TEXAS ANIMAL CRUELTY LAW and THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE JURISDICTION
TEXAS ANIMAL CRUELTY LAW and THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE JURISDICTION
According to black letter law found in the TEXAS CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE 5,SECTION 19 and TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 277.03, a layman, non lawyer Justice of the Peace is legally bound to act within the very limited confines of their position.
A Justice of The Peace has NO legal authority to preside over ANY criminal matters above a “Class C” misdemeanor. The penalty or punishment for a “Class C” misdemeanor found in TEXAS PENAL CODE TITLE 3 PUNISHMENTS SEC 12.23 is ONLY a fine not to exceed $500. Punishment for a “Class C” misdemeanor does NOT include any “jail time” and does NOT interfere with a citizen’s constitutionally protected rights of Life, Liberty, or Property.
Jurisdiction of Justice of the Peace Courts, Generally:
According to the TEXAS CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE 5, SECTION 19: “Justice of the peace courts shall have original jurisdiction in criminal matters of misdemeanor cases punishable by fine only, exclusive jurisdiction in civil matters where the amount in controversy is two hundred dollars or less, and such other jurisdiction as may be provided by law. Justices of the peace shall be ex officio notaries public.”
Since the Texas Constitution overrides any Texas State Statutes, Codes, or Rules, a Justice of the Peace must follow Article 5, Section 19, before and above “…such other jurisdiction as may be provided by law.”
Thus, a Justice of the Peace is limited to preside over “Class C” misdemeanor’s ONLY, and can NOT preside over matters of Class A (animal cruelty) or Class B Misdemeanors or Felony allegations.
TEXAS PENAL CODE, TITLE 3, PUNISHMENTS: SEC. 12.03. CLASSIFICATION OF MISDEMEANORS, defines a “Class C” misdemeanor as: (3)(b) An offense designated a misdemeanor in this code without specification as to punishment or category is a Class C misdemeanor. (c) Conviction of a Class C misdemeanor does not impose any legal disability or disadvantage. [does not interfere with Life, Liberty, or Property rights.]
TEXAS PENAL CODE, TITLE 3, PUNISHMENTS, SEC. 12.23. CLASS C MISDEMEANOR, defines the penalty for a “Class C” misdemeanor: A. An individual adjudged guilty of a Class C misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500. B. According to TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 27.031. JURISDICTION.
(a) In addition to the jurisdiction and powers provided by the constitution and other law,the justice court has original jurisdiction of:
1. civil matters in which exclusive jurisdiction is not in the district or county court and in which the amount in controversy is not more than $10,000. exclusive of interest;
2. cases of forcible entry and detainer; and 3. foreclosure of mortgages and enforcement of liens on personal property in cases in which the amount in controversy is otherwise within the justice court’s jurisdiction.
(b) A justice court DOES NOT have jurisdiction of a suit in behalf of the state to recover a penalty, forfeiture, or escheat;
Thus, according to black letter law, a Justice of the Peace has very limited authority; has no legal authority or subject matter jurisdiction to preside over any criminal matter above a “Class C” misdemeanor; has no legal authority to sign and issue any final judgment or any final “Order” in any criminal matter beyond a “Class C” misdemeanor; has no legal authority to interfere with in a citizen’s constitutionally protected rights to life, liberty, property; and has no legal authority in behalf of the State of Texas in a forfeiture proceeding, therefore has NO legal authority to issue and sign ANY “Order” styled:
STATE OF TEXAS v. (Name of Defendant)
In matters alleging Animal Cruelty, any Order so styled, awarding or giving possession of an animal or entire group of animals to an animal rescue organization, and signed by a Justice of The Peace, is in complete violation of the foundational legal limitations of the position of Justice of The Peace. Such an “Order” is a “Void” Order, and by law is NOT valid.
