Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
EX PARTE V. A., JR.
THE 211TH DISTRICT COURT OF DENTON COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO.
LIVINGSTON, C.J.; WALKER and PITTMAN, JJ.
LIVINGSTON CHIEF JUSTICE
appellant V.A., Jr. appeals the trial court's order
dismissing his petition for expunction. In three points, he
contends that the order is erroneous because he meets the
statutory requirements for an expunction and that the
court's failure to conduct an evidentiary hearing before
signing the order violated his constitutional rights to due
process and to access to courts. We disagree with these
arguments and affirm the trial court's order.
filed a petition for expunction of records relating to his
"charge and confinement" for aggravated robbery
"in Denton County Cause No. F-2007-0838-C." In the
petition, he conceded that he was "currently
incarcerated" on the "charge at issue."
Nonetheless, he claimed that under chapter 55 of the code of
criminal procedure,  he was entitled to have all records and
files related to that charge expunged.
petition, appellant attached a "Register of
Actions" related to a different Denton County case,
cause number F-2007-1732-C. That cause related to a charge
for theft, and the register indicated that the theft charge
had been dismissed. Appellant also filed a declaration of his
inability to pay costs related to the expunction petition.
State answered the expunction petition. In the answer, the
State contended that appellant was not entitled to expunction
of records related to cause number F-2007-0838-C because he
was found guilty in that case and was serving a
twenty-three-year sentence. Thus, the State contended that
appellant's petition was frivolous and asked the trial
court to dismiss it. Appellant did not file any documents
contradicting the State's assertions that he was
convicted of aggravated robbery in cause number F-2007-0838-C
and that he was serving his sentence for that offense.
accordance with the State's request, the trial court
signed an order dismissing appellant's expunction
petition. Appellant brought this appeal.
Resolution of Appellant's Points
construe appellant's three points as presenting
contentions that he met the requirements for an expunction
under chapter 55, that the trial court violated his right of
due process by not conducting an evidentiary hearing before
dismissing his petition, and that the court's failure to
hold a hearing also violated his right of access to courts.
The State contends that the trial court did not err because
appellant cannot establish the statutory conditions for an
expunction and because under the circumstances of this case,
the law did not require the court to hold an evidentiary
hearing. We agree with the State's arguments.
we review a trial court's ruling on an expunction
petition under an abuse-of-discretion standard. Ex parte
S.B.M., 467 S.W.3d 715, 717 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2015,
no pet.). But to the extent a ruling on an expunction
petition turns on a question of law, we review the ruling de
novo because a trial court has no discretion in determining
what the law is or in correctly applying the law to the
entitlement to expunction
55.01 of the code of criminal procedure provides a statutory
right to expunge criminal records under certain conditions.
See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 55.01;
S.B.M., 467 S.W.3d at 718 ("An expunction will
be granted only when a petitioner satisfies all statutory
conditions. The petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating
that each statutory condition has been met." (citations
omitted)); State v. N.R.J., 453 S.W.3d 76, 79 (Tex.
App.-Fort Worth 2014, pet. denied) ("A petitioner's
right to an expunction is purely a matter of statutory
privilege, and the petitioner bears the burden of
demonstrating that each of the required statutory conditions
[has] been met."). Article 55.01 states in part, (a) A
person who has ...