Ex parte Occhipenti, No. 01-90-00489-CV

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtBefore EVANS; DUNN
Citation796 S.W.2d 805
PartiesEx parte Jerry OCCHIPENTI, Relator. (1st Dist.)
Decision Date06 September 1990
Docket NumberNo. 01-90-00489-CV

Page 805

796 S.W.2d 805
Ex parte Jerry OCCHIPENTI, Relator.
No. 01-90-00489-CV.
Court of Appeals of Texas,
Houston (1st Dist.).
Sept. 6, 1990.
Rehearing Overruled Oct. 4, 1990.

Page 806

John Knoff, Houston, for appellant.

Carol Wind, Houston, for real party in interest.

Before EVANS, C.J., and O'CONNOR and DUNN, JJ.

OPINION

DUNN, Justice.

On May 30, 1990, the 315th District Court of Harris County adjudicated relator, Jerry Occhipenti, in contempt for failure to pay court-ordered child support, assessed punishment at 180 days confinement, and ordered relator confined thereafter until he paid the child support arrearages. On June 8, 1990, this Court granted relator's motion for leave to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus, set bail at $500, and ordered relator released from custody pending a final determination of the validity of his confinement. Tex.R.App.P. 120(d). Relator had been confined for approximately eight days prior to the time we granted his motion for leave to file.

On February 11, 1981, the trial court ordered relator to pay the real party in interest $50 per week in child support every Friday beginning on February 13, 1981. On August 31, 1989, the real party in interest filed a motion for contempt against relator. The motion alleged that, as of August 9, 1989, relator had paid only $200 in child support since February 13, 1981, and the total arrearages were $21,950. The motion also alleged repeated past violations and anticipated future violations by relator of the February 11, 1981, order between the filing of the motion and the date of the show cause hearing. The real party in interest sought, among other things, that relator be held in contempt, and that he be confined for a period not to exceed six months and thereafter until the child support arrearages were paid in full.

A show cause hearing was originally set for May 16, 1990, but was reset to May 30, 1990, so that relator could hire an attorney. Following the show cause hearing on May 30, 1990, the trial court found relator in contempt of its February 11, 1981, order to pay child support. The trial court's order recites that relator appeared pro se at the May 30, 1990, show cause hearing. The trial court found that, as of May 30, 1990, the total amount of child support arrearages was $21,950, and that relator currently had the ability to pay this amount. The trial court also found that relator had the ability, but failed to pay his child support payments that were due on January 4, 1990, January 11, 1990, January 18, 1990, and January 25, 1990, for which the trial court assessed punishment at 180 days confinement. Thereafter, relator was ordered confined until he paid the $21,950 child support arrearages.

Relator has not filed a statement of facts from either the May 16, 1990, or the May 30, 1990, hearings. At oral argument, the real party in interest indicated that tape recordings were made of these hearings. On July 30, 1990, the real party in interest filed the tapes with this Court.

Page 807

However, this Court lacks authority to consider the tapes because no Texas Supreme Court order exists authorizing the Harris County district courts to enter into a pilot project to study the use of an electronic recording system. See Darley v. Texas Uvatan, Inc., 741 S.W.2d 200 (Tex.App.--Dallas 1987, no writ) (discusses supreme court order allowing Dallas County district courts to use electronic recording systems). Even if such a project existed in Harris County, this Court would not have the authority to consider the tapes because the court reporter did not certify them, and copies of the typewritten and original tape logs certified by the court reporter were not filed in this Court. 741 S.W.2d at 202 (sets out requirements for statement of facts on appeal from a proceeding in which an electronic tape recording has been made). Therefore, this case comes to this Court without a statement of facts.

This Court may order the release of the relator in a habeas corpus proceeding where the commitment, or the order on which it is based, is void. Ex parte Barnett, 600 S.W.2d 252, 254 (Tex.1980); Ex parte Crawford, 684 S.W.2d 124, 126 (Tex.App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1984, orig. proceeding); Ex parte McKinley, 578 S.W.2d 437 (Tex.Civ.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1979, orig. proceeding).

It is difficult to determine what claims relator asserts as his first point of error. Relying on Ex parte Martinez, 775 S.W.2d 455 (Tex.App.--Dallas 1989, orig. proceeding), relator asserts in his original application that the contempt judgment is void because the trial court did not appoint an attorney to represent him in violation of Tex.Fam.Code Ann. sec. 14.32(f) (Vernon Supp.1990). 1 In a contempt proceeding where incarceration is a possible punishment, section 14.32(f) requires a trial court to advise an obligor of his right to an attorney and that one would be appointed to represent the obligor if he was indigent.

