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Date: 05-23-2021

Case Style:

Mychal Wespriest Trotter v. The State of Texas

Case Number: 02-20-00042-CR

Judge: Dabney Bassel

Court: Court of Appeals Second Appellate District of Texas at Fort Worth

Plaintiff's Attorney: Joseph W. Spence
William A. Knight

Defendant's Attorney:

Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory


Fort Worth, Texas - Criminal defense attorney represented Mychal Wespriest Trotter with a Poss of a Controlled Substance charge.

In March 2018, Trotter pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and,
pursuant to a plea agreement, the trial court placed him on deferred-adjudication
community supervision for five years. In its deferred-adjudication order, the trial court
assessed a $500 fine that was not suspended and ordered Trotter to pay $1,190 in
attorney’s fees. Trotter’s community-supervision conditions included a $60-per-month
probation fee and required him to pay for drug testing.
The State filed a fourth amended petition to revoke Trotter’s community
supervision and adjudicate his guilt on the underlying offense, alleging that he had
committed 8 community-supervision-condition violations: (1) possessing forged
materials; (2) evading arrest or detention with a vehicle; (3) committing
“OBSTRUCTION-RETALIATION”; (4) committing criminal trespass; (5) using
ecstasy; (6) consuming alcohol in March 2019; (7) submitting a diluted urine sample for
drug testing; and (8) consuming alcohol in June 2019.
After the State waived allegations 1 through 4, Trotter pleaded “true” to
allegations 5 and 6, and the trial court found allegations 5, 6, 7, and 8 to be true. The
trial court sentenced Trotter to twelve years’ confinement and ordered him to pay
reparations, which included $1,190 in attorney’s fees and $60 “DUE TO CSCD.” The
The “Chronological Record of Contacts” prepared by the Community
Supervision and Corrections Department reveals that Trotter was required to pay $15
per urinalysis (UA).4
trial court included in its written judgment adjudicating guilt a $257 fine3 but did not
orally pronounce that fine. Attached to the judgment adjudicating guilt is an order to
withdraw funds totaling $2,381 from Trotter’s inmate trust account.4 This appeal
III. Analysis
A. Court-Appointed Attorney’s Fees
In his first point, Trotter contends that the trial court improperly ordered him to
pay $1,190 in attorney’s fees because the trial court never made a finding that Trotter
had the financial resources to pay for attorney’s fees. Trotter acknowledges that the
trial court initially ordered payment of $1,190 in attorney’s fees in its order of deferred
adjudication. However, Trotter argues that when the trial court adjudicated his guilt, it
was improper for the trial court to order repayment of the attorney’s fees that arose
from the order of deferred adjudication because there is “no basis in the record for the
trial court to have determined that [his] financial situation had changed in such a way
that he could have repaid the ordered attorney’s fees.”
The record reflects that Trotter paid $243 toward the $500 fine that was
originally assessed in the deferred-adjudication order, leaving a balance of $257 in
“Fines Remaining.”
By referring to the “Revocation Restitution/Reparation Balance Sheet,” it
appears that the $2,381 total is composed of $1,190 for attorney’s fees; $60 “DUE TO
CSCD”; $500 for probation fees; $257 for remaining fines; and $374 for remaining
court costs.5
In response, the State argues that under Riles v. State, Trotter forfeited his
complaint regarding the assessment of the $1,190 in attorney’s fees because he failed to
raise the issue when he was initially placed on community supervision. 452 S.W.3d 333
(Tex. Crim. App. 2015). We agree.
In Riles, the trial court deferred adjudication of Riles’s guilt, placed her on
community supervision, and ordered her to pay attorney’s fees. Id. at 334. After the
trial court revoked her community supervision and adjudicated her guilt, the trial court
ordered her to pay $1,000 in attorney’s fees. Id. at 335. On appeal from the judgment
adjudicating her guilt, Riles argued that the trial court had erred by ordering her to pay
the attorney’s fees without any evidence that she had the ability to pay them. Id. The
Amarillo Court of Appeals held that Riles had forfeited this claim by not raising it in an
appeal from the order of deferred adjudication. Id. The Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed, holding that Riles had forfeited her complaint regarding attorney’s
