PDR Granted

I’ve been fighting a battle against Texas Penal Code Section 33.021, the Texas Online Solicitation of a Child statute, for some time now. In one pending case, I was brought in by trial counsel to be the “law man,” filing a pretrial writ of habeas corpus alleging that the statute was overbroad as written, was void for vagueness, and violated the “dormant Commerce Clause.” The trial court (Judge Joan Campbell) denied relief; we appealed, the Court of Appeals affirmed; we moved for rehearing, the Court of Appeals denied; and we filed a Petition for Discretionary Review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Today the Court of Criminal Appeals granted our petition and ordered oral argument. I’ll be briefing the issue (for the third time—trial court, Court of Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals), and arguing it to the court (either in Austin or in the grand and recently restored 1910 Harris County courthouse, where the court may be visiting).

Challenging a statute on Constitutional grounds is always an uphill battle, but to affirm the Court of Appeals I think the Court will have to invent a new category of unprotected speech.

About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
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9 Responses to PDR Granted

  1. Mike Paar says:

    Perhaps this can help: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/east_montgomery/news/charges-dismissed-against-ex-spd-cop/article_b8b0fa71-442e-5277-ae81-b3177cd88cf0.html

    Or maybe you have to be a cop in Montgomery county to get a deal like that?

  2. Robb Fickman says:

    Mark – I am shocked that Joan Campbell would rule against you. Ha Ha, Good job and good luck.

    Johnny Johnson

  3. Great job. Hopefully they will do the right thing. The Court of Criminal Appeals rarely grants an oral hearing on a PDR, so they are looking at your argument.
    Keep us posted.

  4. Andrew Dornburg says:

    Have they stated when the oral argument will be held? That would be an argument that I would really like to see firsthand.

  5. Jay Cohen says:

    Excellent work. Hopefully the court does the right thing and it results in good law.

  6. John Regan says:

    Mark, wonderful job and good luck.

  7. Diantha Garrett Brennan says:

    Congrats! As a former Briefing Attorney to the late Judge Sam Houston Clinton, you are correct in noting that the Court rarely grants oral argument on a PDR. Knock them dead!

    Is Ct Crim App scheduled to hear cases in Houston in the near future?

  8. Alejandro Macias says:

    Congratulations, Mark. I think the CCA is coming in late April or May. I hope we get to catch your argument here in Houston.

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