In a supplemental brief filed with this Court on August 3, 1990, relator asserts that the trial court did not give him the admonishments set out in section 14.32(f). The record before us reflects that relator obtained a two week postponement of the hearing so that he could hire an attorney, and that he appeared at the May 30, 1990, contempt hearing without an attorney. Thus, the record reflects that relator knew of his right to be represented by an attorney.

Therefore, we understand relator's first point of error to be that the contempt judgment is void either because: (1) relator was indigent and he did not validly waive his right to court appointed assistance of counsel, a constitutional claim; or (2) the trial court failed to comply with section 14.32(f), a procedural irregularity. See Ex parte Linder, 783 S.W.2d at 759; Ex parte Walker, 748 S.W.2d 21, 22 (Tex.App.--Dallas 1988, orig. proceeding) (unless an indigent obligor is advised of his right to court-appointed counsel, his failure to request counsel is not a waiver of his constitutional right to assistance of counsel). Relying on Linder, the real party in interest urges us to presume, in the absence of a statement of facts, that the judgment is valid. 783 S.W.2d at 760. The following discussion disposes of both of relator's claims.

In resolving relator's...

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79 practice notes
  • Routier v. State, No. 72795.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • May 21, 2003
    ...this proposition, the appellant cites Valenzuela v. State, 940 S.W.2d 664, 666 (Tex.App.-El Paso 1996, no pet.), and Ex parte Occhipenti, 796 S.W.2d 805, 807 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1990, no pet.). These cases are In Valenzuela, the defendant's attorney requested that the official cou......
  • Ex parte Barlow, No. 14-95-00175-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • May 25, 1995
    ...three cases stating that inadequate notice can be waived if a relator fails to object by specially excepting. See Ex parte Occhipenti, 796 S.W.2d 805 (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1990, orig. proceeding); Ex parte Stephens, 734 S.W.2d 761 (Tex.App.--Fort Worth 1987, orig. proceeding); Ex p......
  • Ex Parte Coronado, No. 13-09-00149-CV (Tex. App. 4/9/2009), No. 13-09-00149-CV.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • April 9, 2009
    ...1979) (orig. proceeding). In a habeas corpus proceeding, the order or judgment challenged is presumed to be valid.Ex parte Occhipenti, 796 S.W.2d 805, 809 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1990, orig. proceeding). The relator must bring forward an adequate record to establish the invalidity of......
  • Ex parte Bowers, No. 01-93-00805-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • August 25, 1994
    ...Relator was represented by counsel, and this issue was never raised before the trial court. It is waived. See Ex parte Occhipenti, 796 S.W.2d 805, 810 (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1990, orig. proceeding) (relator waived complaint of inadequate notice of specific contemptuous acts because ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
79 cases
  • Routier v. State, No. 72795.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • May 21, 2003
    ...this proposition, the appellant cites Valenzuela v. State, 940 S.W.2d 664, 666 (Tex.App.-El Paso 1996, no pet.), and Ex parte Occhipenti, 796 S.W.2d 805, 807 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1990, no pet.). These cases are In Valenzuela, the defendant's attorney requested that the official cou......
  • Ex parte Barlow, No. 14-95-00175-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • May 25, 1995
    ...three cases stating that inadequate notice can be waived if a relator fails to object by specially excepting. See Ex parte Occhipenti, 796 S.W.2d 805 (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1990, orig. proceeding); Ex parte Stephens, 734 S.W.2d 761 (Tex.App.--Fort Worth 1987, orig. proceeding); Ex p......
  • Ex Parte Coronado, No. 13-09-00149-CV (Tex. App. 4/9/2009), No. 13-09-00149-CV.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • April 9, 2009
    ...1979) (orig. proceeding). In a habeas corpus proceeding, the order or judgment challenged is presumed to be valid.Ex parte Occhipenti, 796 S.W.2d 805, 809 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1990, orig. proceeding). The relator must bring forward an adequate record to establish the invalidity of......
  • Ex parte Bowers, No. 01-93-00805-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • August 25, 1994
    ...Relator was represented by counsel, and this issue was never raised before the trial court. It is waived. See Ex parte Occhipenti, 796 S.W.2d 805, 810 (Tex.App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1990, orig. proceeding) (relator waived complaint of inadequate notice of specific contemptuous acts because ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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