CHARLES M. CONNER, Appellant
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee
the 159th District Court Angelina County, Texas Trial Court
Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Neill.
was indicted in Angelina County on December 18, 2003 for two
counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He was tried
and convicted on both counts and sentenced to 99 years in
prison and a $10, 000 fine on each count.
appeal was transferred to this Court from the Ninth Court of
Appeals pursuant to a docket equalization order. His
conviction was affirmed on April 13, 2005 in an opinion
authored by Justice Bill Vance, with Chief Justice Gray and
Justice Reyna being the other members of the panel.
Conner v. State, No. 10-04-00212-CR, 2005 Tex.App.
Lexis 2839 (Tex. App.-Waco Apr. 13, 2005, pet. ref'd)
(not designated for publication). This Court's mandate
issued on July 18, 2005 and has not been recalled. Conner was
granted relief by an article 11.07 application for writ of
habeas corpus for an out-of-time petition for discretionary
review. Ex parte Conner, No. AP-75, 715, 2007
Tex.Crim.App. Unpub. LEXIS 1222 (Tex. Crim. App. June 27,
2007). His petition for discretionary review was denied on
October 10, 2007, over 12 years ago.
August 12, 2019, the Court received a document from Conner
inquiring about the cost of obtaining a copy of the appellate
record and various other documents including the appellate
briefs and the Court's opinions. The Court responded by
providing the requested information, including the number of
pages for the specific documents requested and the total cost
of copies of these specific documents.
motion dated August 21, 2019 and received on August 30, 2019,
which was designated for filing and has been filed in his
2004 appeal for which the mandate issued on July 18, 2005,
Conner wants the Court to provide him free copies of a litany
of documents. Specifically, he seeks free copies of the
documents identified in his above described August 12, 2019
document and of other documents far in excess of the
documents identified in the August 12, 2019 document, many of
which this Court would never have because they are not part
of the appellate record.
argues in the motion that as a pauper and, based on his need
for the records to pursue an article 11.07 application for
writ of habeas corpus, that he is entitled to free copies of
the requested documents. This is similar to many such
requests this Court routinely receives from inmates. The
requests come in various forms directed to various State
officials in various procedural wrappings. Some of these
requests are letters, some are in the form of petitions for a
writ of mandamus, and some, like this one from Conner, come
as motions filed in an appeal well after the mandate has
issued. These requests are variously directed to the trial
court clerk, the trial court judge, the appellate court clerk
or, as in this case, the appellate court.
merits of the issue of the entitlement to free copies was
addressed by this Court in an unpublished memorandum opinion,
In re Jones, No. 10-17-00090-CR, 2017 Tex.App. LEXIS
3445 (Tex. App.-Waco Apr. 19, 2017, orig. proceeding). We
note that we were able to address the merits of the issue in
that proceeding because it came to us in the form of a
petition for writ of mandamus to compel a trial court judge
to order that a free copy of the record be provided to the
relator, Jones. In Jones, we stated:
Jones argues that he is entitled to a free record to pursue a
writ of habeas corpus and is entitled to a hearing on his
motion for a free record. An indigent criminal defendant has
a constitutional right to a free appellate record in a first
appeal of right. Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12,
18-19, 76 S.Ct. 585, 590-91, 100 L.Ed. 891, 899 (1956)
(emphasis added), Abdnor v. State, 712 S.W.2d 136,
139 (Tex. Crim. App. 1986); Turner v. State, 71
S.W.3d 928, 929 (Tex. App.-Waco 2002, order). However, a
defendant is not entitled to a free copy of the record after
exhausting his initial appeal in the absence of a specific,
compelling reason. See In re Strickhausen, 994
S.W.2d 936, 937 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, orig.
proceeding); In re Coronado, 980 S.W.2d 691, 693
(Tex. App.-San Antonio 1998, orig. proceeding); Eubanks
v. Mullin, 909 S.W.2d 574, 576-77 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth
1995, orig. proceeding). See also In re Robinson,
No. 10-10-00456-CR, 2011 Tex.App. LEXIS 412 (Tex. App.-Waco
Jan. 19, 2011, orig. proceeding). Jones has not presented a
specific, compelling reason for his entitlement to a free
Id. Jones's petition for writ of mandamus was,
proceeding, however, we are presented with a motion filed in
a closed appeal. Our jurisdiction is determined by statute.
Unless a party has brought their request to us in a
procedural vehicle of which we have jurisdiction, we have no
option other than to dismiss the request for relief,
regardless of what relief is requested. See Tex.
Gov't Code Ann. § 22.221(a) ("Each court of
appeals or a justice of a court of appeals may issue a writ
of mandamus and all other writs necessary to enforce the
jurisdiction of the court."). Our jurisdiction is not
based on whether the appeal is precluded by law, but whether
it is authorized by law. Abbott v. State, 271 S.W.3d
694, 696-97 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008).
no statute gives this Court jurisdiction to rule on a motion
such as the one filed by Conner requesting free copies of the
record long after the Court's mandate has issued, thus
ending any jurisdiction we have in the direct appeal, we
must, and do ...