Law School Case Brief
Broadway v. State - No. 06-17-00192-CR, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 1264 (Tex. App. Feb. 15, 2018)
Under Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 26.05(g) (Supp. 2017), a trial court has the authority to order the reimbursement of court-appointed attorney fees as court costs only if the judge determines that a defendant has financial resources that enable the defendant to offset in part or in whole the costs of the legal services provided, including any expenses and costs. The defendant's financial resources and ability to pay are explicit critical elements in the trial court's determination of the propriety of ordering reimbursement of costs and fees of legal services provided.
In Texas state court, defendant Jerry Edmond Broadway entered an open plea of guilty to the offense of possession or promotion of child pornography. After a bench trial on the issue of punishment, the trial court sentenced Broadway to 10 years' imprisonment and ordered him to pay $2,225.25 in court costs. The bill of costs added a fee of $1,481.25 without any reference as to the nature of this charge. However, the trial court's certificate authorizing payment of attorney fees demonstrated that the assessment of $1,481.25 constituted an order for Broadway to pay attorney fees for his court-appointed counsel. Because Broadway was indigent, he argued on appeal that the evidence was insufficient to support the order to pay attorney fees.
Was there substantial evidence to support the order requiring Broadway to pay attorney fees?
The appellate court held that substantial evidence did not support a written order under Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 26.05(g) (Supp. 2017) requiring Broadway to pay attorney fees for his court-appointed counsel because he was found indigent throughout trial, and the oral pronouncement of his sentence included no order to pay attorney fees.
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