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Ex parte Sledge – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Ex parte Sledge, 391 S.W.3d 104 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013), the court of criminal appeals held that a writ applicant's claim that the trial court's order revoking his deferred adjudication community supervision was void for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction was not cognizable on successive habeas corpus review. Id.

The Sledge court reasoned that because the claim did not fit within any of the statutory exceptions to the prohibition against successive writs and because the applicant had not brought his jurisdictional claim in his original post-conviction application for writ of habeas corpus, the court of criminal appeals itself was statutorily barred from reviewing the claim. Id.

The Sledge court, however, discussed at length that "jurisdictional claims are cognizable in post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings." Id. at 108.

Specifically to claims regarding a convicting court's jurisdiction, the Sledge court stated:

"It is, of course, axiomatic in our case law that review of jurisdictional claims are cognizable in post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings. Moreover, we have recognized them to be cognizable without regard to ordinary notions of procedural default--essentially because it is simply not optional with the parties to agree to confer subject-matter jurisdiction on a convicting court where that jurisdiction is lacking. Therefore, unless and until such time as the Legislature might say otherwise, in exercise of its constitutional authority to regulate post-conviction writ procedure, a meritorious claim of truly jurisdictional dimension will "always" be subject to vindication in an original post-conviction application for writ of habeas corpus. We do not mean here to say otherwise." Id.