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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Feb. 28, 2002, the trial court placed David M. Donovan on five years’ deferred adjudication for aggravated sexual assault of a child, after accepting his plea of nolo contendere. The conditions of Donovan’s community supervision included, among other conditions, that he report to a supervision officer, pay various fees, remain within a specified place in Harris County, register as a sex offender and receive treatment for sex offenders. In September 2003, about 18 months after he was placed on community supervision, the state filed a motion to adjudicate his guilt, alleging that he failed to pay various fees and failed to participate in sex offender treatment. Authorities released Donovan on bond, but he failed to appear at his scheduled court setting on Dec. 17, 2003, which resulted in the trial court forfeiting his bond. The state amended its motion to adjudicate by adding a violation for failing to register a change of address with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department. With the assistance of Interpol, an international police agency, Donovan was located in Jakarta, Indonesia, in September 2004. Donovan did not report to a community supervision officer from January 2004 to August 2004, nor did he pay fees for those months. On April 4, 2005, the state filed a third Motion to Adjudicate Guilt, alleging that Donovan: 1. failed to report within seven days his intended change of address in December 2003; 2. failed to appear in court in December 2003; 3. failed to pay required fees; and 4. failed to participate in sex offender treatment. On April 27, 2005, at the hearing on the motion to adjudicate guilt, Donovan filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, in which he argued that the trial court lacked jurisdiction both at the time deferred adjudication was imposed and at the hearing to adjudicate guilt, because he was not in Harris County at the time of the commission of the aggravated sexual assault of a child. Donovan offered evidence, including written affidavits from witnesses, that purported to show that on the weekend of the sexual assault, he was in Waller County. He asserted that even if he committed the sexual assault, he must have done so in Waller County and the Harris County district court therefore lacked jurisdiction over the original proceeding. The trial court declined to hear any witnesses on the matter of whether Donovan was in Waller County on the weekend of the sexual assault, stating that a habeas corpus proceeding was the appropriate way to litigate the matter. Also on April 27, 2005, Donovan filed a motion to recuse the trial judge, alleging that on 24 occasions before the hearing on the motion to adjudicate, the trial court judge made comments indicating that she had prejudged Donovan’s guilt. The presiding judge denied this motion. On Sept. 30, 2005, the trial court adjudicated Donovan’s guilt and in open court orally assessed a punishment of confinement for 45 years. The trial court’s judgment, however, reflected a sentence of confinement for 40 years. The judgment showed that the trial court found true the violations that Donovan failed to register as a sexual offender, failed to report to his probation officer as instructed and failed to pay supervision fees. Donovan filed a motion for new trial complaining of the trial court’s refusal to hear witnesses that were pertinent to the court’s jurisdiction over the case and asserting that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the case. The trial court denied the motion for new trial. HOLDING:Affirmed as reformed. In six issues on appeal, Donovan contended that: 1. the trial court erred in overruling his motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction; 2. the trial court erred in refusing to allow him to present witnesses in his defense; 3. the trial court judge erred in refusing to recuse herself, because she had pre-judged Donovan’s guilt; 4. he was improperly required to admit guilt in a community supervision treatment program, even though he denied guilt and pleaded nolo contendere at trial; 5. the trial court erred in revoking his community supervision based on failure to comply with terms set by a probation officer, rather than a judge; and 6. the evidence is insufficient to prove that Donovan had failed to pay court fees. An appeal is available only when the Legislature has authorized that appeal, the court stated. The Legislature, the court stated, has specifically stated that no appeal may be taken from a trial court’s determination to adjudicate guilt following a deferred adjudication. The court noted that the Court of Criminal Appeals recognizes a limited exception to the Legislature’s broad prohibition of appeals where the original judgment imposing deferred adjudication was void. But, the court stated, even if Donovan was correct that the venue in Harris County was improper because the offense occurred in Waller County, such an error would not render the judgment void under current CCA case law. Thus, the court concluded that all of Donovan’s issues related to the trial court’s decision to adjudicate guilt, over which the court lacked jurisdiction. The court stated, however, that it did have jurisdiction to reform the trial court’s judgment to conform to the trial court’s oral pronouncement of sentence. The court therefore reformed the written judgment to conform with that oral pronouncement, striking the sentence of confinement for 40 years and replacing it with a sentence of confinement for 45 years. OPINION:Alcala, J.; Taft, Jennings and Alcala, J.J.

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