Appeal from the 142nd District Court Midland County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. CV53260
consists of: Bailey, C.J., Stretcher, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
M. BAILEY CHIEF JUSTICE
appeals the trial court's denial of his pro se and in
forma pauperis petition for expunction of records
arising out of a dismissed charge against him for escape from
custody. See Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 38.06 (West
2016). Appellant contends that the trial court abused its
discretion when it denied his petition because the State
dismissed the indictment for this offense. We affirm.
Appellant was being held in the Midland County Jail for the
offense of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance,
he allegedly committed the offense of escape from custody on
July 21, 2016. Appellant was later indicted for escape from
custody. Pursuant to a subsequent plea agreement, Appellant
pleaded guilty to the offense of possession of a controlled
substance. As a part of the plea agreement, the charge for
escape from custody was dismissed. The motion to dismiss
listed the reason for dismissal as: "The defendant was
convicted in another case."
than a year later, Appellant filed a pro se petition for
expunction of records arising out of his indictment and
confinement for escape from custody. Appellant alleged that
he was entitled to an expunction under Chapter 55 of the
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure because the indictment was
dismissed on October 14, 2016. See Tex. Code Crim.
Proc. Ann. ch. 55 (West 2018).
State filed an answer opposing Appellant's motion seeking
expunction. The State asserted that the indictment was
dismissed as a result of a plea agreement with the State and
not because the indictment was based upon "mistake,
false information, or any other similar reason indicating
absence of probable cause" as required under the Texas
Code of Criminal Procedure. The trial court denied
Appellant's petition for expunction in a written order
without holding a hearing on the matter. This pro se appeal
single issue, Appellant contends that the trial court abused
its discretion when it denied his petition for expunction.
Appellant asserts that he was entitled to an expunction based
on the dismissal of the indictment for escape from custody.
Appellant argues that Article 55.01 does not require any
particular ground for dismissal to satisfy the requirement
that the indictment has been dismissed. We disagree.
review a trial court's ruling on a petition for
expunction under the abuse of discretion standard. State
v. T.S.N., 547 S.W.3d 617, 620 (Tex. 2018);
Rodriguez v. State, 224 S.W.3d 783, 784 (Tex.
App.-Eastland 2007, no pet.). "Under the abuse of
discretion standard, appellate courts afford no deference to
the trial court's legal determinations because a court
has no discretion in deciding what the law is or in applying
it to the facts." T.S.N., 547 S.W.3d at 620
(citing In re Labatt Food Serv., L.P., 279 S.W.3d
640, 643 (Tex. 2009); Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d
833, 840 (Tex. 1992)). "Thus, a trial court's legal
conclusions are reviewed de novo." Id. (citing
State v. Heal, 917 S.W.2d 6, 9 (Tex. 1996)). As was
the case in T.S.N., the trial court's ruling on
the expunction request hinged on a question of law because it
required the interpretation of Article 55.01; therefore, it
is subject to de novo review. See id. (citing
City of Rockwall v. Hughes, 246 S.W.3d 621, 625- 26
purpose of an expunction statute is to permit the expunction
of records of wrongful arrests." In Expunction of
R.H., 510 S.W.3d 143, 145 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2016, no
pet.) (citing Harris Cty. Dist. Attorney's Office v.
J.T.S., 807 S.W.2d 572, 574 (Tex. 1991); Travis Cty.
Dist. Attorney v. M.M., 354 S.W.3d 920, 926 (Tex.
App.-Austin 2011, no pet.)). Article 55.01 of the Texas Code
of Criminal Procedure contains the requirements for
expunction of criminal records. "A person is not
entitled to expunction until all of the statutory conditions
are met." T.S.N., 547 S.W.3d at 620 (citing
Tex. Dep't of Pub. Safety v. J.H.J., 274 S.W.3d
803, 806 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, no pet.)).
sought expunction pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(A)(ii) of
Article 55.01. The version of Article 55.01 in effect both at
the time of Appellant's offense and when he filed his
application for expunction, provided as follows:
(a) A person who has been placed under a custodial or
noncustodial arrest for commission of either a felony or
misdemeanor is entitled to have all records and ...