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Ex parte Gaytan

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

June 21, 2018

EX PARTE VICTORIA DURAN GAYTAN N/K/A VICTORIA GAYTAN

          On appeal from the 107th District Court of Cameron County, Texas.

          Before Justices Rodriguez, Contreras, and Benavides

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NELDA V. RODRIGUEZ JUSTICE

         The trial court granted expunction of criminal records for appellee Victoria Duran Gaytan n/k/a Victoria Gaytan. This restricted appeal was filed by appellant, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). By two issues, DPS argues that the trial court misinterpreted the expunction statute and that the evidence is insufficient to support the expunction. We reverse and remand.

         I. Background

         In 2016, Gaytan filed her petition for expunction. Gaytan alleged that she had previously been arrested for three offenses in Cameron County-from 2003, 2005, and 2010, respectively-each of which she sought to have expunged.

         The most recent arrest was for DWI on January 1, 2010, which is the subject of this appeal. Gaytan alleged that she was entitled to expunction of all records related to her 2010 arrest because the arrest did not result in a conviction or community supervision, and because she satisfied other statutory conditions which are not in dispute.

         DPS filed an answer and general denial. DPS asserted that Gaytan was not eligible for expunction because the 2010 arrest had in fact resulted in a conviction for deadly conduct: the initial charge of DWI was dismissed and Gaytan was recharged with deadly conduct; Gaytan pleaded guilty and received community supervision. DPS also attached various documents to its answer, including a signed "Judgment on Plea of Guilty" for the deadly conduct offense. Accordingly, DPS contended that Gaytan did not satisfy the statutory criteria for expunction.

         On April 28, 2016, the trial court held a hearing on Gaytan's petition for expunction, at which Gaytan and the Cameron County District Attorney appeared. DPS did not appear. The hearing was exactly sixty-nine words long:

Counsel for Gaytan: May I approach, Judge? It's an agreed order of expunction. We'll rest on the petition, if there is no objection.

The State: . . . We would stipulate as to the facts laid out in the verified petition for expunction, Judge. We have no objections.

The Court: All right. If that's the case, I'll go ahead and grant the expunction.

Counsel for Gaytan: May we be excused, Judge?

The Court: You're excused.

         On the same day, the trial court entered an agreed order of expunction for all three offenses. DPS filed this restricted appeal on October 28, 2016, but only as to Gaytan's 2010 arrest for DWI.

         II. Restricted Appeal

         A.The First Three Requirements of a ...


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