fees because (1) she had failed to appeal the original order of deferred adjudication that
imposed the attorney’s fees, and (2) she had knowledge of her obligation to pay the
attorney’s fees. Id. at 337.
The facts of this case are essentially indistinguishable from the facts in Riles. The
trial court here deferred adjudication of Trotter’s guilt, placed him on community
supervision, and ordered him to pay $1,190 in attorney’s fees. Trotter failed to appeal
the trial court’s deferred-adjudication order. After adjudicating Trotter’s guilt, the trial
court ordered Trotter to repay $1,190 in attorney’s fees. The record reflects multiple 6
points where Trotter received notice of his obligation to pay attorney’s fees. First, the
$1,190 in attorney’s fees is included in the trial court’s deferred-adjudication order. And
second, when the trial court signed that order, Trotter signed a document reciting the
conditions of his community supervision, which required payment of attorney’s fees.
See Ford v. State, No. 12-17-00307-CR, 2018 WL 1737085, at *3 (Tex. App.—Tyler
Apr. 11, 2018, no pet.) (mem. op., not designated for publication) (concluding that
appellant’s signature on the written statement of community-supervision conditions
demonstrated her knowledge of obligation to pay attorney’s fees).
Therefore, because Trotter (1) failed to challenge the imposition of the attorney’s
fees by direct appeal from the original order of deferred adjudication and (2) knew of
his obligation to pay the fees, we hold that he forfeited his complaint that the trial court
improperly ordered him to pay $1,190 in attorney’s fees in its order adjudicating guilt.
See Tex. R. App. P. 33.1(a); Riles, 452 S.W.3d at 337–38; Manuel v. State, 994 S.W.2d 658,
661–62 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999); Ford, 2018 WL 1737085, at *3. We overrule Trotter’s
first point.
In his second point, Trotter argues that the $60 fee “DUE TO CSCD” should
be deleted because it is impossible from the record to determine the authority for the
fee. In response, the State argues that a portion of the $60 fee finds support in the
record because the trial court conditioned Trotter’s community supervision on his
submitting to and paying for drug testing. The State contends that the fee “DUE TO 7
CSCD” is linked to past-due payments for multiple UAs at $15 per test. The State,
however, concedes that the record reveals only three UAs were performed ($45 in total),
leaving $15 unaccounted for.5 The State thus concedes that $15 should be deleted from
the judgment.
We have previously held that drug-testing fees can support a fee “DUE TO
CSCD.” See Blackshire v. State, No. 02-12-00364-CR, 2015 WL 3422498, at *2 (Tex.
App.—Fort Worth May 28, 2015, pet. ref’d) (mem. op. on remand, not designated for
publication). But see Demerson v. State, No. 02-18-00003-CR, 2018 WL 3580893, at *2
(Tex. App.—Fort Worth July 26, 2018, no pet.) (mem. op., not designated for
publication) (reviewing record to see if drug testing supported fee “DUE TO CSCD”
but determining that record did not show that appellant’s use of marijuana was detected
through an unpaid drug test or drug patch or that he was tested multiple times).
Here, the “Chronological Record of Contacts” reveals the dates on which Trotter
was ordered to submit to a UA and whether he had paid for the testing. On April 30,
2019, Trotter was current on his $60 monthly probation fee and his $15 UA fee but was
ordered to submit to a test that date. On May 16, 2019, the chronological record states
that Trotter was current on his $60 monthly supervision fee and his $15 UA fee
(presumably he paid for the April test on or before that date); he was then “instructed
The State “believes that the unaccounted for $15 is from an additional UA that
occurred after the prosecutor requested the chronology records on December 4, 2019,
but before the adjudication hearing on February 14, 2020.” The State, however,
concedes that “there is nothing in the record to support this [belief].”8
to submit UA this date,” and a sample was submitted and tested. On June 5, 2019, a
urine sample was collected and tested, but there is no mention of any payment for the
May or June UAs or his monthly probation fee. The entries after June 5 but before
November 14 do not mention any fees or UAs. On November 14, 2019, the
chronological record reflects that Trotter had “FEES - $390 balance.” The State
