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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In January 1994, a grand jury returned two indictments against Larry Don Dotson. Both indictments alleged involuntary manslaughter, but each named a different victim: Tracy Carlton and Natalie Gale. On June 9, 1994, Dotson pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to two seemingly separate charges of involuntary manslaughter in cause numbers F-94-0112-E and F-94-0113-E. The trial court sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment in each case but suspended the two sentences and placed Dotson on community supervision for 10 years for each conviction. On March 13, 2003, the state sought to revoke Dotson’s community supervision. In the course of preparing the motions to revoke, the state discovered that the indictments on file in the district clerk’s office in Cause Nos. 112 and 113 were identical. Though assigned different cause numbers, the indictments in the clerk’s file were the same in every regard, including the named victim, Tracy Carlton. Subsequent to this discovery, the state filed a motion to substitute indictment under Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 21.25. According to the CCA, Dotson filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus “on grounds that double jeopardy was violated when Dotson pleaded guilty to the exact same offense more than once.” The trial court conducted a hearing on the three motions. At the hearing, the state hypothesized that a clerical error occurred in the clerk’s office resulted in the two identical indictments ending up in the clerk’s file. In support of this hypothesis, the state called Kevin Henry, chief of the intake section for the Denton County District Attorney, to testify about the general procedure for procuring an indictment in that county. Henry opined that in Dotson’s case it was possible the clerk’s office mistakenly filed the same indictment twice, because the appearance of each indictment was identical except for the named victim. The state also presented evidence that the state, the Dotson’s trial counsel and the Denton County Probation Department all received copies of the indictment that bore file markings by the clerk’s office and showed Natalie Gale as the victim in Cause No. 113 and Tracy Carlton as the victim in Cause No. 112. After hearing all of the evidence, the trial court concluded that a clerical error was at the root of the problem and that Art. 21.25 was available to remedy this type of situation. The trial court granted the state’s motion to substitute indictment in Cause No. 113, denied Dotson’s application for a writ of habeas corpus, and ultimately granted the state’s motion to revoke the Dotson’s community supervision. Dotson appealed. The 2nd Court of Appeals held that Art. 21.25 was not applicable to this case, because the record did not reflect that the indictment was lost, mislaid, mutilated or obliterated. The court of appeals then observed: “The record reflects that the grand jury returned an indictment naming Natalie Gale as the injured party, but [the] [a]ppellant did not plead to that indictment and that indictment was not in the file in cause number [113] until after the trial court granted the State’s motion to substitute, almost nine years after the plea.” The 2nd Court declared that double jeopardy was clearly violated when Dotson pleaded guilty to two identical indictments. To remedy this, the 2nd Court declared the Dotson’s conviction in Cause No. 113 to be void and reversed the trial court’s judgment. Subsequently, the state sought discretionary review. HOLDING:The CCA reversed the judgment of the 2nd Court and reinstated the trial court’s judgment. Article 21.25, the CCA stated, reads: “When an indictment or information has been lost, mislaid, mutilated or obliterated, the district or county attorney may suggest the fact to the court; and the same shall be entered upon the minutes of the court. In such case, another indictment or information may be substituted, upon the written statement of such attorney that it is substantially the same as that which has been lost, mislaid, mutilated or obliterated. Or another indictment may be presented, as in the first instance; and in such case, the period for the commencement of the prosecution shall be dated from the time of making such entry.” The CCA first concluded that state properly presented to the trial court the indictment charging Dotson with the involuntary manslaughter of Natalie Gale, the substituted indictment in Cause No. 113. Art. 20.21 governs the presentment of indictments. Presentment occurs when an indictment is delivered to either the judge or clerk of the court. Once an indictment is presented, jurisdiction vests with the trial court. The fact that an indictment is later lost, mislaid or destroyed, the CCA stated, does not divest the trial court of jurisdiction. The CCA then concluded that Art. 21.25 was applicable. Art. 21.25 allows for substitution when an indictment has been lost, mislaid, mutilated or obliterated. The CCA agreed with the state that the purported original indictment was lost or mislaid, because at some point after it was duly presented to the district clerk, it was inexplicably omitted from the clerk’s file due to a clerical error. Based on the evidence, the CCA found that the filed indictment was an anomaly. The grand jury returned two indictments that charged Dotson with two separate offenses of involuntary manslaughter and these distinct indictments were duly presented to the district clerk. All parties involved, the CCA stated, were aware that Dotson faced prosecution for two separate charges. OPINION:Price, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous court.

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