IN RE: Marion Leroy Jones

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Court of Appeals of Texas, Beaumont.

IN RE: Marion Leroy Jones

NO. 09–15–00492–CV

Decided: January 28, 2016

Before Kreger, Horton, and Johnson, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Relator Marion Leroy Jones (Relator) filed a petition for mandamus, in which he complains about the withdrawal of funds from his inmate trust account and he alleges that the trial court erred by refusing “to issue or enter[ ] post judgment garnishment or a proper ‘writ of garnishment[.]’ ”  Relator complains that the trial court “tried Relator's case without even having subject matter jurisdiction, after receiving a letter ‘Attachment A Order to Withdraw Funds', dated January 24, 2013, assessed court cost and fees in the amount of $1713.00.”  Relator further argues that he was not accorded due process nor given proper notice before the trial court entered the “Post Judgment Garnishment Order directing removal of money from his inmate trust account;  no attempt was made to follow Garnishment Procedure, Turnover Procedure, or any other type of procedure before the court enter its order[.]”

Proceedings to recover court fees and costs assessed against inmates are generally civil in nature.  Harrell v. State, 286 S.W.3d 315, 316 (Tex.2009);  see also Johnson v. Tenth Judicial Dist. Court of Appeals at Waco, 280 S.W.3d 866, 868–69 (Tex.Crim.App.2008) (orig.proceeding) (holding withdrawal of funds from inmate trust accounts not a criminal matter).  For that reason, we evaluate relator's petition under the standards applicable to civil mandamus proceedings.  Ordinarily, to obtain mandamus relief in a civil case, a relator must show both that the trial court has clearly abused its discretion and that relator has no adequate appellate remedy.  In re Prudential Ins. Co., 148 S.W.3d 124, 135–36 (Tex.2004) (orig.proceeding).

The relator has not demonstrated that the trial court has abused its discretion.  An inmate is entitled to notice, via copy of an order of withdrawal or other notification, and an opportunity to be heard concerning withdrawal of funds from his inmate trust account.  Harrell, 286 S.W.3d at 321.  However, neither need occur before the funds are withdrawn.  Id. (emphasis added).  Notification of the withdrawal after removal of the funds, which relator has received, satisfies the notice requirement.  See id.  The opportunity to file a motion challenging the withdrawal satisfies the requirement that the inmate be afforded an opportunity to be heard.  Id. Thus, relator has not demonstrated that the trial court has abused its discretion.

Additionally, relator has not shown that he lacks an adequate remedy by appeal.  In fact, the Texas Supreme Court has stated that the proper method for seeking appellate review of an order of withdrawal of funds from an inmate trust account is by appeal of the order.  Id. (“[A]ppellate review should be by appeal, as in analogous civil post-judgment enforcement actions.”).

We deny the petition for writ of mandamus.

PER CURIAM