Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
THE 96TH DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO.
SUDDERTH, C.J.; MEIER and PITTMAN, JJ.
Elfreda Cherie Allen appeals the trial court's order
sustaining the district clerk's contest of her statement
of inability to afford payment of court costs and requiring
her to pay court costs. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 145. We
will affirm the trial court's order.
appearing pro se, filed a statement of inability to afford
payment of court costs in the proceedings below. Allen's
statement reflected that she did not receive public benefits,
had no sources of income, and owned no property of value. The
statement included a declaration that the information
provided was true and correct. The Tarrant County District
Clerk filed a motion contesting Allen's inability to pay
court costs and attached an affidavit by Roberta Jackson, the
assistant manager of the civil/tax section of the district
clerk's office. Jackson attested that Allen's
statement was materially false because, at the time she
completed the statement, Allen was the owner of $38, 338.98
on deposit in the registry of the court in cause number
236-B39393-09. According to Jackson, the money was the result
of a sale of Allen's property after foreclosure by taxing
authorities. Jackson also stated that she had discovered,
through the Tarrant Appraisal District and Dallas Central
Appraisal District websites, that Allen appeared to own
several other properties located in Fort Worth and Desoto.
trial court held a hearing on January 3, 2018. The hearing
was scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. At 3:40 p.m., the trial
court noted on the record that Allen had not appeared and
proceeded with the hearing. Counsel for the district clerk
acknowledged that a letter had been sent to Allen on December
12, 2017, to notify her of the hearing setting and explained
that Allen had responded to the letter that she "would
not consent" to its service. The trial court found that
Allen had received proper notice of the hearing.
trial court took judicial notice of the district clerk's
motion and Jackson's affidavit and it granted the
district clerk's motion. In its written order signed
January 5, 2018, the trial court made the following findings:
• Allen failed to appear at the hearing although she was
properly notified of the hearing date and time by the
district clerk's office.
• Allen failed to meet her burden to prove her inability
to afford court costs.
• Jackson's affidavit contained true and correct
information within Jackson's personal knowledge,
including the following:
o On July 26, 2016, Allen received notice of excess funds
held in the registry of the 236th District Court;
o Jackson observed Allen at a hearing related to those excess
proceeds on August 22, 2016; and
o There is a current balance of $38, 338.98 in the registry
of the 236th District Court that would be available to ...