Abdullah v. State

In Abdullah v. State, 211 S.W.3d 938 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 2007, no pet.), Abdullah sought to recover funds taken from his inmate trust account pursuant to a trial court's order to charge the account for costs incurred in the course of Abdullah's conviction. Id. at 940. Neither garnishment procedures nor any other procedures had been followed; there were "no pleadings, no proper writ of garnishment, no notifications, no warnings, and no opportunity to respond"; and the judgment did not state the amount of costs incurred. Id. at 941. In Abdullah, the State relied on Government Code section 501.014(e) to justify its withdrawal of funds from Abdullah's inmate trust account. See id. at 942; see also TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 501.014(e) (Vernon 2004). The Court defined "garnishment" as "a judicial proceeding in which a creditor asks a court to order a third party (the criminal justice system) to turn over funds held by it as trustee for the benefit of a third party (the inmate) to a creditor (the State)," as acknowledged by section 63.007 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Abdullah, 211 S.W.3d at 942; see TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. 63.007 (Vernon 2008). Section 63.007 "allows a writ of garnishment to be issued against an inmate trust fund account" pursuant to section 501.014. Abdullah, 211 S.W.3d at 942; see TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. 63.007(a). The Court held that a judgment-creditor who "intends to avail himself of the State's aid in effecting a deprivation of property...must strictly comply with the pertinent rules." Abdullah, 211 S.W.3d at 943. Because the proper procedures had not been followed and the removal of funds from Abdullah's trust account involved a property interest, Abdullah was deprived of procedural due process. Id.