Today, Chief Justice Rebeca C. Martinez provided a Fourth Court Update for the Appellate Section of the San Antonio Bar Association. The Chief addressed new protocols and judicial efforts after the 2020 ransomware attack, as well as the soon-to-be newest addition to the court, Judge Lori Valenzuela, and other updates.
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Lori I. Valenzuela to the Fourth Court of Appeals for a term set to expire on December 31, 2022, or until her successor shall be duly elected and qualified. Judge Valenzuela has served as the judge of Bexar County’s 437th District Court since 2009.
In Ex parte Jarreau, the 4th Court overruled a facial constitutional challenge to Texas Health & Safety Code provisions criminalizing “dangerous drugs.” The dissent would have held the “catch-all ‘unsafe for self-medication’ portion of the definition of a ‘dangerous drug’ in the Dangerous Drug Act is unconstitutionally vague on its face.”
In Infinity County v. Tatsch, the 4th Court granted en banc review. In a prior opinion, the panel applied, for the very first time, a mechanical breakdown exclusion in an automobile policy. The injection of contaminated fuel damaged the insured’s truck. The panel majority originally held the mechanical breakdown exclusion applied; the dissent would have held the exclusion did not apply. On en banc review, the majority held neither party presented sufficient summary judgment e
The 4th Court granted en banc review in Avalos v. State. In Avalos, the defendant, an intellectually disabled person, was charged with two counts of capital murder. He pled no contest, and the death penalty was not imposed. Texas Penal Code section 12.31(a)(2) required the imposition of an automatic life sentence without parole for each conviction. Avalos and the State stipulated Avalos was intellectually disabled. The trial court denied Avalos’s request for an individualiz
In In re JMT, the 4th Court issued a supplemental opinion on en banc review to overrule prior decisions in which panels had held the evidence was legally insufficient to support an order terminating parental rights, but reversed and remanded for a new trial without explanation. In JMT, the 4th Court clarified reversal and rendition of the judgment the trial court should have rendered must be the appellate disposition, unless the court expressly addresses the “interest of just
Today, Rebeca C. Martinez was sworn in as Chief Justice of the 4th Court. Chief Justice Dori Contreras of the 13th Court of Appeals administered the Oath of Office, and Chief Justice Martinez was joined by her husband, David. Several justices and staff of the 4th Court, other judges in the 4th Court’s district, and friends and family of Chief Justice Martinez attended virtually. Congratulations to Chief Justice Martinez!
In December 2020, the 4th Court issued opinions in 38 civil cases and 25 criminal cases. To see the full list of issued opinions or to read them, please visit http://www.search.txcourts.gov/DocketSrch.aspx?coa=coa04 12-2 12-9 12-16 12-23 12-30