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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:J. Kelly Joy sued Virgil Mott and a co-defendant on a $250,000 promissory note. A Fort Bend trial court entered a judgment against Mott for $260,000. At the time of Joy’s suit, SouthTrust Bank also had a collection suit pending against Mott in Harris County. SouthTrust was granted a $768,000 judgment. During the period covering the trial, Mott and his wife pledged their 200,000 shares in Mott Petroleum to a law firm, Fuqua & Keim, for present and future legal work. On May 6, 2003, the trial court granted Joy’s application for an order compelling Mott to turn over the stock to the Fort Bend County Constable. Mott said he could not do that because he did not possess or control the stock; Fuqua had it. Nonetheless, the trial court ordered Mott to turn over the stock, but Mott did not comply. SouthTrust filed its own application for turnover of the stock on Sept. 25. Joy filed a motion a motion to hold Mott in contempt for failing to comply with the trial court’s turnover order. On Sept. 29, the trial court held an unrecorded hearing, and on Oct. 8, held Mott in contempt of the May 6 order. The trial court ordered Mott confined until he turned over the stock. In an another unrecorded hearing, the trial court denied Mott’s emergency motion to reconsider. On Oct. 27, the trial court issued an order that the same stock be turned over to satisfy the SouthTrust judgment. Joy and SouthTrust eventually agreed to cooperate in their collection efforts against Mott and to share in the proceeds. Joy and SouthTrust received notice on Nov. 26 that Fuqua planned to hold a private sale of the stock on Dec. 1. On Dec. 3, Mott filed another emergency motion to reconsider, asserting that because of the sale, he did not have possession, ownership or control of the stock. The motion was denied. Mott was taken into custody on Feb. 13, 2004, and immediately filed for a writ of habeas corpus with this court. This court ordered Mott released on bond pending its decision. HOLDING:Writ denied. The court finds that the place for testimony as to the impossibility of Mott’s complying with a trial court’s order of contempt is in the trial court. But, in the absence of a reporter’s record, the court considering a habeas application with presume that there was evidence to support the trial court’s judgment of contempt. Here, there was no record of the Sept. 29 hearing, nor the May 6 or Dec. 3 hearings. The court thus holds that Mott failed to establish conclusively that he was involuntarily unable to perform the condition of release imposed on him by the trial court’s contempt order. The court then looks at whether the trial court exceeded its authority in its Oct. 8 contempt order by not specifying the length of time Mott would be confined. The court finds the trial court’s contempt order is governed by Government Code �21.002(h)(2), which says that a person may not be confined for contempt of court longer than “the lesser of 18 months or the period from the date of confinement to the date the person complies with the court order that was the basis of the finding of the contempt, if the confinement is for civil contempt.” Again presuming that there was evidence that Mott was able to turn over the stock, the court finds that the trial court did not exceed its authority. The court also points out that in a civil contempt setting, Mott does not have a right to a jury trial, as he contends. Mott complains, too, that the trial court waited too long between the contempt hearing and the contempt judgment. The court rejects this argument, too, because Mott knew all along why he was being held in contempt and what he could do to purge himself of the contempt. Finally, the court rules that the contempt order is not unreasonably vague, and the turnover order for Joy is not incompatible with the trial court’s subsequent order for Mott to turn stock over the SouthTrust. The court points out that Joy and SouthTrust have entered into a cooperative agreement, and SouthTrust has not brought its own motion of contempt against Mott. Accordingly, there is not conflict between the two turnover orders. OPINION:Keyes, J.; Nuchia, Jennings and Keyes, JJ.

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