Recent Texas Attorney General Opinions of Interest to Cities

Note:  Included opinions are from June 11, 2023, through July 10, 2023.

JS-001 (Bail Bonds): Code of Criminal Procedure article 103.0031 generally permits a county or a municipality to enter into a third-party collection contract to recover money owed on certain items in criminal cases, including forfeited bonds. The reference to a nonexistent “section” in Code of Criminal Procedure article 103.0031(h), providing that “[t]his section does not apply to commercial bail bonds,” is a scrivener’s error that creates an absurdity, such that a court would likely construe its exception to refer to article 103.0031.

A court would likely conclude that attorney sureties execute “commercial bail bonds” to the extent they sell their bonding services for a fee or commission. As such, article 103.0031(h) would prohibit a commissioners court from entering into a third-party contract for collection services on forfeited attorney surety bail bonds. Instead, forfeited attorney surety bonds would be collected by district and county attorneys, clerks of district and county courts, sheriffs, constables, and justices of the peace pursuant to Code of Criminal Procedure article 103.003(a).

JS-006 (Incompatibility): The common-law doctrine of conflicting-loyalties incompatibility prohibits one person from simultaneously holding two offices that would prevent the person from exercising independent and disinterested judgment. Because the La Joya Independent School District and the Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 6 have taxation authority in overlapping territory, one individual may not simultaneously serve as a school board trustee and irrigation district board member. A court would likely conclude that in qualifying for the second incompatible office of trustee for the School District, the individual does not holdover under article XVI, subsection 17(a).