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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In 2003, Deanna Laney killed two of her children and seriously injured another. Authorities charged her with capital murder and a jury trial was held in 2004. The jury found Laney not guilty by reason of insanity. Following the verdict, the trial court retained jurisdiction over Laney and held a hearing on the matter of Laney’s commitment to the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. The trial court found that Laney had committed acts that involved serious bodily injury and that she met the criteria for commitment. Accordingly, the trial court ordered that Laney be committed to a maximum security facility operated by the department. Later, and in accordance with state law, authorities transferred Laney to a less restrictive facility. As required by law, the trial court reviewed the commitment annually and recommitted Laney in July 2004, July 2005 and July 2006. After the July 2005 recommitment, the state learned that the department had granted Laney passes to leave the grounds of the facility, including passes that allowed her to go shopping with her parents on brief excursions that were not supervised by hospital staff. The state filed a motion asking the trial court to hold a hearing on the propriety of the passes. The trial court held a hearing and concluded that state law did not allow the department to grant passes to Laney. The trial court issued a written clarification order in May 2006 memorializing that ruling. Laney appealed. HOLDING:Affirmed. First, the court found it had jurisdiction to consider the appeal. Even though the 2005 commitment order that led to the clarification order had expired, the court found that the appeal was not moot, because the department pledged to follow the trial court’s opinion. Thus, “a live controversy exists,” the court stated. The court further held that the trial court had jurisdiction to construe the applicable statutes and decide the question. In her first issue, Laney argued that the trial court lacked the authority to restrict her from receiving passes or furloughs. Laney also argued that if the trial court had the authority to decide the issue, it did so in error based on an erroneous interpretation of statute. The court found that the trial court did not seek to review or overturn a discretionary decision of the department to release Laney on a pass or furlough. Rather, it determined that the pass or furlough statute did not apply to Laney. Therefore, the court found that the trial court’s decision was not assailable on the ground that it interfered with a discretionary function of the department. The court then found that commitments ordered under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 46.03 did not incorporate the pass-and-furlough statute found in Texas Mental Health Code �574.082. Finally, the court concluded that Laney did not possess a substantive due process right to a pass or furlough, because there was a reasonable relationship between the purpose of her commitment � to safeguard her and the public and to provide treatment for her mental illness � and the legislative decision not to allow passes to persons committed to inpatient treatment under Art. 46.03. OPINION:Worthen, C.J.; Worthen, C.J., and Griffith and Hoyle, J.J.

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