City of Pasadena v. Smith

In City of Pasadena v. Smith, 292 S.W.3d 14 (Tex. 2009), a hearing examiner summarily reversed a suspension and reinstated a police officer when the police chief was not present to testify at the hearing. Id. at 15-16. The hearing examiner's decision was based on the absence of the police chief, a witness the City had not planned to offer. Id. at 20. And, in reaching his decision, the hearing examiner relied on a statutory provision that was wholly inapplicable to that case. Id. (stating the hearing examiner "had no authority to impose on the City a requirement that the Act makes quite clear does not apply."). The Texas Supreme Court held that the hearing examiner exceeded his jurisdiction, reasoning that Chapter 143 does not authorize the rendition of a default judgment as an automatic penalty for noncompliance. Id. at 20.