Texas Animal Cruelty Statutes and Jurisdiction of The Justice of The Peace: Texas Animal Cruelty Law is codified in TEXAS HEALTH & SAFETY CODE SECTION 821.021 et. seq. and the penalty for Animal Cruelty is found in TEXAS PENAL CODE SECTION 42.09. The language of both of these Code sections is very specific in relation to “an” animal [singular] or “the” animal [singular].
Nowhere in either of these Code sections is there ANY provision made for an entire group of animals [plural] to be considered en masse.
These Code sections are very specific to “an” animal [singular] and “the” animal [singular] making it quite obvious that the legislature had no intention of “taking” entire collections of animals from their long standing owners, in “open” sweeping Orders, or impounding entire collections of animals using an “open” Warrant with NO “particular individual animal defined “as near as may be”. In limiting the language of both 821.021 et. seq., and 42.09 to “an” animal [singular] and “the” animal [singular], it is very clear that the legislature was clearly being very careful to assure that a citizen’s rights would not be violated by careless construction of any Warrant to seize “an animal”.
The 4TH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION declares that all Warrants will “particularly” describe the item to be seized, and ARTICLE 1, SECTION 9 OF THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION declares that all Warrants will describe the item to be seized “as near as may be.”
This purposely excludes the “taking ” of animals with “open” Warrants which generically describe groups of animals to be taken as: “all animals alive, dead, and unborn”, or even descriptions such as animal “age unknown”. None of these descriptions particularly describe “an” animal “as near as may be”, giving an accurate description of the color of the animal, the approximate age of the animal, the sex of the animal, any markings, scars, brands, or any other specific description which adequately describes “a particular animal, as near as may be” which a law enforcement officer “believes to be cruelly treated”, in compliance with the directive legislatively defined in 821.022(a)(b)(c).
Thus, “open”, generically defined Warrants issued by a Justice of The Peace, are in violation of the 4TH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE 1, SECTION 9 OF THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION, and TEXAS HEALTH & SAFETY CODE 821.022.
The TEXAS PENAL CODE 42.09 –ANIMAL CRUELTY defines the criminal penalties for offenses involving animal cruelty as: (d) An offense under Subsection (a)(2), (3), (4), (9), or (10) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section. (i) An offense under Subsection (a)(1), (5), (6), (7), or (8) is a State Jail Felony , except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section. Clearly, according to these definitions of the penalties for offenses involving Texas Animal Cruelty Law, the Justice of The Peace has absolutely NO legal jurisdiction to preside over ANY matter alleging animal cruelty against a Defendant, because the alleged offenses are classified as either “Class A Misdemeanors” or “State Jail Felonies”. Class A Misdemeanor’s and State Jail Felonies include “jail time” as part of their punishment which denies a citizen of the constitutionally protected right to Liberty, and these punishments are under the jurisdiction of the District Courts.
Thus, the Justice of The Peace has NO legal jurisdiction to find ANYONE guilty in ANY matter alleging an offense of animal cruelty, or to render any “Opinion” in ANY matter alleging an offense of animal cruelty against a Defendant. TEXAS HEATH & SAFETY CODE, SECTION 821.021 et seq. defines Animal Cruelty in “civil” terms. The language the legislature has very carefully used to codify the statutory scheme very specifically uses “an” animal[singular] and “the” animal [singular] throughout the entire 821 section of the Code. This very specific and careful construction and use of “singular” terms must be adhered to as a matter of law.
Nowhere in 821.021 et. seq. is there ANY reference or provision to consider an entire collection of animals in one sweeping decision of any kind, especially by a layman, non-lawyer Justice of The Peace Court.
The language of 821.021 et. seq. provides directions for seizure and impoundment of animals believed to be cruelly treated, the procedure for bringing a defendant to answer allegations of animal cruelty, directions for disposition of cruelly treated animals by a court of competent jurisdiction, and other directions regarding animals. Directions for disposition of cruelly treated animals involves the “taking” of animals–personal property–from their owners. This “taking” of animals -personal property–from their owners involves an owner’s Constitutional rights to “property” guaranteed and protected by the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution, therefore any taking of animals from an owner must be determined in a District Court with a judge who is professionally trained and experienced in matters of constitutional law.
