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Kremplewski v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

August 8, 2019

LELAND KREMPLEWSKI, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 264th District Court Bell County, [*] Texas Trial Court Case No. 78928.

          Panel consists of Justices Keyes, Kelly, and Goodman.

          OPINION

          Gordon Goodman Justice.

         Leland Kremplewski contends that 90 percent of the $25 time-payment fee imposed on him as court costs is unconstitutional because it violates the separation-of-powers clause of the Texas Constitution. We agree. We thus modify the trial court's judgment to reduce this fee to $2.50 and affirm the judgment as modified.

         BACKGROUND

         Kremplewski pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, in an amount of less than one gram. See Tex. Health & Safety Code §§ 481.102(6), 481.115(a), (b). The trial court imposed court costs on Kremplewski in the judgment of conviction. One of these costs, memorialized in a separate bill, was a time-payment fee of $25, which was automatically imposed by statute because Kremplewski did not pay court costs within 30 days of the entry of the judgment. See Tex. Loc. Gov't Code § 133.103(a).

         DISCUSSION

         Kremplewski contends that 90 percent of the time-payment fee imposed by section 133.103(a) of the Local Government Code is unconstitutional on its face because it violates the separation-of-powers clause of the Texas Constitution.

         Standard of Review

         We review constitutional challenges to a statute de novo. VanDyke v. State, 538 S.W.3d 561, 570 (Tex. Crim. App. 2017); see also Ex parte Lo, 424 S.W.3d 10, 14 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013) (facial challenges to statutes reviewed de novo).

         When, as here, a litigant claims that a statute is facially unconstitutional, we consider the statute as it is written, rather than any particular application of it. Peraza v. State, 467 S.W.3d 508, 514-15 (Tex. Crim. App. 2015). A claim of facial unconstitutionality asserts that the statute is unconstitutional in all possible circumstances. Salinas v. State, 464 S.W.3d 363, 367 (Tex. Crim. App. 2015).

         Applicable Law

         The Texas Constitution mandates the separation of powers in our government:

The powers of the Government of the State of Texas shall be divided into three distinct departments, each of which shall be confided to a separate body of magistracy, to wit: Those which are Legislative to one; those which are Executive to another, and those which are Judicial to another; and no person, or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power ...

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