MICHAEL LADERICK FITTS APPELLANT v. THE STATE OF TEXAS APPELLEE

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Court of Appeals of Texas, Tyler.

MICHAEL LADERICK FITTS, APPELLANT v. THE STATE OF TEXAS, APPELLEE

NOS. 12-17-00028-CR

Decided: June 30, 2017

Panel consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Michael Laderick Fitts appeals his convictions for aggravated robbery in two cases that are consolidated on appeal. Appellant argues that the judgments impose unconstitutional court costs. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

Appellant was charged by two indictments with aggravated robbery. He entered open pleas of “guilty” to the offenses, and the matter proceeded to a bench trial on punishment. The trial court assessed Appellant's punishment at imprisonment for eighteen years in each case. This appeal followed.

COURT COSTS

In each of Appellant's cases, he argues that this Court should modify the trial court's judgment and withdrawal order to remove unconstitutional court costs.

Applicable Law

The imposition of court costs upon a criminal defendant is a “nonpunitive recoupment of the costs of judicial resources expended in connection with the trial of the case.” Johnson v. State, 423 S.W.3d 385, 390 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014). The consolidated fee statute requires a defendant to pay a court cost of $133 on conviction of a felony. TEX. LOC. GOV'T CODE ANN. § 133.102(a)(1) (West Supp. 2016). The money received is divided among a variety of state government accounts according to percentages dictated by the statute. See id. § 133.102(e) (West Supp. 2016); Salinas v. State, No. PD-0170-16, 2017 WL 915525, at *1 (Tex. Crim. App. Mar. 8, 2017). The court of criminal appeals has held the statute unconstitutional with respect to two of these accounts: an account for “abused children's counseling” and an account for “comprehensive rehabilitation.” See Salinas, 2017 WL 915525, at *1. As a result, the court held that any fee assessed pursuant to the statute must be reduced pro rata to eliminate the percentage of the fee associated with these accounts. Id. The court further held that its holding applies only to (1) a defendant who raised the appropriate claim in a petition for discretionary review before the date of the court's opinion, if that petition is still pending on that date and the claim would otherwise be properly before the court on discretionary review, or (2) a defendant whose trial ends after the mandate in Salinas issues. Id. at *6.

Analysis

Here, the bills of costs show that the $133 consolidated fee was assessed in each case. However, because (1) no petition for discretionary review is pending on Appellant's claim, and (2) the proceedings in the trial court ended on January 17, 2017—well before the court of criminal appeals's decision in Salinas—the court's holding in that case does not apply. See id. Accordingly, we overrule Appellant's issue in each case.

DISPOSITION

Having overruled Appellant's issues, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

JUDGMENT

THIS CAUSE came to be heard on the appellate record and briefs filed herein, and the same being considered, it is the opinion of this court that there was no error in the judgment.

It is therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that the judgment of the court below be in all things affirmed, and that this decision be certified to the court below for observance.

JUDGMENT

THIS CAUSE came to be heard on the appellate record and briefs filed herein, and the same being considered, it is the opinion of this court that there was no error in the judgment.

It is therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that the judgment of the court below be in all things affirmed, and that this decision be certified to the court below for observance.

Brian Hoyle, Justice.