The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued 17 opinions from April 17-23. The Texas Supreme Court issued seven opinions from April 17-23. Both courts are the state’s courts of last resort. As of April 23, the court of criminal appeals issued 118 opinions in 2023 — 31 more than this point a year ago. The supreme court issued 41 opinions as of April 23, 2023 — nine fewer than this point a year ago. Three of the 24 opinions are below:
- Texas v. Torres, where the court concluded that a defendant’s earlier statements to a magistrate judge were inadmissible since the “magistrate did not ultimately make a determination whether the statements were given voluntarily.”
- Chavez v. Texas, where the court overturned an appeals court ruling granting a defendant a new trial and held that he was not entitled to have the jury receive instructions regarding lesser charges. The court thus upheld the trial court’s conviction of the defendant on capital murder charges.
- Hotze v. Turner, where the court “reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court ruling that one of two proposed amendments to the City of Houston’s charter approved by voters restricted the effectiveness of the other ballot measure, holding that on(e) amendment included a ‘primary clause’ that was void because it conflicted with state law.”
From April 17-23, state supreme courts issued 143 opinions nationally. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued the most with 20. State supreme courts in 15 states issued the fewest with zero. Courts where judges are elected have issued 83 opinions, while courts whose members are appointed have issued 60.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court are the state’s courts of last resort. The former is the state’s court of last resort for criminal matters, while the latter is the state’s court of last resort for civil matters; both have nine judgeships. Sharon Keller and Nathan Hecht are the current chiefs of the criminal and supreme courts, respectively. Combined, the courts issued 413 opinions in 2022 and 536 in 2021. Nationally, state supreme courts issued 7,423 opinions in 2022 and 8,320 in 2021. The courts have issued 2,027 opinions in 2023. Courts where judges are elected have issued 1,113 opinions, while courts whose members are appointed have issued 914. Texas is a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.