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State v. Hanson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas

June 27, 2018

THE STATE OF TEXAS
v.
CRISPEN HANSON, Appellee

         ON STATE'S PETITION FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW FROM THE EIGHTH COURT OF APPEALS EL PASO COUNTY

          HERVEY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court in which KEASLER, ALCALA, RICHARDSON, YEARY, NEWELL, KEEL, and WALKER, JJ., joined.

          KELLER, P.J., concurred.

          OPINION

          HERVEY, J

         A trial court entered two orders granting shock probation. The orders were identical except that the second order was styled an"Amended Order," it contained additional findings of fact, and it was signed at a later time. Both orders suspended further implementation of Appellee's (Crispen Hanson) prison sentence and placed him on probation. The State appealed from the second order, and the court of appeals dismissed the appeal for want of jurisdiction, concluding that only the first order granting shock probation was appealable. The issue is whether the court of appeals erred when it decided that the second order was not an appealable order. Because we conclude that it is an appealable order under Article 44.01(a)(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and remand the cause for the court of appeals to consider the merits of the State's appeal.

         FACTS

         The trial court signed an order on June 15, 2015 granting shock probation. When the trial court signed the order, it also signed an amended judgment and imposed conditions of probation. On June 25, 2015, the trial court signed an "Amended Order." There were slight variations in the order. The style was different, additional findings of fact[1] were added, and it was signed on June 25, 2015. Both orders suspended execution of Hanson's prison sentence and placed him on probation. The State filed a notice of appeal from the amended order[2] on July 13, 2015, eighteen days after the trial court signed the order.

         THE COURT OF APPEALS

         The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for want of jurisdiction. State v. Hanson, No. 08-15-00205-CR, 2017 WL 3167484, at *1 (Tex. App.-El Paso July 26, 2017) (not designated for publication). According to the court of appeals, "[w]hile the trial court signed an amended order on June 25, 2015 for the ostensible purpose of adding additional findings of fact, the amended order did not include any substantive changes to the initial order placing Hanson on community supervision for eight years." Id. at *2. Based on this and because the trial court contemporaneously signed orders establishing the terms and conditions of Hanson's probation and signed an amended judgment relating only to the first order granting shock probation, the court concluded that the "Amended Order" was not an appealable order. Id. at *3.

         ARGUMENTS

         Hanson argues that we should adopt the reasoning of the court of appeals. The State makes two arguments for reversing the judgment of the court of appeals. It first argues that the amended order granting shock probation is appealable based on the plain language of Article 44.01 in that the amended order was an (1) "order"[3] and (2) it "modifie[d] a judgment."[4] Alternatively, it argues that we should adopt a civil line of cases, see SLT Dealer Group, Ltd. v. AmeriCredit Financial Services, Inc., 336 S.W.3d 822, 831-32 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, no pet.), which have held that a second order is treated as a modified or reformed judgment that implicitly vacates and supersedes the prior judgment, unless the record evinces a contrary intent. Id.; see Tex. R. Civ. P. 301, 306a, 329b(e). Here, the State asserts, the record does not show a contrary intent, so the "Amended Order" vacated the first and was, thus, appealable. SLT Dealer Group, Ltd., 226 S.W.3d at 831-32; see City of Westlake Hills v. State ex rel. City of Austin, 466 S.W.2d 722, 726-27 (Tex. 1971).

         ANALYSIS

         We agree with the court of appeals (and Hanson) that the body of law developed by civil courts is inapplicable because this case deals with construing a statute, not judicial precedent or construction of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Hanson, 2017 WL 3167484, at *2. However, for the reasons that follow, we ultimately agree with the State that the "Amended Order" was an appealable order.

         The court of appeals erred when it decided that the second order did not "modify a judgment" under Article 44.01 because there was no substantive difference between the orders. It also erred in reaching that conclusion by reasoning that the "Amended Order" did not "modify a judgment" because the trial judge did not contemporaneously ...


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