Texas County Venue In a Theft Case

Theft is the unlawful appropriation of property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. Tex. Penal Code Ann. 31.03(a) (West Supp. 2000). Appropriation is unlawful if it is without the owner's effective consent. Id. 31.03(b)(1). Consent is not effective if it is induced by deception. Id. 31.01(3)(A). In Weaver v. State, 722 S.W.2d 143 (Tex. App. - Houston [1st Dist.] 1986) the defendant was charged in Harris County with theft of money under Article 13.08. The complainant had signed an agreement, in Harris County, to pay the defendant $ 5000 as a security deposit for equipment to be provided by a company the defendant was representing. The complainant gave the defendant a $ 5000 check in Galveston County. The check was then deposited into a company account in Harris County, but was not cashed due to insufficient funds in the complainant's account. A company representative collected on the check by personally presenting it to the complainant's bank in Galveston County. The complainant never received any equipment from the defendant's company, as was promised. The Court of Appeals held that the State had failed to prove theft of the money in Harris County. The lower court made clear that theft of the check could be shown to have occurred in Harris County, but that the money was never "appropriated in" or "taken to or through" Harris County and therefore venue was not proper under Article 13.08. In Weaver, "venue was found not to lie in the county where only the inducement occurred." Stewart 8 S.W.3d at 835. But the Court of Appeals in Weaver never discussed inducement as a factor in determining when the theft occurred. Weaver focused on when the actual money, as opposed to the check, was taken from the complainant's account and placed in the defendant's hands. The controlling fact in Weaver was that the complainant did not part with anything of consequence in Harris County.