Bonner v. State

In Bonner v. State, 832 S.W.2d 134 (Tex. App.--Amarillo 1992, pet. ref'd), although the State filed, in the district court and within the limitations period, a complaint charging the defendant with the felony offense of delivery of a controlled substance, an indictment was not returned until after the limitations period had expired. Id. at 135. The defendant argued that the filing of the complaint, standing alone, was insufficient to toll the running of the statute of limitations. Id. The Amarillo Court in Bonner noted that in Ex parte Ward, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that a complaint filed in a justice court did not toll the statute of limitations for a felony offense because the justice court, although it had authority to take a complaint and issue an arrest warrant, "did not have jurisdiction of the felony offense charged . . . so as to come within the ambit of article 12.05." Id. (quoting Ward, 560 S.W.2d 660, 662 (Tex. Crim. App. 1978)). The Amarillo Court reasoned, without explanation, that "implicit in" the holding in Ward was a "conclusion that if the complaint had been filed in a court of competent jurisdiction, i.e., the district court, the holding would have been different." Id. And it held that the filing of the complaint in the district court, which was the "court of competent jurisdiction" to try the felony offense at issue, "was sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of that court and to toll the limitation period." Id. at 137. It further concluded, again without explanation, that State v. Edwards, 808 S.W.2d 662, 663 (Tex. App.--Tyler 1991, no pet.) was distinguishable in that it "dealt with the different requisites in a misdemeanor case," which were not applicable to the felony case before it. Id.