Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston
District Court of Harris County, Trial court No.1372425
ORDER OF ABATEMENT
Russell Lloyd, Judge
Neal Everett Bland, timely filed a notice of appeal of a
judgment of conviction for the offense of capital murder. The
trial court found that appellant was indigent for the purpose
of paying for the clerk's and reporter's records and
employing counsel. On May 2, 2016, appellant filed a motion,
stating that he wished to substitute retained counsel,
Carvana Hicks Cloud, for his appointed counsel on appeal,
Terrence Gaiser. This Court granted the motion. On November
30, 2016, Carvana Hicks Cloud filed a brief on
appellant's behalf. The State has not filed its brief.
January 4, 2017, Carvana Hicks Cloud filed a motion to
withdraw, stating that she has accepted a position with the
Harris County District Attorney's Office effective
January 1, 2017. However, the motion does not comply with
Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 6.5. The motion does not
contain (1) a list of current deadlines in the case, (2)
appellant's last known address, (3) a statement that a
copy of the motion was delivered to appellant, or (4) a
statement that he was notified in writing of his right to
object to the motion. See Tex. R. App. P. 6.5(a).
The motion also does not show that it was delivered to
appellant "in person or mailed-both by certified mail
and by first-class mail-to [appellant] at [his] last known
address." Id. 6.5(b). The motion is denied.
motion does not indicate whether appellant has obtained
substitute counsel. And, the record filed in this Court does
not indicate that appellant has been admonished regarding the
dangers and disadvantages of proceeding pro se or made an
intelligent and voluntary waiver of his right to counsel on
appeal. See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art.
1.051(a), (f) (West 2016); Goffney v. State, 843
S.W.2d 583, 584-85 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992); Hawkins v.
State, 613 S.W.2d 720, 722-23 (Tex. Crim. App.
we abate the appeal and remand the case to the trial court
for further proceedings. The trial court shall immediately
conduct a hearing at which a representative of the Harris
County District Attorney's Office; appellant's
retained appellate counsel, Carvana Hicks Cloud; and
appellant shall be present. If appellant is incarcerated, at
the trial court's discretion, appellant may participate
in the hearing by closed-circuit video teleconferencing
system that provides for a simultaneous compressed full
motion video and interactive communication of image and
We direct the trial court to:
(1) determine whether appellant still wishes to prosecute the
(2) determine whether appellant's retained counsel should
be allowed to withdraw from representing appellant on appeal;
(3) if retained counsel is allowed to withdraw, determine
whether appellant is now indigent;
(4) if appellant is indigent, appoint appellate counsel at no
expense to appellant;
(5) if appellant is not indigent,
a. determine whether he has retained an attorney and, if so,
obtain the name, address, and telephone number ...