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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Final Judgment Rule and Its Exceptions in Texas State Law

As a general rule, in Texas state law, one can only appeal a final judgment. There are a lot of civil cases for this, e.g., Qwest Communications v. A T & T, 24 S.W.3d 334 (Tex. 2000) (per curiam). The same rule applies in Texas state criminal law as in, e.g. Ex parte Apolinar, 820 S.W.2d 792 (Tex. Crim. App.1991), but see Taylor v. State, 268 S.W.3d 752 (Tex. App.—Waco 2008, pet. ref’d) (listing interlocutory appeals that may have to be allowed under federal law). An appeal not of a final judgment is an interlocutory appeal. In Texas state civil law, interlocutory appeals are controlled by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 51.014; one of those kinds of interlocutory appeals was discussed in an earlier post on this blog. All Texas criminal appeals are controlled by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure chapter 42, which provides for certain interlocutory appeals. The State can have them in very limited circumstances. Bail bondspersons, too, under very limited circumstances, but not defendants. Writs such as habeas corpus, mandamus and prohibition are not limited by the final judgment rule. If such a writ application is appropriate, it’s not invalidated because what is being sought relief for is not a final judgment.  

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