Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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In his petition for discretionary review, appellant Eddie Ette challenged the court of appeals' judgment upholding the imposition of a $10,000 fine assessed as part of his punishment for misapplication of fiduciary property. The fine was lawfully assessed by a jury, included in the trial court’s written judgment, but not orally pronounced at sentencing. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reduced the issues presented by this appeal as: (1) whether a trial court has no authority to alter a jury’s lawful verdict on punishment; or (2) whether sentences, including fines, must be orally pronounced in a defendant’s presence, and, as a matter of due process and fair notice, the sentence orally pronounced by the trial judge controls if it differs from the sentence detailed in the written judgment. The Court held the latter judicially created rule giving precedence to the oral pronouncement over the written judgment could not supplant a jury’s lawful verdict on punishment that has been correctly read aloud in a defendant’s presence in court. Accordingly, the Court held the trial court’s judgment could properly impose the fine against appellant despite the failure to orally pronounce it. Imposition of the fine was affirmed. View "Ette v. Texas" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted for the state-jail felony of debit card abuse. At issue was whether the terms "use" and "present" in the debit-card-abuse statute were mutually exclusive so that there was no overlap in the meaning of the words. Based on the ordinary meaning of the words as used in the statute, the court concluded that the statutory terms "use" and "present" could overlap in meaning, that a transaction need not be consummated to support a jury finding that a defendant used a debit card, and that the court of appeals erred in determining that the evidence was insufficient to establish debt card abuse. Because the court reinstated the trial court's judgment, the court concluded that defendant's petition regarding the reformation of the judgment was improvidently granted. View "Clinton v. State" on Justia Law