Texas Stamp

OSPA Offers Practically Free Traffic-Stop Training for Rural Law Enforcement

Assistant State Prosecuting Attorney John R. Messinger will conduct a 4-hour presentation covering 4th Amendment issues with a focus on traffic stops.  The presentation is accompanied by a paper (distributed in advance) and includes:

∙ Historical perspective
∙ In-depth coverage of controlling law
∙ Discussion of recent cases and pending issues
∙ A quiz!

This service is for small or rural counties that do not have the resources to send officers for training.   Credit can be earned with a department’s approval. 


Call ((512) 463-1660) or email (information@spa.texas.gov) John to schedule a training day for this August (August will be the only time the service is offered).   

The department, county, or city will be responsible for John's mileage reimbursement and overnight residency (if needed). 


PD-0234-17, PD-0235-17 06/07/2017

"Whether the Court of Appeals erred in reforming Appellant's judgment to reflect conviction for a Class B misdemeanor."

Niles was charged with two counts of terroristic threat against fellow firefighters, which are Class A offenses with the public servant enhancement. Although the State alleged the enhancement and covered it in voir dire, the jury charge did not ask the jury to find it. There is no evidence the State intended to abandon it. Despite its omission, the judgments reflect Class A convictions and the trial court sentenced Niles to Class A punishments. No one objected that either was incorrect.

On appeal, Niles argued that both were incorrect because the jury's verdict supports only Class B convictions. The court of appeals agreed. It reformed the judgments to reflect Class B convictions and remanded for a new punishment hearing.

The State filed a petition asking whether the court of appeals should have applied the harmless error review for omitted elements outlined in Olivas v. State, 202 S.W.3d 137 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006). The Court refused that petition but granted one on its own motion that more broadly asks whether what the court of appeals did was correct.

Contact Us

Mailing Address

P. O. Box 13046
Austin, Texas 78711-3046

Physical Address

209 W. 14th Street
Austin, Texas 78701


(512) 463-1660


(512) 463-5724