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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney – Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 1.052

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney – Texas Code of Criminal Procedure – Brian Foley Board Certified in Criminal Law.

Continuing our review of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure today we cover article 1.052 which discusses the signing of pleadings. A pleading is a document that is filed with the court. When you file something with the court you actually file it at the district or county clerk’s office depending on how the county you are working in is structured. An example of a pleading would be the indictment or information but it would also be a motion to suppress or a certification of the defendant’s right to appeal.

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure requires that pleadings be signed. The signature of your attorney is certifying that the attorney has read the document, motion, or other paper and that to the best of that person’s knowledge, information, and belief formed after looking into the matter and that it is not groundless or brought in bad faith, harassment, unnecessary delay, or other improper purpose.





If a pleading is not signed the court is instructed to strike it unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the attorney.

These same rules apply to a defendant who is pro se. Pro se means that the defendant is representing himself as an attorney.

An attorney or defendant who files a document which includes a statement the attorney knows to be groundless and false to obtain a delay of the trial or for the purpose of harassment shall be guilty of contempt. "Groundless" means without basis in law or fact and not warranted by a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.

This means that your attorney can argue that the law should be applied differently or be changed outright during the course of your trial even if no other lawyer has ever argued in that manner before. If there is a good faith argument to be made for a change in the law then you can request it in a pleading. This is how many of the supreme court cases that you have heard about have become law. The most famous example is probably Miranda v. Arizona where a new constitutional requirement to have your rights read to you before a custodial statement becomes admissible was created. It was first argued at a trial court level and then approved through the appellate courts and eventually the Supreme Court of the United States. Without the ability to argue for a change in the law at the trial court level we wouldn’t have half of the dialogue found in Television police dramas.



Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 1.052. SIGNED PLEADINGS OF DEFENDANT. (a) A pleading, motion, and other paper filed for or on behalf of a defendant represented by an attorney must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's name and state the attorney's address. A defendant who is not represented by an attorney must sign any pleading, motion, or other paper filed for or on the defendant's behalf and state the defendant's address. (b) The signature of an attorney or a defendant constitutes a certificate by the attorney or defendant that the person has read the pleading, motion, or other paper and that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry that the instrument is not groundless and brought in bad faith or groundless and brought for harassment, unnecessary delay, or other improper purpose. (c) If a pleading, motion, or other paper is not signed, the court shall strike it unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the attorney or defendant. (d) An attorney or defendant who files a fictitious pleading in a cause for an improper purpose described by Subsection (b) or who makes a statement in a pleading that the attorney or defendant knows to be groundless and false to obtain a delay of the trial of the cause or for the purpose of harassment shall be held guilty of contempt. (e) If a pleading, motion, or other paper is signed in violation of this article, the court, on motion or on its own initiative, after notice and hearing, shall impose an appropriate sanction, which may include an order to pay to the other party or parties to the prosecution or to the general fund of the county in which the pleading, motion, or other paper was filed the amount of reasonable expenses incurred because of the filing of the pleading, motion, or other paper, including reasonable attorney's fees. (f) A court shall presume that a pleading, motion, or other paper is filed in good faith. Sanctions under this article may not be imposed except for good cause stated in the sanction order. (g) A plea of "not guilty" or "no contest" or "nolo contendere" does not constitute a violation of this article. An allegation that an event took place or occurred on or about a particular date does not constitute a violation of this article. (h) In this article, "groundless" means without basis in law or fact and not warranted by a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 189, Sec. 11, eff. May 21, 1997.


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