Texas Criminal Procedure Questions
Limit answers to 5 lines
Lay out the jurisdiction for JP, Municipal, County, and District Courts
JP: cases which are punishable by no more than a fine and/or statutory rehabilitative sanctions; Municipal: concurrent jurisdiction over violation of city ordinances and exclusive jurisdiction over those punishable by more than $500 ($2000 for some); County: appellate over JP and municipal and original over misdemeanors over $500 for which J has no jurisdiction; District: felonies and misdemeanors transferred from unlicensed muni or involving official misconduct
Lay out the jurisdiction for the Court of Appeals
Appeal from district or county courts. Jurisdiction over JP or Muni if fine over $100 or sole constitutional issue. You can get here by normal appeal or habeas corpus collateral attack.
Lay out the jurisdiction for the Court of Criminal Appeals
Direct review for capital murder offenses when death penalty has been imposed; discretionary review over court of appeal decisions.
How are felonies classified?
First degree felonies, such as murder, are punishable by 5-99 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Second degree felonies, such as manslaughter, are punishable by 2-20 years and $10,000. Third degree felonies, such as kidnapping, are punishable by 2-10 years and $10,000.
How are misdemeanors classified?
Class A misdemeanors, such as unlawful possession f a firearm, is punishable by a year and $4000. Class B misdemeanors, such as DWI, are punishable 180 days and $2000. Class C misdemeanors, such as traffic violations, are punishable by $500.
What is a state jail felony?
Falls between a class A misdemeanor and third degree felony. A person can be sentenced anywhere from 180 days- 2 years and a $10,000 fine. Commercial bribery and credit card abuse fall within this category.
What are the investigation stages?
A pre-arrest investigation is usually followed by arrest, the bond, the post-arrest investigation. The beginning of the adversarial process is the charge. For a person arrested without a warrant, he must be brought before the magistrate within 48 hours (felony)/ 24 hours (mis’r) for a probable cause determination.
What are possible pre-trial motions?
Defense can make challenges to the legality of arrest, search, indictments by making a motion to quash as well as have such evidence excluded. The defense can also try to get some limited discovery. The defense should also make a motion for all exculpatory evidence (Brady). Must raise issues at least seven days before the hearing. Also, defendant gets 10 days to prepare.
What is “open file policy”?
This is a policy of many DA offices that allows the defense attorney to see the entire DA file. This is never a requirement, but it is a simpler way of discovery. DA often uses this policy to encourage a plea.
What are the stages of the trial?
Voir dire, jury impaneled, charging instrument read to jury, plea of defendant, opening statement of prosecutor (possible followed by defense), prosecution case in chief, defense motion for acquittal, defense open (if necessary), defense case in chief , rebuttal evidence, evidence is closed, jury charge is read, closing argument, jury deliberates, renders verdict, poll taken, punishment phase, sentencing, post trial motions, appeals.
What constitutes an arrest?
Physical restraint or restriction. Probable cause must exists to arrest. You can consider whether or not the police offer pulled his gun, whether a reasonable person would have felt free to leave, what was said to the defendant, number of officers, excessive use of force, threats, handcuffing, Miranda warnings.
What constitutes an investigatory detention?
Short of an arrest. Requires reasonable suspicion.
What are the requirements of a valid arrest warrant?
Application made by officer; officer files a sworn affidavit with magistrate; affidavit must establish probable cause to believe that named or described individual committed a crime.
What is the four corners doctrine?
This is the way the court would review the affidavit on appeal. The cour
peals, criminal appeals, supreme court. A greater specificity is required for evidentiary warrants.
How does plan view relate to mere evidence?
When you execute a “mere evidence” warrant, you cannot take additional “mere evidence” that you find, but you can take fruits, instrumentalities, and contraband that is in plain view. (Something else says that you cannot use Plain View exception for mere evidence in TX)
How quickly must a warrant be executed?
Must be executed within three days of issuance. The day issued and the day executed do not count when calculating the three days.
Good faith exception to warrant requirement?
It is an exception that the evidence was obtained by a law enforcement officer acting in good faith reliance upon a warrant issued by a neutral magistrate upon probable cause. You can get the good faith exception excluded by showing that the officer knew it was wrong or that the officer recklessly disregarded it; also, if the warrant lacks probable cause, GFE does not apply.
When can contraband be seized without a warrant?
Texas follows federal constitutional law on warrantless searches . Contraband is defined as property connected with criminal activity. Contraband may be seized without a warrant if it is a search incident to: consent; arrest; search; lawful search incident to arrest.
What is the scope of a search incident to arrest?
Must first show probable cause; then you must show that the warrant wasn’t necessary. If you have placed the defendant under full custodial arrest, then you have a search incident to arrest. You can search the defendant and anything within the defendants access. (Check me)