In the Matter of AMM (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 11, 2008)(Nuchia)
(
juvenile deliquency, drag racing death, habeas corpus)

Because appellant was charged with delinquent conduct that violates a penal
law of this state, which is punishable by imprisonment or confinement in jail, the
juvenile court has jurisdiction over his case. We hold that the trial court properly
denied habeas corpus relief. We overrule appellant's sole issue.

AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Nuchia
Before Justices Nuchia, Hanks and Higley
01-07-01099-CV In the Matter of A.M.M.
Appeal from 314th District Court of Harris County


MEMORANDUM OPINION

Appellant, A. M. M., appeals the court's denial habeas corpus relief. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
56.01 (Vernon 2002). This Court abated this appeal on April 25, 2008, to allow for the filing of a
supplemental clerk's record. We reinstate the appeal and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Background

Appellant was charged with delinquent conduct, specifically drag racing and causing the death of
another person. Appellant applied for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction because the alleged offense was a traffic offense and not properly before the juvenile
court. After a hearing, the trial court denied habeas corpus relief and filed findings of fact and
conclusions of law one week later.

Discussion

A trial court's ruling in a habeas corpus proceeding should not be overturned absent a clear abuse
of discretion. Milner v. State, 263 S.W.3d 353, 356 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2008, no pet.).
This case involves a pure question of law, which we will review de novo. Ex parte Peterson, 117
S.W.3d 804, 819 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003), overruled in part on other grounds by Ex parte Lewis, 219
S.W.3d 335, 371 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007). In his sole issue, appellant asks whether the offense of
"racing on the highway" is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court or within the jurisdiction of the
justice or municipal court. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 545.420(a)(3) (Vernon Supp. 2008).

A juvenile court has jurisdiction over all cases involving the delinquent conduct of a child. Tex. Fam.
Code Ann. § 51.04(a) (Vernon 2002); see id. § 51.02(2) (Vernon Supp 2008) (defining "child").
"Delinquent conduct is conduct, other than a traffic offense, that violates a penal law of this state or
of the United States punishable by imprisonment or confinement in jail . . . ." Id. § 51.03 (a) (Vernon
Supp. 2008). A traffic offense is "a violation of a Penal statute cognizable under Chapter 729,
Transportation Code, except for conduct for which the person convicted may be sentenced to
imprisonment or confinement in jail." Id. § 51.02 (16) (Vernon Supp. 2008) (emphasis added).
Chapter 729 refers to other provisions of the Transportation Code, including section 545.420, which
is part of Subtitle C. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 729.001(a) (Vernon Supp. 2008).

The State alleged appellant engaged in delinquent conduct. Specifically, appellant was charged with
the offense of drag racing and causing a person's death. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 545.420(a)(3)
(Vernon Supp. 2008). This is a second-degree felony. Id. § 545.420(h) (Vernon Supp. 2008). A
person convicted of a second-degree felony shall be sentenced to two to twenty years
imprisonment. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.33(a) (Vernon 2003).

Because appellant was charged with delinquent conduct that violates a penal law of this state, which
is punishable by imprisonment or confinement in jail, the juvenile court has jurisdiction over his case.
We hold that the trial court properly denied habeas corpus relief. We overrule appellant's sole issue.

Conclusion

We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sam Nuchia

Justice

Panel consists of Justices Nuchia, Hanks, and Higley.