TEXAS HEALTH & SAFETY CODE, 821.022(b) describes the function of the Justice of The Peace in matters alleging Animal Cruelty: (b) On a showing probable cause to believe that the animal has been or is being cruelly treated, the court or magistrate shall issue the warrant and set a time within 10 calendar days of the date of issuance for a hearing in the appropriate justice court or municipal court to determine whether the animal has been cruelly treated.
The ONLY legal authority that a Justice of The Peace has been given in the statutory scheme codified in the TEXAS HEALTH & SAFETY CODE, 821 et. seq. is to (1) issue a warrant for the seizure and impoundment of “an” animal [singular] and (2) to conduct a preliminary hearing to determine the “condition” of “the” animal [singular] which has been seized.
Nowhere in 821.021 et. seq. is there a provision for an “open” warrant to be issued to seize an entire collection of animals. The Warrant to be issued described in 821.022(b) is a Warrant to seize a “singular” animal. A Warrant issued for more than a “singular” animal is in violation of 821.022(b) violating legislatively defined limitations of 821.021 et. seq.
In the entire Animal Cruelty statute codified in TEXAS HEALTH & SAFETY CODE, SECTION 821.021 et. seq., a Justice of the Peace is given only very limited jurisdiction and authority, which is subordinate to the primary foundational jurisdiction and authority found in Article 5, Section 19 of the Texas Constitution.
The jurisdiction and authority of a Justice of the Peace in matters alleging Animal Cruelty is defined in 821.022(b), which is to “set a time within 10 calendar days of the date of issuance [of a warrant to seize an animal] for a “hearing” in the appropriate justice court “…to determine whether the animal [singular] has been cruelly treated.” This directive does NOT state: “…to determine whether the OWNER of “the animal” HAS cruelly treated “the animal.” Thus, this directive for a “hearing” focuses ONLY on the “condition” of “an animal” [singular].
According to TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 27.031, this prescribed “hearing” can ONLY be a preliminary hearing, and can NOT be turned into a full fledged criminal proceeding by which a collection of multiple animals is simply Ordered given to animal rescue organizations, by a Justice of The Peace.
And, according to TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE 27.031(b)(1) this preliminary “hearing ” directed in TEXAS HEALTH & SAFETY CODE SECTION 821.022(b) to “…determine whether the animal [singular] has been cruelly treated,” can not be arbitrarily turned into a legal civil proceeding by a layman, non-lawyer Justice of the Peace to legally give a collection of multiple animals to animal rescue groups. Any“Order” giving possession of a herd or collection of animals signed and issued by a Justice of the Peace is a complete violation of the limits of the foundational legal authority of the Justice of The Peace position, making such “Order” null and Void.
A recent Opinion handed down by the Texas Supreme Court expresses the Court’s view of the authority of layman, non-lawyers. A Justice of the Peace, and especially a layman, non-lawyer Justice of the Peace, does NOT have the education or training to make any final decisions in matters of Constitutional rights and Constitutional Law.
Since matters alleging Animal Cruelty offenses affect a citizen’s civil rights of Liberty and Property protected and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution, a mere layman, non-lawyer Justice of the Peace has no educational training or experience.
Example 1) On January 27, 2012 the Supreme Court of Texas handed down an Opinion in the City of Dallas v. Heather Stewart, 361S.W.3rd 562(2012) in which they state, “…We do not believe, however, that this matter of constitutional right may finally rest with a panel of citizens untrained in constitutional law (top of pg.10). This recent and now well known “Heather Stewart” case involved a panel of laymen, non-lawyers “taking” real property from Heather Stewart. The Texas Supreme Court shows that final decisions in matters of Constitutional Law and citizens rights protected by the Constitution can not finally rest in decisions made by laymen, non-lawyers who have no training or experience in matters involving decisions in constitutional law.
