Supreme Court of Texas Blog: Legal Issues Before the Texas Supreme Court

No. 14-0379
TAMES

ODELL CAMPBELL, SHAWNTA RENEA COLEMAN, THOMAS RAY ROBERTSON, DIANA J. NAJERA, SCOTT WIERNIK, TAIRHONDA MCAFEE AND MARYBETH LYNN JEWELL v. THOMAS A. WILDER, TARRANT COUNTY DISTRICT CLERK

Oral argument was held on September 23, 2015. The Court issued an opinion resolving the case on April 1, 2016. File Closed

In the news...

Tracking 2 articles about this case.

September 23, 2015

Indigent Court Fee Case Goes Before Supreme Court

from Texas Tribune

The Court has issued opinions:

June 26, 2015

Texas Supreme Court to hear Tarrant indigency case

from Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Opinion

April 1, 2016

Hecht
Green
Johnson
Willett
Guzman
Boyd
Devine
Brown

Chief Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court. PDF

 

Court of Appeals

Appellate District:2nd Court of Appeals
Outcome Below:Vacate & Dismiss
COA Docket No.:02-13-00146-CV
Opinion Author:Honorable E. Lee Gabriel

Trial Court

Trial Court:17th District Court
County:Tarrant
Trial Judge:Honorable Melody M. Wilkinson
Trial Docket:017-264181-13

Entries on SCOTX Orders Lists

Docket Entries

Date Event Outcome  
2016-05-13 Mandate issued  
2016-04-01 Opinion issued   Court of Appeals' judgment reversed; cause remanded to trial court
2016-04-01 Court approved judgment sent to attorneys of record Issued
  This case was awaiting the Court's decision after oral argument between September 23, 2015 and April 1, 2016.  
2015-09-23 Oral argument  
2015-09-22 Exhibits in case/cause filed (Petitioner)  
2015-08-25 Oral Argument Submission Form from Attorney received  
2015-08-20 Oral Argument Submission Form from Attorney received  
2015-07-10 Case set for oral argument   Case set for oral argument
2015-06-19 Petition for Review granted
2015-06-19 Petition for Review disposed   Filing granted
2015-05-28 Reply Brief (Petitioner)  
2015-05-11 Motion for Extension of Time to File Brief filed  
2015-05-11 Motion for Extension of Time disposed.   Filing granted
2015-04-28 Brief on the Merits (Respondent)  
2015-04-13 Motion for Extension of Time disposed.   Filing granted
2015-04-13 Motion for Extension of Time to File Brief filed  
2015-03-10 Motion for Extension of Time to File Brief filed  
2015-03-10 Motion for Extension of Time disposed.   Filing granted
2015-02-20 Brief on the Merits (Petitioner)  
2015-02-04 Case Record Filed  
2015-01-20 Motion for Extension of Time disposed.   Filing granted
2015-01-20 Motion for Extension of Time to File Brief filed  
2014-12-19 Amendment to Motion filed  
2014-12-19 Motion for Extension of Time disposed.   Filing granted
2014-12-19 Motion for Extension of Time to File Brief filed  
2014-11-24 Record Requested in Petition for Review  
2014-11-21 Brief on the Merits Requested  
2014-10-07 Amicus Curiae Brief received  
2014-09-29 Reply to Response (Petitioner)  
2014-09-23 Case forwarded to Court
2014-09-16 Response to Petition (Respondent)  
2014-08-08 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response disposed   Filing granted
2014-08-08 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response  
2014-07-18 Phone call from Clerk's Office  
2014-07-18 Petition for Review (Petitioner)  
2014-06-12 Second Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review filed  
2014-06-12 Second Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review disposed   Filing granted
2014-06-12 Second Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review disposed   Filing granted
2014-06-11 Second Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review filed  
2014-05-16 Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review disposed   Filing granted
2014-05-16 Affidavit of Inability to Pay Court Costs  
2014-05-16 Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review #2 filed  
2014-05-15 Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review filed  
2014-05-15 Affidavit of Inability to Pay Court Costs  
2014-05-15 Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review disposed   Filing granted

Parties

Party Counsel Role
Robertson, Thomas Ray
Mr. Wallace B. Jefferson
Ms. Lee Anne DiFilippo
Mr. Jason C.N. Smith
Ms. Amy Warr
Petitioner
Coleman, Shawnta Renea
Mr. Jason C.N. Smith
Ms. Lee Anne DiFilippo
Mr. Wallace B. Jefferson
Ms. Amy Warr
Petitioner
Campbell, Odell
Mr. Jason C.N. Smith
Mr. Wallace B. Jefferson
Ms. Amy Warr
Ms. Lee Anne DiFilippo
Petitioner
Wilder, Thomas A.
Mr. Christopher William Ponder
Mr. Joe Shannon Jr.
Respondent
Najera, Diana
Mr. Thomas Stutz
Other Interested Party
Wiernik, Scott
Mr. Thomas Fenton Allen Jr.
Ms. Jasmine Wynton
Mr. Basheer Youssef Ghorayeb
Mr. Thomas Stutz
Ms. Linda Harvill Gregory
Petitioner
McAfee, Tairhonda
Ms. Linda Harvill Gregory
Mr. Thomas Fenton Allen Jr.
Mr. Thomas Stutz
Ms. Jasmine Wynton
Mr. Basheer Youssef Ghorayeb
Petitioner
Jewell, Marybeth Lynn
Ms. Jasmine Wynton
Mr. Thomas Fenton Allen Jr.
Ms. Linda Harvill Gregory
Mr. Basheer Youssef Ghorayeb
Mr. Thomas Stutz
Petitioner

Amicus Curiae

Amicus Curiae Counsel
Texas Access to Justice Commission
Mr. Thomas S. Leatherbury

When can a district clerk seek to collect court costs from indigent pro se litigants?

court costs enforcing judgments

Until it was enjoined, the Tarrant County district court clerk's office sought to collect court costs, even against parties who had been classified as indigent.

The collections happened in cases where the district court's final judgment included language awarding such costs, against one party or the other.

The county's position is that the clerk should not be in the business of second-guessing the judgment but, instead, should follow it to the letter. In the county's view, the proper route for an indigent party to challenge these costs is by filing a motion in the district court to "re-tax" them.

The plaintiffs argue that the district clerk's office is exceeding its power by pursuing collection activity after the determination of indigence. The argument has been framed as an ultra vires claim, contending that the clerk's office is powerless to collect in this situation, whether or not the judgment is modified.

The county answers that this type of broad injunction is inappropriate because Texas law requires that challenges to the execution of a judgment must be brought in the specific district court that rendered the judgment — thus defeating a broad injunction and bolstering their argument that only the district court can modify the judgment's terms.

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