2014 Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. 1 (2014)

handle is hein.sag/sagtx0216 and id is 1 raw text is: ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
GREG ABBOTT
January 2, 2014

The Honorable Susan Combs
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Post Office Box 13528
Austin, Texas 78711-3528

Opinion No. GA-1034
Re: Whether Government Code section 51.608,
which requires that court costs imposed on a
defendant in a criminal proceeding be the amount
required on the date the defendant is convicted,
violates federal and state constitutional prohibitions
ofex post facto laws (RQ-1135-GA)

Dear Comptroller Combs:
You ask whether Government Code section 51.608 violates federal and state
constitutional prohibitions on ex post facto laws.' The statute provides:
Notwithstanding any other law that establishes the amount of a court cost
collected by the clerk of a district, county, or statutory county court from a
defendant in a criminal proceeding based on the law in effect on the date the
offense was committed, the amount of a court cost imposed on the defendant in a
criminal proceeding must be the amount established under the law in effect on the
date the defendant is convicted of the offense.
TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN.  51.608 (West Supp. 2013). Under section 51.608, a criminal
defendant could be required to pay more in court costs than the amount that was required on the
date the offense was committed. You are concerned that such a scenario may run afoul of the
constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws. Request Letter at 1. As we explain below, it
does not.
The United States and the Texas Constitutions both prohibit ex post facto laws. U.S.
CONST. art. I,  10, el. 1; TEX. CONST. art. I,  16. Texas courts have decided that the ex post
facto provisions in both constitutions have the same meaning and have therefore adopted the
U.S. Supreme Court's standards for analyzing Texas's constitutional ex post facto provision.
1See Letter from Honorable Susan Combs, Tex. Comptroller of Pub. Accounts, to Honorable Greg Abbott,
Tex. Att'y Gen. (July 9, 2013), http://texasattorneygeneral.gov/opin (Request Letter).

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