay pending the disposition of its appeal. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 44.01(e). The State observes that the Court of Criminal Appeals in State v. Robinson construed these provisions and held: “[w]hen the State seeks to exercise its right to appeal an order modifying an existing judgment, the trial court is deprived of jurisdiction over the case during the pendency of such an appeal, and the court would be unable to modify or alter its ruling during that period.” 498 S.W.3d 914, 921 (Tex. Crim. App. 2016). As a result, the trial court in this case lacked jurisdiction before mandate issued.