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Abuse of Writ

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January 04, 2017, 10:44
Martin Peterson
Abuse of Writ
Perhaps like some of you, I have from time to time pondered who held the record for filing the most 11.07 writ applications challenging a conviction. I believe I have maybe located the answer. And the story is kind of scary.

His name is Darrell J. Harper. He was convicted in Travis County on January 27, 2012 for commission of terroristic threat and retaliation occurring on June 22, 2010. He received concurrent six-year prison sentences. He apparently had been incarcerated since January 30, 2011 (and remained in the Travis County Correctional Center until late 2014).

Although he had perfected a direct appeal on February 1, 2012, he began filing for habeas relief as well. His first writ reached the CCA on March 26, 2012. The decision of the 3rd COA (affirming his convictions) came down on April 30, 2014. By then, Harper had already filed at least 40 11.07 applications and motions for reconsideration in many of those. Harper filed a motion for rehearing with the COA, which was denied on July 31, 2014. The mandate was issued on October 13, 2014.

Harper filed (too late) a PDR on October 21, 2014. His first "real" writ application was dismissed for non-compliance on December 17, 2014. The one that counted (#43) was denied on March 4, 2015 (along with #44). Writ #45 was also denied on March 18, 2015. Denial of #46 came on March 25, 2015. Number 47 was denied on April 1, 2015. Number 48, received by the CCA on June 4, 2015 was dismissed under section 4 on July 1, 2015. Number 49 received like treatment on August 12, 2015. That pattern continued until April 13, 2016, when number 55 received an abuse of writ order. The day before (4/12/16), Harper had been denied discretionary mandatory supervision release for unsatisfactory institutional adjustment, poor potential for rehabilitation, and because release would endanger the public.

Subsequent to the abuse order, Harper has filed at least an additional 19 applications. Number 74 received its order today. I, at least, hope that no one else has gummed up the system to that extent. Someone else may have filed more than 74, but probably not in a period of 56 months.

Perhaps #74 is the end. Harper will be released from prison (having discharged his sentence) at the end of this month. His problem originated with alleged discriminatory employment issues and failure to receive unemployment benefits. His ability to support himself is in doubt.