Sunday, February 10, 2008

Public LIkely to Benefit From Recent Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Decision

On Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals announced a decision in the case of State v. Crook (PD-0001-07). The ruling is expected to have an impact on the amount of money criminal defendants can be ordered to pay for their crimes. The Court's decision clarified how fines should be treated in association with Texas laws that require the sentences to be served concurrently when the charges all arise from the same criminal episode and are prosecuted together. After recognizing a sentence includes both the fine and the jail time, the Court found the fines must also be served concurrently.

The Crook case involved former El Paso attorney, James Crook. The trial court found Crook guilty of thirteen counts of improperly soliciting clients and entered a sentence requiring Crook to pay thirteen separate $10,000 fines and serve seven years of probation. As a result of the ruling from the Court of Criminal Appeals, Crook will now pay only one $10,000 fine, and the remaining twelve fines will be considered paid in full because they "run" at the same time.

State v. Crook
New rule brings confusion but no respite from parking fines [Austin American-Statesman]

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