Texas Stamp

BELL, KENDALL

PD-1383-18 04/03/2019

1.  “May appellant mount a jurisdictional attack on the certification order without having filed a timely motion in bar of prosecution as required by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 4.18?”

2.  “Does Manuel v. State and its progeny apply to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 44.47 to procedurally default appellant from raising claims upon revocation that he could have pursued on appeal from the order of deferred adjudication?”

The State accused 16-year-old Bell of engaging in delinquent conduct by committing aggravated robbery. The juvenile court waived its jurisdiction over Bell and transferred his case to criminal district court. There, he pleaded guilty and was placed on deferred. He did not appeal at that time. He violated his probation, and the district court found him guilty and sentenced him to 20 years.

He appealed and argued that the juvenile court’s transfer order lacked the specific findings required under Moon v. State, 451 S.W.3d 28 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014), and thus was insufficient to transfer the proceedings.  The State argued that the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction to reach the Moon claim because (1) Bell did not file a motion in bar of prosecution, required under Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 4.18, before claiming that the juvenile court did not waive jurisdiction; and (2) Bell failed to challenge the transfer order in an appeal immediately after being placed on deferred. The court of appeals rejected the State’s arguments, vacated the conviction, and remanded to the juvenile court for a new transfer hearing.

As to the first issue, it held that Art. 4.18(g) expressly exempts claims of defects in the discretionary transfer proceedings from the requirement of filing a motion in bar and that Art. 4.18 is further inapplicable here because the juvenile court did waive jurisdiction, it just abused its discretion in doing so (because of inadequate findings). As for the second issue, the court of appeals acknowledged that, under Manuel v. State, 994 S.W.2d 658 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999), issues relating to the original plea proceeding may be raised only in appeals taken when deferred is first imposed. Nevertheless, it held that this “background rule” did not govern because Article 44.47, which applies to appeals of juvenile transfer orders, specifically permitted such appeals either in an appeal of a conviction or a deferred adjudication order.    

The State contends that Art. 4.18 requires a motion in bar because, contrary to the court of appeals’s finding, Bell alleged more than a mere defect in the transfer proceedings; he alleged the order failed to confer jurisdiction on the criminal court.  The State also argues that to the extent that Bell raised a non-jurisdictional defect claim, Manuel and its progeny bar such a claim.  It is not simply a “background rule” that could be made inapplicable by a specific statute. Under Family Code § 54.02(h), once certified as an adult, Bell is subject to all the procedures applicable to adults—and that includes the rule, arising out of Art. 42.12 and Rule of Appellate Procedure 26.2(a)(1), that he cannot wait until after revocation to appeal the decision that placed him on community supervision.

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