Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McKinney v. Wright

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

June 14, 2018

JERRY MCKINNEY, D/B/A JERRY MCKINNEY MOTOR COMPANY, A/K/A JERRY MCKINNEY MOTORS APPELLANTS
v.
RON WRIGHT, AS TAX ASSESSOR COLLECTOR OF TARRANT COUNTY APPELLEE

          FROM THE 67TH DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO. 067-283422-16

          PANEL: SUDDERTH, C.J.; GABRIEL and KERR, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          LEE GABRIEL JUSTICE

         Appellant Jerry McKinney, d/b/a Jerry McKinney Motor Company, a/k/a Jerry McKinney Motors appeals from the trial court's judgment in this suit under chapter 23 of the Texas Tax Code. We affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         McKinney is a Texas motor vehicle dealer to whom the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has issued a general distinguishing number. See Tex. Tax Code Ann. § 23.121(a)(3) (West 2015). He was required to file with the Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector a Dealer's Motor Vehicle Inventory Tax Statement providing certain information about every motor vehicle that he sold over the previous month or indicating that no motor vehicles were sold during the previous month. See id. § 23.122(e), (f) (West 2015). In addition, McKinney was required to deposit with the Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector a monthly unit property tax imposed on certain motor vehicles sold over the previous month. See id. § 23.122(b).

         McKinney was required to file his monthly Dealer's Motor Vehicle Inventory Tax Statements and deposit his unit property tax no later than the tenth day of the month. See id. § 23.122(b), (f). For each statement he failed to timely file, McKinney was subject to a misdemeanor fine not to exceed $100, with each day of noncompliance constituting a separate violation. Id. § 23.122(m). In addition, for each month or part of a month in which McKinney failed to timely file a statement, he forfeited a penalty of $500. Id. § 23.122(n). With respect to the unit property tax, if McKinney failed to pay the amount due, he was subject to a penalty of five percent of the amount due. See id. § 23.122(o). And if he failed to pay the amount due within ten days after it was due, he was subject to an additional penalty of five percent of the amount due. See id.

         The trial court conducted a bench trial in which the parties stipulated to all the findings of fact adopted by the trial court and agreed to the admissibility of Plaintiff's Exhibits 1 and 2. After the stipulations and admission of the exhibits, the parties rested and closed. The stipulated facts established that McKinney had failed to pay $1, 904.07 in unit property taxes from 2014 through 2016 as required by section 23.122(b); that because of his failure to timely pay those unit property taxes, he owed $223.67 in late-payment penalties under section 23.122(o); and that because of his failure to timely file his Dealer's Motor Vehicle Inventory Tax Statements, he owed penalties in the amount of $127, 002.95 under section 23.122(n). The trial court rendered judgment accordingly. In three issues, McKinney challenges the $127, 002.95 in penalties he was assessed under section 23.122(n).

         II. CONSTITUTIONALITY

         In his first issue, McKinney argues that the $127, 002.95 in penalties violates the Texas constitution's prohibition against excessive fines. See Tex. Const. art. I, § 13. In his second issue, McKinney argues the penalties violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause because of their excessive nature. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1.

         A. Applicable Law

         Article I, section 13 of the Texas constitution provides that "[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed." Tex. Const. art. I, § 13. The term "fines" in this provision includes civil penalties. Pennington v. Singleton, 606 S.W.2d 682, 690 (Tex. 1980). Prescribing fines is a matter within the discretion of the legislature. State v. Morello, No. 16-0457, 2018 WL 1025685, at *6 (Tex. Feb. 23, 2018). And "we will not override the legislature's discretion, except in extraordinary cases, where it becomes so manifestly violative of the constitutional inhibition as to shock the sense of mankind." Id. (cleaned up).

         Similarly, with respect to due process, the legislature has wide discretion when it comes to imposing fines and violates due process in doing so "only where the penalty prescribed is so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportioned to the offense and obviously unreasonable." Pennington, 606 S.W.2d at 690 (quoting St. Louis, Iron Mountain, & S. Ry. Co. v. Williams, 251 U.S. 63, 66-67 (1919)).

         B. State v. Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Ry. Co., 97 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.