Robert John Gallemore was charged with Felony DWI in Wise County. Facing a range of 2 to 10 years in prison, he pled guilty before Judge Fostel and asked the judge to assess punishment. While Judge Fostel was considering the sentence, the defendant's lawyer pointed out a flaw in the indictment which actually made the case a misdemeanor (with a maximum sentence of one year in jail.) He was right. The indictment only alleged a misdemeanor. So the lawyer says, and I'm paraphrasing, "hey judge, go ahead and sentence my client for the misdemeanor offense."
The judge says that his court only has original jurisdiction over felonies, not misdemeanors. If a misdemeanor offense is committed, it has to be filed in the Wise County Court at Law. That's true, too. So the judge declares a mistrial and sets aside the defendant's guilty plea.
The DA's office then re-indicts the guy to fix the error in the original indictment and does something which probably should have been done in the first place. They discovered the defendant had twice before been to the pen, so they added two enhancement paragraphs making the defendant a Habitual Offender. This means the new punishment range was 25 years to life in prison! That's right, the case went from 2 to 10 years to 25 years to life.
The defendant objected on double jeopardy grounds (he had already been charged and pled guilty, he said) but the judge denied that motion. The defendant once again pled guilty and the judge gave him 25 years.
The defendant appealed and the appellate court, yesterday, said the district court in Wise County does indeed only have felony jurisdiction so the first indictment that alleged only a misdemeanor was void. It had no effect whatsoever so the defendant couldn't enter a guilty plea to a non-existent case. So the new indictment stands. As does a 25 year sentence.