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Date: 10-23-2020

Case Style:

Ex parte Steven Cole

Case Number: 01-20-00423-CR

Judge: Sherry Radack

Court: Court of Appeals For The First District of Texas

Plaintiff's Attorney: Daniel C. McCrory
The Honorable Kim K Ogg

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Houston, TX - Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant Steven Cole for an interlocutory appeal from the trial court’s denial of his application for a pre-conviction writ of habeas corpuss.

The record reflects that the State indicted applicant for causing serious bodily
injury to the complainant, Myrna Agris, an elderly woman.
In its December 6, 2019
order entitled, “Bail Condition and No Contact Order,” the trial court stated that
defendant “is eligible for bail in this case in the amount of $30,000 and that
additional conditions be imposed on said bail.” The trial court imposed a condition
that prevented applicant from having any contact with the complainant and
presumably his wife and children, except through the person’s attorney or a person
appointed by the Court.
Applicant then filed his application for writ of habeas corpus on April 17,
2020, arguing that the trial court’s bond conditions precluded applicant from having
any contact with his wife or three children. Applicant argued that the bond
conditions were unconstitutional and in violation of the applicant’s “fundamental
right to parent under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” On
the same day, applicant filed a memorandum to support his habeas corpus
application, stating that he is also in divorce proceedings with the complainant’s
daughter. Applicant states that “the alleged incident occurred in 2016. The
complainant is neither the Defendant’s wife nor Defendant’s children. There have
1 See TEX. PEN. CODE § 22.04.
been no other alleged altercations since this offense against the Complainant. The
condition to prohibit contact with the complainant is reasonable, however, to
prohibit contact with Defendant’s wife and children is unreasonable and
The trial court denied applicant’s writ of habeas corpus and applicant
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
The primary purpose of pretrial bail is to secure the defendant’s attendance at
trial, and the power to require bail, including the power to set conditions to bail,
should not be used as an instrument of oppression. Ex parte Anunobi, 278 S.W.3d
425, 427 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2008, no pet.) (citing Ex parte Ivey, 594 S.W.2d
98, 99 (Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1980)). To secure a defendant’s attendance at
trial, a magistrate may impose any reasonable bond condition related to the safety of
a victim of the alleged offense or to the safety of the community. TEX. CODE CRIM.
PROC. art. 17.40(a). Bond conditions, however, must not unreasonably impinge on
an individual’s constitutional rights. Ex parte Anderer, 61 S.W.3d 398, 402 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2001). Therefore, courts must be mindful that one of the purposes of
release on bail pending trial is to prevent the infliction of punishment before
conviction. Id. at 405. “The trial court’s discretion to set the conditions of bail is
not . . . unlimited. A condition of pretrial bail is judged by three criteria: it must be
reasonable; it must be to secure the defendant’s presence at trial; and it must be
related to the safety of the alleged victim or the community.” Anunobi, 278 S.W.3d
at 427 (citing Anderer, 61 S.W.3d at 401–02).
We review a trial court’s imposition of bond conditions for an abuse of
discretion. Id. at 428 (citing Ex parte Rubac, 611 S.W.2d 848, 850 (Tex. Crim. App.
1981)). Appellant bears the burden of showing that the trial court abused its
discretion in imposing the specific condition. Id. (citing Rubac, 611 S.W.2d at 849).
“In reviewing a trial court’s bond decision, the appellate court measures the trial
court’s ruling against the same factors it used in ruling on bail in the first instance.”
In the absence of a reporter’s record,2 an appellate court considering a habeas
corpus application will presume that there was evidence to support the trial court’s
judgment. Ex parte McKeand, 454 S.W.3d 52, 54 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.]
2014, no pet.). However, in a proceeding to review a denial of an application for
writ of habeas corpus, the applicant still bears the burden of proving that he is
entitled to relief by a preponderance of the evidence. Id.
2 The court reporter notified this Court that no reporter’s record had been taken.
Applicant has not shown that he is entitled to relief. Applicant seeks habeas
relief on the basis that the trial court entered an unconstitutional bond condition.
Specifically, applicant argues that the trial court’s bond condition that precludes him
from contacting his wife and three children is unconstitutional and in violation of his
right to parent his children.
In Ex parte Thompson, the appellant, who had been charged with injury to a
child and who likewise had a no-contact bond condition, similarly complained on
appeal that the condition was unreasonable, vague, and constitutionally excessive.
No. 14–04–00731–CR, 2005 WL 363971, at *1 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.]
Feb. 17, 2005, no pet.) (not designated for publication). Our sister court noted that
appellant had not objected when the condition was imposed, and held that by failing
to object at that time, appellant failed to preserve error. Id. Other Texas Courts have
held that “a defendant forfeits an argument that a condition of a bond is erroneous
or unconstitutional by not objecting when the condition is imposed.” Ex parte
Martinez, No. 02-15-00353-CR, 2015 WL 9598924, at *3–4 (Tex. App.—Fort
Worth Dec. 31, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op., not designated for publication) (holding
that appellant forfeited his objections to no-contact condition when he signed order
imposing condition and did not complain about condition until court enforced
condition);see also Smith v. State, 993 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th
Dist.] 1999, pet. ref’d) (en banc op. on reh’g) (“Smith failed to object to the
constitutionality of the bond conditions when the conditions were imposed;
therefore, he may not now get a second bite at the apple through a habeas corpus
appeal.”); Ex parte Vazquez, Nos. 05–13–00165–CR & 05–13–00166–CR, 2013
WL 1760614, at *3 (Tex. App.—Dallas Apr. 24, 2013, no pet.) (mem. op., not
designated for publication) (“Appellant’s failure to object to the condition at the time
it was imposed precludes his collateral attack on the condition now that his bond has
been revoked.”); Ex parte Lambridia, No. 14–96–00256–CR, 1996 WL 413982, at
*1–2 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] July 25, 1996, no pet.) (not designated for
publication) (overruling appellant’s challenge to no-contact condition because he
had signed order creating condition and record did not “contain evidence that [he]
objected when the condition was imposed”); Ex parte Sotelo, 878 S.W.2d 179, 181
(Tex. App.—Fort Worth 1993, pet. ref’d) (“We hold that Sotelo waived any error in
the original imposition of the condition by his failure to object.”), disapproved of on
other grounds by Ex parte Anderer, 61 S.W.3d 398, 404–05 & n.33 (Tex. Crim.
App. 2001).
Here, the trial court imposed the no-contact condition on December 6, 2019.
Applicant signed the order imposing the bail conditions, establishing that he had
notice of it. The record reflects that applicant waited over three months before he
complained about it. Because nothing in the record shows that applicant raised an
objection at the time the no-contact condition was imposed, we conclude that
applicant has forfeited his objections to the no-contact condition. See Smith, 993
S.W.2d at 411; Lambridia, 1996 WL 413982, at *1–2. We therefore conclude that
the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying appellant’s application for writ
of habeas corpus, and we overrule his sole issue.

Outcome: We affirm the trial court’s order that denied applicant’s application for writ of
habeas corpus.

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