Appeal from the 339th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 0770063
consists of Justices Christopher, Busby, and Jewell.
consider two questions in this appeal from the renewal of an
involuntary commitment order for continued inpatient mental
health services: first, whether the trial court had
jurisdiction to issue the order; and second, whether there is
legally sufficient evidence to support the order. We conclude
that the trial court had jurisdiction, but that its order is
not supported by legally sufficient evidence. We reverse the
trial court's order and render judgment that appellant
does not continue to meet the criteria for involuntary
commitment for extended inpatient mental health services.
1998, appellant was found not guilty by reason of insanity in
the capital murder of her infant child. Following her
acquittal, the trial court issued an order involuntarily
committing appellant to inpatient treatment at a mental
hospital. The order was initially set to expire after a
period of thirty days, but the trial court renewed it for a
longer duration upon finding that appellant still required
inpatient treatment. The trial court continued to renew its
commitment order after additional periodic reviews.
2016, before the commitment order was scheduled to be
reviewed again, the mental hospital recommended that
appellant receive treatment on an outpatient basis. The State
opposed the recommendation, and the trial court conducted a
non-jury hearing to determine whether a transition to
outpatient care would be appropriate. Concluding that
appellant still met the criteria for involuntary commitment
for continued inpatient mental health services, the trial
court issued an order renewing its commitment order for a
period of one year. Appellant timely appealed from that
first issue, appellant challenges whether the trial court had
jurisdiction to renew its commitment order.
test for subject-matter jurisdiction is whether the trial
court has the power to enter upon an inquiry, not whether its
conclusions are substantively correct. See Diocese of
Galveston-Houston v. Stone, 892 S.W.2d 169, 174 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1994, orig. proceeding). A trial
court has subject- matter jurisdiction "when the nature
of the case falls within the general category of cases the
court is empowered, under applicable statutory and
constitutional provisions, to adjudicate." Id.
trial court derived its power to adjudicate the question of
appellant's involuntary commitment from Former Article
46.03 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. By the plain
language of that statute, the trial court was required to
commit a person to a mental hospital if the person was found
not guilty by reason of insanity in a case involving serious
bodily injury to another. See Act effective Sept. 1,
1989, 71st Leg., R.S., ch. 393, § 9, 1989 Tex. Gen. Laws
1520, 1525 (Former Art. 46.03, § 4(d)(1)). The statute
provided that "the trial court shall retain jurisdiction
over the person so acquitted." Id. (Former Art.
46.03, § 4(d)(1)). The statute also provided that
"the court shall order that the person be returned to a
mental hospital" if, upon a periodic review of its
commitment order, "the court determines that the
acquitted person continues to meet the criteria for
involuntary commitment." See Act effective Aug.
29, 1983, 68th Leg., R.S., ch. 454, § 3, 1983 Tex. Gen.
Laws 2640, 2645 (Former Art. 46.03, § 4(d)(5)).
trial court issued its renewal order citing the authority
given to it under Former Article 46.03. Appellant now argues
that this explicit reliance on a repealed statute has the
effect of negating the trial court's jurisdiction. We
that repealed Former Article 46.03 contained a savings
clause, which provided as follows:
The change in law made by this Act applies only to an offense
committed on or after the effective date of this Act. An
offense committed before the effective date of this Act is
covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed,
and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
For purposes of this section, an offense was committed before
the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense
was committed before that date.
Act effective Sept. 1, 2005, 79th Leg., R.S., ch. 831, §
5, 2005 Tex. Gen. Laws 2841, 2853-54. Under the terms of this
savings clause, Former Article 46.03 remains in effect for
appellant's purposes because it was the operative law at
the time of her offense. The trial court accordingly had
jurisdiction to issue its renewal order pursuant to Former
Article 46.03. See Laney v. State, 223 S.W.3d 656,
660- 61 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2007, no pet.) (holding that the
trial court had jurisdiction under Former Article 46.03 as
applied to a person found not guilty by reason of insanity
for an offense committed before that statute's repeal).
also advances two more grounds for arguing that the trial
court lacked jurisdiction: first, because the previous
commitment order had already expired; and second, because the
State had not filed a motion to renew it. Appellant is
mistaken on both grounds.
the first ground, the record reveals that the trial court
signed its previous commitment order on September 10, 2015,
and the terms of that order provided for appellant's
continued treatment for a period lasting no longer than
twelve months. The trial court conducted its review hearing
on July 8, 2016, three months before that period was
scheduled to end. The trial court also signed its renewal
order the same day as the hearing. The record does not
support appellant's factual assertion that the previous
commitment order had already expired.
the second ground, appellant's factual assertion is
correct: the record does not reveal that the State filed a
motion to renew the commitment order. But appellant's
legal premise is incorrect, as a motion from the State is not
a jurisdictional prerequisite to a renewal order. Under the
terms of Former Article 46.03, the trial court may conduct a
hearing to determine whether a person should remain in
inpatient treatment "on its own motion."
See Act effective Aug. 29, 1983, 68th Leg., R.S.,
ch. 454, § 3, 1983 Tex. Gen. Laws 2640, 2645 (Former
Art. 46.03, § 4(d)(5)); Harrison v. State, 239
S.W.3d 368, 371 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 2007, no pet.).
overrule appellant's jurisdictional challenge.