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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, January 17, 2014

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Outlaws Near-Interminable Post-Conviction Habeas Corpus Filings.

Charles Ray Walton filed a post-conviction application for writ of habeas corpus with a handwritten memorandum of law of 328 pages, 138 of which relate to the first of his eight grounds. In a unanimous opinion written by Presiding Judge Sharon Keller, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have changed the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure to limit memoranda of law to 15,000 words if computer-generated and to 50 pages if not; these limitations generally only apply to the argument in the memoranda, not the other formal parts.
There are two dear old fellow former colleagues from State Counsel for Offenders working in the writ section of the CCA. 50 pages/15,000 words really should be as much as they should have to read.
Also, if you know an inmate working on a post-conviction writ application, such a person should be encouraged to type or have their application typed. I fear that a convict with a quality reason to get a writ might not get that writ because the handwriting makes the application impossible to read. And it's not just us defense lawyers who feel that way, the opinion editor at the Texas prosecutors' organization expressed the same concern. That organization showed me this opinion. When I wrote this, they had their site down to upgrade over the long weekend.
Ex parte Charles Ray Walton, No. WR-75,599-03,slip. op. (Tex. Crim. App., Jan. 15, 2014), available at http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us/OPINIONS/PDFOPINIONINFO2.ASP?OPINIONID=25012

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