Appeal from the 281st District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 2017-09348
consists of Justices Wise, Zimmerer, and Spain.
officers seized $110, 540 from Oscar Almaraz. The State
sought forfeiture of the money and relied solely on deemed
admissions at trial. The trial court rendered a judgment for
Almaraz. In a single issue, the State contends that the
evidence is legally insufficient to support the trial
court's judgment because the trial court erred by failing
to consider the deemed admissions. We affirm.
Almaraz nor his attorney attended trial. The State offered a
single exhibit as evidence. The exhibit includes a letter
purportedly sent to Almaraz's attorney and requests for
admissions. The requests asked Almaraz to admit, among other
things, that police officers stopped his vehicle, he did not
have insurance or a driver's license, he had a Mexican
identification card, he gave consent for a search, and
officers discovered a bag in the back seat of the vehicle
containing approximately $110, 540 in United States currency.
State asked Almaraz to admit several merit-preclusive issues,
such as (1) the currency was contraband; (2) it was subject
to forfeiture, (3) it was derived from the manufacture, sale,
distribution, possession, purchase, or delivery of controlled
substances; and (4) it was derived from theft or conversion
of stolen property. The State also asked Almaraz to admit
that he "now know[s] that on or about January 20, 2017,
a narcotics canine gave a positive alert for the odor of
narcotics on the APPROXIMATELY $110, 540.00."
trial court admitted the exhibit into evidence. The State
argued to the trial court that Almaraz failed to respond to
the requests, so the admissions were deemed. The court
rendered a judgment for Almaraz, stating that the currency
was not subject to forfeiture based on the evidence and
pleadings on file.
State filed a motion for new trial. After a hearing at which
Almaraz's attorney testified, the trial court denied the
motion. On the State's request, the trial court issued
findings of fact and conclusions of law, finding among other
• "There is no evidence Almaraz received the
requests for admissions. There is no evidence that Almaraz
acted in bad faith in not answering the sixty-nine requests
for admission or acted in flagrant bad faith or callous
disregard for the rules."
• "The Court further concludes that the $110, 540
seized property is not contraband and that there was no
probable cause to seize Almaraz's property."
single issue, the State contends that the evidence is legally
insufficient to support the trial court's dispositive
findings because the trial court failed to consider the
deemed admissions. The State challenges the trial court's
findings, among others, that (1) there is no evidence that
Almaraz received the requests; (2) there is no evidence that
Almaraz acted in bad faith or callous ...