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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The Texas Local Government Code provides that a party seeking judicial review in a district court of a county civil service commission decision “shall offer, and the reviewing court shall admit, the commission record into evidence as an exhibit.” �158.0122(c). The issue in this case is whether this provision precludes an appellate court from considering a commission’s record that was relied on as evidence by the parties and the district court but was not formally admitted into evidence at the district court’s review of a commission’s decision. Gerald Sanchez, a deputy sheriff with the Bexar County Sherrif’s Department, was terminated from his position. After a hearing, the commission upheld, by a preponderance of the evidence, the decision of the department to terminate Sanchez’s employment. Sanchez filed an appeal to the district court on the grounds that the commission’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence and that the procedures adopted by the commission deprived him of due process. During the district court’s review proceeding, Sanchez did not formally offer into evidence the record of the commission’s hearing. However, the department had filed a certified copy of the record as an exhibit to its motion for summary judgment. In addition, the parties and the district court relied on the administrative record throughout the review proceeding. The district court reversed the commission’s decision and ordered the department to reinstate Sanchez. The court of appeals reversed on the ground that Sanchez failed formally to introduce the record of the commission’s hearing into evidence at the district court’s review proceeding. HOLDING:The court reverses the court of appeals’ judgment and remands this cause to that court with instructions that it file the commission’s record and consider the merits of the department’s appeal. This court has held that an administrative record that is not objected to and that the district court and the parties relied on as evidence is, for all practical purposes, admitted. Tex. Health Enters. Inc. v. Tex. Dep’t of Human Serv., 949 S.W.2d 313 (Tex. 1997) (per curiam). In Texas Health Enterprises, the Texas Department of Health was sued in district court for judicial review of TDH’s decision to terminate Texas Health Enterprise’s Medicaid certification. TDH filed the record of the administrative proceedings with the district court but failed to formally offer it into evidence at the review proceeding. However, the parties relied on the record in their arguments, and the trial court based its decision on the record as required under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). This court remanded the case with instructions to the court of appeals to file the record and consider the merits of the appeal because the administrative record was not objected to and the trial court and parties relied upon it. Although Texas Health Enterprises involved the APA, the relevant language of the applicable provisions of the APA and the Local Government Code are identical. Both require that a party seeking judicial review of an agency’s or a county civil service commission’s decision “shall offer, and the reviewing court shall admit, the . . . record into evidence as an exhibit.” Thus, the holding in Texas Health Enterprises controls this case. In Arreaga v. Bexar County Sheriff’s Department, 90 S.W.3d 899 (Tex. App. San Antonio 2002, no pet.), unlike the instant case, there was no allegation that the commission’s record had been constructively admitted into evidence by the trial court. Therefore, the court of appeals’ reliance on Arreaga is misplaced. OPINION:Per curiam.

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