Diruzzo v. Texas (original by judge yeary)Annotate this Case
Appellant Joseph Diruzzo was convicted on sixteen counts of illegally practicing medicine. On appeal, he argued the district court never acquired subject matter jurisdiction over the case because the indictment only charged him with misdemeanor offenses. He argued the trial court erred to deny his motion to quash the indictment raising this issue. The Corpus Christi Court of Appeals rejected Appellant’s claim, holding that “the indictment sufficiently alleged the third degree felony offense under [Texas Occupations Code S]ection 165.152, thereby invoking the subject-matter jurisdiction of the trial court.” On discretionary review, Appellant contended that, construing Section 165.152 in pari materia with neighboring provisions in the Texas Occupations Code, it was evident the indictment alleged no more than a misdemeanor offense under Section 165.151 of the Texas Occupations Code, and because the indictment alleged only a misdemeanor offense, the court of appeals erred to hold that the district court acquired subject matter jurisdiction over the case. And because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, he concluded, it erred to deny his motion to quash the indictment. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed the indictment on its face alleged no more than a misdemeanor offense. The Court therefore reversed the court of appeals’ judgment, vacated the trial court’s judgment, and remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings.