“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 This very court of appeals applied the rule in an unpublished summary judgment case.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.