explains that this balance represents 6 months of unpaid probation fees ($60 X 6
months = $360)6 and the 2 unpaid UAs from May and June ($15 X 2 = $30). Also on
November 14, 2019, the chronological record reflects that Trotter was ordered to
submit a urine sample. A week later, the chronological record states, “Recvd lab
confirmation for UA submitted on 11/14/19: DILUTED.” Thus, the record shows
that Trotter failed to pay three $15 UA fees. Consequently, the record supports only
$45 of the $60 fee “DUE TO CSCD.”
Because there is support in the record for only $45 of the $60 fee “DUE TO
CSCD,” we sustain Trotter’s second point in part. We modify the judgment to reduce
the amount of reparations that Trotter owes by $15, and we delete $15 from the order
to withdraw funds from Trotter’s inmate trust account. See Blackshire, 2015 WL
3422498, at *3.
The unpaid monthly probation fees are not included in “DUE TO CSCD.” The
monthly probation fees are discussed later in this opinion.9
C. Unpronounced Fine
In his third point, Trotter argues, and the State agrees, that the $257 fine assessed
by the trial court should be deleted because the trial court did not orally pronounce the
fine at sentencing. It is well-established that the trial court’s oral pronouncement of a
sentence controls over its written judgment to the extent they conflict. See Taylor v.
State, 131 S.W.3d 497, 502 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004). Accordingly, we sustain Trotter’s
third point and modify the judgment by deleting the $257 fine; we also delete that
amount from the order to withdraw funds from Trotter’s inmate trust account. See id.;
Cox v. State, No. 02-13-00596-CR, 2015 WL 831544, at *1 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth
Feb. 26, 2015, no pet.) (mem. op., not designated for publication).
D. Concession on Probation Fees
The State included the following footnote in its brief regarding a miscalculation
of the probation fees:
While not raised by [Trotter], it appears from the records that [he] was
assessed an additional $60 in supervision fees for February 15, 2020, even
though he was adjudicated on February 14, 2020. [Trotter] could only
owe eight months in supervision fees (June, July, August, September,
October, November, December [2019], and January [2020]), or $480.
[Record references omitted.]
As we explained in a recent decision,
The State’s confession of error in a criminal case carries great weight, but
it is not binding. Saldano v. State, 70 S.W.3d 873, 884 (Tex. Crim. App.
2002), modified on other grounds sub silencio by Karenev v. State, 281 S.W.3d 428,
434 (Tex. Crim. App. 2009); Neale v. State, 525 S.W.3d 800, 810 (Tex.
App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2017, no pet.); see also Pickrom v. State,
Nos. 02-19-00188-CR, 02-19-00189-CR, 2020 WL 1808485, at *2 n.3 10
(Tex. App.—Fort Worth Apr. 9, 2020, pet. ref’d) (mem. op., not
designated for publication). Even when the State makes concessions, we
must independently examine the record because the proper administration
of criminal law cannot be left to the parties’ stipulations. Saldano, 70
S.W.3d at 884; Neale, 525 S.W.3d at 810; see also Pickrom, 2020 WL 1808485,
at *2 n.3.
Arent v. State, No. 02-20-00023-CR, 2020 WL 6326151, at *1 n.1 (Tex. App.—Fort
Worth Oct. 29, 2020, no pet.) (mem. op., not designated for publication).
We have authority to modify the judgment to make the record speak truth when
a matter has been called to our attention by any source. See Bigley v. State, 865 S.W.2d
26, 27–28 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993). Accordingly, because the record demonstrates that
Appellant should have been charged $60 monthly probation fees for 8 months for a
total of $480, we modify the judgment to delete $20 of the $500 probation fees that
were included in the total reparations that Trotter was ordered to pay.

Outcome: Having sustained Trotter’s third point and that portion of his second point
challenging $15 of the fee “DUE TO CSCD” and having been alerted to an additional
$20 of probation fees that were erroneously charged as part of the reparations, we
modify the judgment adjudicating guilt to delete $35 of the reparations (leaving a total of $1,715) and the $257 fine, and we delete these amounts totaling $292 from the order to withdraw funds (leaving a total of $2,089). Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment as modified. See Tex. R. App. P. 43.2(b)

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