Often trial judges sign orders that are not final either because they fail to dispose of all parties and issues before the court, or the written order fails to reflect the trial court’s intent that the order be a final, appealable judgment.  That was the case in Hodo v. State, and the Amarillo Court of Appeals sought to remedy the lack of finality by taking the rare move of invoking Appellate Rule 27.2.

The trial court signed an order allowing the withdrawal of funds from an inmate trust account, a procedure governed by Texas Government Code Section 501.014.  The order of withdrawal directed the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division to withhold funds from Hodo’s trust account.  Hodo moved to rescind the withdrawals, alleging that he had been denied due process.  After an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, the Supreme Court held that an inmate is entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard, and the case was remanded.

It appears that further proceedings were had in the trial court following the remand.  But it does not appear that the trial court made any ruling on a motion to confirm, modify, correct, or rescind the prior withdrawal notification.  Hodo filed another appeal.  The Amarillo Court of Appeals notes that the lower court’s judgment did not assess costs.  The court of appeals concludes that it could not tell whether the trial court intended to finally dispose of all claims (making the orders final and appealable), and the court invoked Appellate Rule 27.2.  Using Rule 27.2, the court abates the appeal so as to allow Hodo to obtain the missing final, appealable order.  The court’s opinion may be found here.