Guthrie-Nail v. Texas (original by judge richardson)Annotate this Case
Appellant Vera Guthrie-Nail pled guilty to conspiracy to commit capital murder. A judgment was entered against her in 2012. Without giving notice to Appellant or conducting a hearing, the trial court issued a Nunc Pro Tunc Judgment on December 4, 2012, changing the “Findings on Deadly Weapon” entry from “N/A” to “Yes, a Firearm.” Appellant appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the Nunc Pro Tunc Judgment in an opinion on January 8, 2014. After review, in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' opinion delivered September 16, 2015, it held Appellant’s right to due process was violated because the trial court issued an unfavorable nunc pro tunc judgment without notice and a hearing, and reversed the January 2014 judgment. The matter was remanded the case to the trial court “for proceedings consistent with [our] opinion.” In accordance with that opinion, the trial court conducted a hearing on December 16, 2016, and the trial court judge orally confirmed that it had been his intent to make an affirmative finding of a deadly weapon on the original September 12, 2012, judgment. Appellant appealed the trial court’s December 16, 2016 oral ruling and docket entry. On March 28, 2017, the Court of Appeals dismissed Appellant’s appeal because the trial court had not entered an appealable order. Appellant petitioned for discretionary review to contest the court of appeals’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction. The State agreed Appellant was entitled to appellate review of the December 4, 2012 Nunc Pro Tunc Judgment and therefore joined Appellant’s request to overturn the court of appeals’s dismissal. The Court of Criminal Appeals determined the court of appeals’s dismissal was proper: "to date, the only valid judgment against Appellant is the original judgment dated September 12, 2012. If the trial court wishes to make a correction to the September 12, 2012, judgment based on what transpired at the December 16, 2016, hearing, the trial court must enter a new nunc pro tunc judgment, which would then be an appealable order."