Waiving Admonishment by Magistrate
Re: Whether an arrested person may waive the requirement that he or she be taken before a magistrate and admonished in accordance with article 15.17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (RQ-1 085-GA).
Submitted by Abel Herrero
Chair, Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
Texas House of Representatives
Summary, Opinion No. GA-993: The duty of a magistrate to admonish an arrested person as required by article 15.17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is a mandatory duty. An arrestee may waive his right to have a magistrate orally recite the admonishments of article 15.17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure only if the waiver is made plainly, freely and intelligently.
Sheriff’s Policy Manual
Re: Whether a sheriff must submit an office policy manual to the county commissioners court for approval (RQ-1087-GA).
Submitted by Seth C. Slagle
Clay County Attorney
Summary, Opinion No. GA-994: A court would likely determine that the county commissioners court is not authorized to approve or disapprove of the sheriff’s office policy manual.
District Attorney Commission on Collection
Re: Whether a district attorney may, pursuant to section 41.005, Government Code, retain a commission on bond forfeiture collection (RQ-1 090-GA).
Submitted by Richard E. Glaser
Fannin County Criminal District Attorney
Summary, Opinion No. GA-997: Section 41.005 of the Government Code authorizes a district attorney to separate a portion of bond forfeiture collections as a commission without the approval of the commissioners court. By statute, the commission shall be deposited in the county treasury in a fund to the credit of the person or department collecting the money. The commissioners court generally determines how such commissions may be used, subject to any other legal restrictions on its authority.
Time Credit for Confined Defendants
Re: Whether article 42.12, sec. 15(h) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which authorizes a judge to award confined defendants time credit for participation in an educational, vocational or treatment program, violates the Texas Constitution (RQ-1 094-GA).
Submitted by R. Scott McKee
173rd Judicial District Attorney
Summary, Opinion No. GA-1000: A court would likely conclude that article 42.12, subsection 15(h)(6) of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not conflict with article IV, section 11 or article II, section 1 of the Texas Constitution.
Designation of Commissioners Court Meeting Date
Re: Whether a commissioners court may change the designated day of the week it convenes during the current fiscal year under section 81.005 of the Local Government Code
Submitted by Richard R. Hicks III
Caldwell County Criminal District Attorney
Summary, Opinion No. GA-1001: Pursuant to subsection 81.005(h) of the Local Government Code, a county commissioners court may change the designated day of the week it convenes during the county’s current fiscal year. A county commissioners court that tables the designation of the regular meeting day until the next fiscal year is not in compliance with subsection 81.005(a) of the Local Government Code. It is however unlikely that a reviewing court would invalidate such an order.
Access to Inmate Property
Re: Whether a county auditor has a right to access inmate property in a county jail to compare it with inmate property receipts (RQ-1 096-GA).
Submitted by Joe Shannon, Jr.
Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney
Summary, Opinion No. GA-1002: Sections 112.006 and 115.001 of the Local Government Code authorize a county auditor to access inmate property that a sheriff stores at the county jail, subject to the sheriff’s reasonable conditions on that access.
Recognition of Domestic Partnerships
Re: Whether the Texas Constitution prevents local political subdivisions from recognizing domestic partnerships by granting benefits previously only available to married couples (RQ-1097-GA).
Submitted by Dan Patrick
Chair, Committee on Education
Texas State Senate
Summary, Opinion No. GA-1003: Article I, section 32 of the Texas Constitution prohibits political subdivisions from creating a legal status of domestic partnership and recognizing that status by offering public benefits based upon it.
Temporary Justices of the Peace
Re: The appointment and compensation of temporary justices of the peace (RQ-1099-GA).
Submitted by Phyllis L. Martin
Montgomery County Auditor
Summary, Opinion No. GA-1005: Section 27.055 of the Government Code permits the appointment of one qualified person to serve as temporary justice of the peace to replace an individual justice of the peace who is unable to perform the duties of the office. Section 27.055 does not permit a county judge to appoint an “at large” temporary justice of the peace. A sitting justice of the peace may serve as a temporary justice of the peace under section 27.055, in place of a regular justice of the peace in the same county, provided the justice of the peace is a “qualified person.”
The compensation of a temporary justice of the peace as outlined under section 27.055 of the Government Code does not conflict with section 27.054 of the Government Code or chapter 152 of the Local Government Code. A court would likely conclude that a sitting justice of the peace who also serves as a temporary justice of the peace under section 27.055 does not violate article XVI, section 40 of the Texas Constitution.
Transportation Code, Fee Imposition
Re: Transportation Code section 502.010 and the reconciliation of Senate Bill 1386 and House Bill 2357 from the 82nd Legislature (RQ-1101-GA).
Submitted by David Slayton
Office of Court Administration
Summary, Opinion No. GA-1006: Transportation Code section 502.010 authorizes certain counties to impose an additional fee of twenty dollars on a person who fails to pay a fine, fee or tax to the county or on a defendant who fails to appear in connection with a pending criminal proceeding. The commissioners court may determine whether a county imposes the additional fee and which county official or department assesses and collects that fee. If the commissioners court decides to impose the fee, the commissioners court may determine whether the officer charged with assessing and collecting the additional fee may waive it in particular circumstances. The additional fee may be imposed after the date on which the fine, fee or tax is due, and it may be assessed when a defendant fails to appear for a criminal proceeding but has not been convicted.
Re: Whether a county may regulate, as a subdivision, the partition of a tract of land in the unincorporated portion of the county under Local Government Code chapter 232 or Health and Safety Code chapter 121 (RQ-1103-GA).
Submitted by Daynah Fallwell
Wilson County Attorney
Summary, Opinion No. GA-1007: Under the facts presented, a county may regulate, as a subdivision, the partition of land for a residential development in the unincorporated portion of the county under chapter 232 of the Local Government Code regardless of whether there has been a transfer of title to individual tracts.