A layman, non lawyer justice of the peace lacks the authority and experience to make any final decisions regarding the “taking” of animals from an owner, or Opinions awarding or giving animals to animal rescue organizations.
During the preliminary “hearing” authorized by 821.022(b), if it is determined that “the” animal [singular] -which was seized by a properly written “Warrant” -has been cruelly treated, then the Justice of the Peace has been given the “administrative” authority to cause “the” animal to remain in impound under the care and custody of the County, and to forward the case and Defendant to District Court.
If it is determined that “the” animal has not been cruelly treated, the Justice of The Peace has the authority to release the animal from impound and the Defendant from further legal proceedings. According to the legal limitations imposed by the Texas Constitution, Article 5, Section 19, and the Texas Government Code, Section 27.031, a Justice of The Peace has absolutely NO legal authority to make any other determinations concerning allegations of animal cruelty.
As previously discussed, a layman, non-lawyer Justice of the Peace has NO lawful jurisdiction or authority to issue ANY “Order” giving a collection of an entire group of animals–to animal rescue organizations, in ANY matter alleging animal cruelty. Upon determining “an” animal has been cruelly treated during a “preliminary hearing”, the Justice of the Peace, especially a layman, non-lawyer has the legal duty and responsibility to transfer the case involving Animal Cruelty allegations against a Defendant to the District Court.
Example 2)The Justice of the Peace has the legal duty and responsibility to transfer any case alleging Animal Cruelty violations against a Defendant to the District Court. In the case of the State of Texas v. Linda Jones, Wood County Judge Bryan Jeanes demonstrated his responsibility as a layman non-lawyer to transfer the case to District Court in his Motion to Transfer Case and accompanying Order to Transfer Case. Judge Bryan Jeanes correctly demonstrated his legal inability to preside over a case alleging animal cruelty. The case of multiple counts of animal cruelty was dismissed against Linda Jones on November 9, 2012. Wood County Justice of The Peace for Precinct 3, Clancey Holmes seriously violated the limits of his position in an Order giving an entire herd of horses to True Blue Animal Rescue and Blue Bonnet Equine Humane Society. The “Order” issued by Holmes was void before it was ever signed because of the legal limitations of Holmes position as a layman, non-lawyer Justice of the Peace.
Any “Order” signed and issued by a layman, non-lawyer Justice of The Peace awarding possession of a collection of animals be given to an animal rescue organization, is a complete violation of the foundational limits of their authority, and as such is invalid and void. Such an “Order” runs completely afoul of the protections guaranteed by the Texas Constitution and the United States Constitution constituting nothing less than reversible error.
This blatant violation of the limits of the legal authority of the position of Justice of The Peace is a very serious violation of a citizen’s constitutionally protected civil rights, constituting outright “Theft” of a citizen’s property under “color of law”, Title 18, United States Code, Section 1983. Such an “Order” also smacks of collusion with animal rescue organizations and “Conversion” which is a violation of 23 U.S.C. 1367, as well as other violations of Federal Statutes, Codes, and Rules, and serious violations of a citizen’s Constitutionally protected civil rights. ~We are seeking Life, Liberty, and the right to own our Property as guaranteed by both US and Texas Constitutions.
More information: http://www.righttoownassets.com/index.html
No, we are not lawyers and strongly suggest this be shared with an attorney if you are accused. We do not suggest that anyone facing these charges become a pro se litigant!!! YOU the TAXPAYER are paying for every bit of this wrongful prosecution-Demand accountability from your District Attorney he’s an elected official!!!
“are you aware that animal seizures and rescues are being conducted by a very sophisticated network of organized crime who have developed a very sophisticated scheme by which they are criminalizing longstanding animal owners; divesting them of ownership of entire herds of livestock and commercially valuable animals. ~all of this done at taxpayer expense?!?”
**Disclaimer connected to the blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others…Stay tuned and follow this blog…Hear me Roar -B