In a recent murder case coming out of a Texas court, the defendant unsuccessfully argued on appeal that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to grant either a motion to recuse or referring a request to the presiding judge of a case under Rule 18(f). The defendant was convicted of the offenses of murder and aggravated assault and was sentenced to 45 years of confinement for each of the convictions. The State argued that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction to rule on the issue, arguing for a dismissal of the defendant’s claim. On appeal, the appellate court ruled that the issue did not fall within the court’s jurisdiction, and subsequently rejected the claim.
Facts of the Case
In 2011, the defendant was convicted of both murder and aggravated assault and sentenced to 45 years of confinement for each of the offenses. The clerk’s record from the trial court stage indicates that the defendant filed a verified motion to recuse in both trial court cases. At the bottom of the defendant’s motion is the trial court’s signature, with a handwritten ruling granting the motion, as well as a date of signing. In response to this appeal, the State has filed a motion to dismiss the claim on the grounds that the appellate court lacks jurisdiction. The State argues that there is no right to appeal an order granting recusal and any attempt to appeal the failure to rule on a motion to recuse should be moot because the trial court granted the motion.