In re State of Texas ex rel. Jennifer Tharp

Real Party in Interest Mitchell Childers was accused of two counts of indecency with a child by contact. Childers moved the District Court to order the State to deliver the two victims’ video recorded Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) interviews to the official court reporter for transcription. Childers’s motion also requested a copy of the transcripts be forwarded to his attorney at no cost. The judge’s order granted Childers’s motion over the State’s objection. The State contended the order violated Article 39.15(c) and informed the judge that it would likely seek mandamus relief. The next day and without further hearing or pleadings, the judge amended the order substantially. Claiming to “[b]alanc[e] the need for the legislative proscriptions found in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 39.15 with constitutional due process and right of counsel to be afforded the defendant in preparation for trial,” the amended order denied Childers’s motion. Yet the amended order still ordered the videos transcribed, and placed the transcriptions under seal. In its petition for a writ of mandamus, the State challenged the trial judge’s order under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Articles 38.45 and 39.15 and Texas Family Code section 264.408.. The Court of Criminal Appeals concluded the State failed to demonstrate the amended order fell outside the "discretion of the trial court in matters of discovery," and accordingly denied the State’s motion for leave to file its petition for a writ of mandamus. View "In re State of Texas ex rel. Jennifer Tharp" on Justia Law