BACKGROUND TO SPRIGGS ‘JAIL/CONTEMPT’ CASE
On May 1, Spriggs appeared for trial and announced “not ready.” After a hearing, Judge Woodburn found Spriggs in contempt, sentenced him to ten days’ confinement in the county jail and a fine of $500, and committed him to the custody of the Potter County sheriff to serve the sentence.
Judge Woodburn’s contempt determination, Spriggs’ sentence, and an order of commitment to the sheriff were put into a written order.
On the court’s own motion, followed verbally by that of Spriggs’ counsel, Judge Woodburn released Spriggs on his own recognizance so that the presiding judge of the administrative region could assign a different judge to determine Spriggs’ guilt or innocence.
The assignment went to the Honorable David Peeples. By order signed May 2, Judge Woodburn allowed Spriggs to withdraw from Ray’s representation and appointed replacement counsel.
Judge Peeples conducted a hearing on Spriggs’ contempt charge on Friday, July 28.
Peeples signed an order on July 31, finding Spriggs guilty of contempt and sentencing him to seven days’ confinement in the county jail beginning Wednesday, August 2, at 9:00 a.m.
Shortly before 4:00 p.m. on August 1, Spriggs filed this original proceeding and a motion for temporary relief. Prior to 9:00 a.m. on August 2, we granted Spriggs’ request for temporary relief and stayed commencement of his sentence.
Unlike In re Reece, the underlying case here is a criminal law matter and the Court of Criminal Appeals has not declined to exercise its original habeas jurisdiction.
Indeed, Spriggs came to this court even though the Court of Criminal Appeals is this state’s appellate court of general original habeas jurisdiction. Id. at 369; Ex parte Thompson, 273 S.W.3d 177, 181 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008) (“It is well settled that the constitutional grant of original jurisdiction to [the Court of Criminal Appeals] to issue the writ of habeas corpus permits [the Court of Criminal Appeals] to review a contempt order entered by a district court”); Ex parte Supercinski, 561 S.W.2d 482, 483 (Tex. Crim. App. 1977) (“The original jurisdiction of the Court of Criminal Appeals to issue writs of habeas corpus is unlimited” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)).
For those reasons, Spriggs’ application for writ of habeas corpus is dismissed for want of jurisdiction and his petition for writ of mandamus is denied. This court’s August 2, 2018 stay is dissolved.
JUDGMENT REGARDING 2018 COMMISSION FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINE (TEXAS) CASE
RELATED NEWS: After another judge recused himself, Peeples was appointed by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht to oversee the inquiry on Gossom.
Ronald T. Spriggs v. Commission for Lawyer Discipline
Mr. Spriggs, 00792853, appeals a Judgment of Partially Probated Suspension signed by Evidentiary Panel 13-2 of the District 13 Grievance Committee of the State Bar of Texas on July 18, 2019. The panel found that Mr. Spriggs violated TDRPC 1.01(b)(1) neglect, 1.03(a) communication, and 1.15(d) failure to return an unearned fee. BODA case no. 62242.