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Oldest Pending Appeal

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March 29, 2008, 08:02
Oldest Pending Appeal
Our cases go to the Third Court of Appeals in Austin. There is a bit of a backlog there without any obvious explanation. In a recent Texas Lawyer article, senior appellate judge Jan Patterson said, "All judges should be aware of the timeliness to their decisions, and, as far as I'm aware, there is no reason for a backlog." Patterson is current on her cases in the Third Court of Appeals.

For example, I have a pending murder case before that court of appeals that was ready for "submission" nearly two years ago. Meanwhile, murders in connecting counties have been committed since then that were prosecuted and affirmed on appeal. What gives?

What is the oldest case you have on appeal? What is the district? Any thoughts on how to kick start the case into release from purgatory?

To see the history of the aging murder case, click here.

Compare it to this notorious murder case that was handled in less than a year: click here.

[This message was edited by JB on 03-29-08 at .]

[This message was edited by JB on 03-29-08 at .]
March 29, 2008, 13:15
Martin Peterson
Is two years between submission and an opinion all that uncommon? Rule 40.2 says "the earliest possible time," but that hardly means much. It is a good question how you nudge a court to action. It appears whoever was first dealing with your case is no longer on the court (is that the explanation for transfer to another panel?). Let us know what, if anything, you decide upon in your case.
March 31, 2008, 07:41
I don't have any submitted cases over one year, but do have one that has not been submitted almost one year old. Have had numerous newer cases submitted, opinion issued, pdr refused, and mandate issued. Have always wondered why some cases get submitted within a few months and others take almost one year. Same with opinions - some get out shortly after the submission date, others a year or more. And I worked as a briefing clerk there for one year ans still do not understand. I know last year there was a problem with the new computer system that failed to flag cases properly - had one case where appellant's brief was due and it was not until four months after due date that the CoA issued a letter to inquire why.
March 31, 2008, 13:49
We had one transferred from one of the Houston courts to Corpus. It took more than 2 years to to get them to issue a mandate. Calling for updates didn't seem to help much.
March 31, 2008, 15:57
I had a misdemeanor DWI where notice of appeal was given in April of 1995, and the mandate did not issue until 2005. But, there were two trips to the CCA involved in there. Here's a link to the docket in order to prove my case:

Thankfully, the 5th court moves things along better than that in most cases.
March 31, 2008, 16:06
david curl
I had a capital case where the NOA was filed in Nov 1986 and the mandate issued in Nov 1996.

Generally, my experience is that if a case is pending in the coa for more than one year it means that something awful is going to happen.
April 01, 2008, 05:26
I had a pre-trial double jeopardy appeal where the NOA was filed in March 2001 and mandate was not issued until October 2006. It went back and forth twice between the court of appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Boy, was the defendant surprised to be facing charges five years after she had thought the case had gone away.