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Cooper v. Reynolds

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

August 26, 2019

Johnathan E. Cooper, Appellant
v.
Charles Patrick Reynolds, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 348th District Court Tarrant County, Texas Trial Court No. 348-299453-18

          Before Birdwell, Bassel, and Womack, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Dana Womack Justice.

         I. Introduction

         In one issue, pro se Appellant Johnathan E. Cooper appeals from the denial and dismissal of his petition to take the pre-suit deposition of Tarrant County Magistrate Charles Patrick Reynolds pursuant to Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 202. We affirm.

         II. Background

         On May 3, 2018, Cooper filed his '[]Verified Petition to Take Deposition to Investigate Potential Claims." He named the "party to be served" as Charles Patrick Reynolds, who is the Post-Conviction Magistrate for Tarrant County and who presided over Cooper's habeas proceeding.

         In the petition, Cooper requested an order authorizing him to take a deposition to investigate a potential claim pursuant to Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 202.2(h) and stated,

Petitioner expects to elicit the following testimony from Charles Patrick Reynolds to determine whether he committed fraud to the court by intentionally signing a frivolous recommendation to dismiss petitioner's state habeas corpus application - Tr. Ct. No. C-297-011070-1031532-A by stating a lie that petitioner did not allege “any” collateral consequences in any of the documents pending before said November 28, 2017 court order recommendation to determine whether Charles Patrick Reynolds considered the entire record when making a recommendation or simply signs documents that are a lie without verification that are fraudulently induced by the State and had no intention of correcting the deceptive practices, despite being fully aware of the corruption/error causing obstruction of justice. Such filings constituted fraud to the court in part because it was for [the] purpose of influencing a decision of court detrimental and prejudicial to petition [er].

See Tex. R. Civ. P. 202.2(h). Thereafter, Reynolds filed his answer and brief in opposition.

         At the September 20, 2018 hearing on the Rule 202 petition, Cooper stated that he was "not seeking any mental impressions of Judge Reynolds" but rather wanted "to depose him on physical documents he signed related to [Cooper's] investigation of a potential claim or suit, material related to fraud, declaratory or injunctive] relief, sanctions, criminal charges, or any other relief." Stating that "this is not some type of scheme or run-around game to back-door post-conviction relief," Cooper added that he was not seeking any money damages.

         Responding to the trial court's question about what legal claim the deposition was an investigation of, Cooper replied, "[F]raud to the court[.]" After the trial court asked, "Fraud to which court?" Cooper responded, "To . . . the judiciary, . . . for all the courts here in the State of Texas." Then, the following exchange occurred:

THE COURT: So what you're talking about is investigating events which occurred during Judge Reynolds' actual exercise as ...

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