Tovar v. Texas
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
978 S.W.2d 584 (1998)
David Tovar (defendant), the former president of a school board in Somerset, Texas, was indicted on two charges by the attorney general on behalf of the State of Texas for violating the Texas open-meetings law. Specifically, Tovar was alleged to have knowingly participated in a special closed-session meeting of the school board and to have knowingly called and aided in calling a special closed meeting. Following a jury trial, Tovar was convicted of both charges. The jury was required to determine whether Tovar acted knowingly with regard to calling, aiding in calling, and organizing the special closed meeting. The jury was not required to determine whether Tovar knew that he was violating the open-meetings law when he was calling and participating in the meetings. Consequently, Tovar was ordered to serve six months’ jail time and to pay a $500 fine. However, the trial court suspended Tovar’s sentence and instead imposed court supervision. Tovar filed an appeal, and the court of appeals affirmed Tovar’s convictions. Tovar then filed for discretionary review on the question of whether the court of appeals erred in affirming the convictions based on the conclusion that a public official can be found guilty of violating the open-meetings law if the official did not have personal knowledge that the meeting violated the law.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Overstreet, J.)
Concurrence (Baird, J.)
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