Wagner v. Texas

Under Penal Code Section 25.07(a)(2)(A), the State may prosecute an individual who has intentionally or knowingly communicated in a “threatening or harassing manner” with another person in violation of a judicially issued protective order or bond condition. Appellant Paul Wagner was charged and convicted under that statute after a jury determined that he communicated with his estranged wife, Laura, in a harassing manner in violation of a protective order that had been issued against him for her protection due to a history of family violence. The court of appeals affirmed appellant’s conviction on direct appeal over his challenge to the statute’s constitutionality on overbreadth and vagueness grounds under the First and Fourteenth amendments to the federal Constitution. Appellant challenged the constitutionality of Section 25.07(a)(2)(A). The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with the court of court of appeals that the statute, if interpreted in accordance with its plain meaning, was not overbroad because it did not reach a substantial amount of constitutionally protected speech, in that it applied only to a limited number of people whose communications have been restricted by a judge through a bond or protective order, and it prohibits only communications that are intentionally or knowingly made in a threatening or harassing manner towards particular protected individuals. Similarly, the Court concluded the statute, as applied to appellant’s conduct, was not impermissibly vague because the plain statutory terms were such that they would afford a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know that his course of conduct would be prohibited. View "Wagner v. Texas" on Justia Law