IN RE: Daniel Salerno

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Court of Appeals of Texas, El Paso.

IN RE: Daniel Salerno, Relator.

No. 08–16–00029–CR

Decided: February 24, 2016

Before McClure, C. J., Rodriguez, and Hughes, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Relator, Daniel Salerno, has filed a petition for writ of mandamus against the Honorable Jesus Herrera, Judge of the County Criminal Court No. 4 of El Paso County, Texas.  Relator requests that we order Respondent to set aside its order for a Faretta 1 hearing and dismiss two criminal cases for lack of jurisdiction.  The petition for writ of mandamus is denied.

Mandamus relief is appropriate only when a relator establishes (1) that he has no adequate remedy at law to redress his alleged harm, and (2) that what he seeks to compel is a ministerial act, not a discretionary or judicial decision.  In re Allen, 462 S.W.3d 47, 49 (Tex.Crim.App.2015).  The ministerial-act component is satisfied when the relator shows that he has a clear right to the relief sought.  Id. This showing is made when the facts and circumstances dictate but one rational decision under unequivocal, well-settled, and clearly controlling legal principles. Id. A ministerial act, by its nature, does not involve the use of judicial discretion.  Id. A trial court has a ministerial duty to rule upon a properly filed and timely presented motion.  Id. at 50.  The record does not reflect that Judge Herrera has refused or failed to rule on the motion to dismiss.  Relator has failed to establish that he is entitled to mandamus relief.  Accordingly, we deny the petition for writ of mandamus.

FOOTNOTES

1.   Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975).  The purpose of a Faretta hearing is for the trial court to caution the defendant regarding the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation and to ascertain whether the defendant's decision to represent himself is a knowing and voluntary one.  See id. at 835, 95 S.Ct. at 2541.

STEVEN L. HUGHES, Justice