Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
$2, 424.21 in U.S. Currency and 2013 Volkswagen Passat, Appellant
The State of Texas, Appellee
Appeal from Criminal District Court No. 4 Tarrant County,
Texas Trial Court No. S-13438-17
Pittman, Bassel, and Womack, JJ.
civil forfeiture proceeding, Stanley Taplin appeals the
forfeiture of cash of $2, 424.21 and a 2013 Volkswagen
Passat. In one issue, Taplin contends that the trial court
abused its discretion in denying his motion for continuance
because he was not provided with forty-five days' notice
of the first trial setting as required under Texas Rule of
Civil Procedure 245. Tex.R.Civ.P. 245. We agree and reverse
and remand for a new trial.
January 19, 2017, the State of Texas filed its "Notice
of Seizure and Intended Forfeiture," wherein it sought
forfeiture of $2, 424.21 and a 2013 Volkswagen Passat
pursuant to Chapter 59 of the Texas Code of Criminal
Procedure. The "[p]otential owners, [l]ienholders [or]
[o]thers [w]ith [i]nterest" of the property were
identified as Stanley Taplin.
26, 2018, the State filed its "Motion to Set Hearing on
the Merits."By posting on August 3, 2018,
trial court set the matter for an August 23, 2018
"hearing on the merits" in the magistrate's
courtroom. Thereafter, on August 16, 2018 and August
22, 2018, Taplin filed a verified motion for continuance of
the matter. Both motions, which appear to be identical, state
that Taplin is:
incarcerated in the Tarrant County Jail [and] ha[s] no
knowledge of this hearing and this hearing is not in the
court record of the Sheriff Dept. And I am the Pro Se
Respondent, and I will be unable to appear unless you issue
an order . . . . And I don't have funds to employ
counsel. . . . I am wholly unfamiliar [with] criminal law and
I have no training or experience but I would like to be
present[, ] and it is a 4th amendment right of mine.
addition, Taplin notes that it is his first motion for
August 23, 2018 trial, Taplin urged his motion for
continuance. After the magistrate called the case for trial,
the following transpired:
[STATE'S ATTORNEY]: Mr. Taplin filed a motion for
continuance with the Court on August 16th and August 22nd.
[THE COURT]: Okay.
[STATE'S ATTORNEY]: Mr. Taplin, it's your motion.
[TAPLIN]: I had wrote the Court update, and they had told me
they weren't going to bring me to court. And so
that's why I filed the motion.
[THE COURT]: Okay.
[TAPLIN]: I wasn't in the court proceeding with the court
records to come to court.
[THE COURT]: Okay. But you're here now, so what are you
wanting to do? Are you still wanting a continuance, or are
you - - you were just concerned you weren't going to be
able to be here; is that what you're telling me?
[TAPLIN]: Yes, ma'am.
[THE COURT]: Okay. So are you withdrawing your motion?
[TAPLIN]: Well, I don't have my - - I don't have the
documents that ...