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Houston County Attorney Defends Old Glory

Case Update

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highes court for criminal cases, has granted the Houston County Attorney's Office request to review the State of Texas vs. Terence D. Johnson case, County Attorney Daphne Session reported on Wednesday, July 2.

The case pertains to the incident in which Terence D. Johnson of Bryan allegedly desecrated a United States flag posted outside a Lovelady business.

Session provided this update to Houston County media:
"Last year, the Court of Appeals in Tyler issued an opinion in our Destruction of Flag appeal. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Houston County Court at Law Judge Sarah Clark dismissing the case, but disagreed with Judge Clark's reasoning. In fact, the Court of Appeals found that Terence Johnson's behavior was not speech protected by the First Amendment. The Court of Appeals decided the Destruction of Flag statute is overbroad and therefore unconstitutional.

"The County Attorney's Office does not agree with the decision of the Court of Appeals. A Motion for Rehearing was submitted. The Court of Appeals granted the Motion for Rehearing. But, once again, the Tyler Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the case.

"The County Attorney's Office filed a request with Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to review the case (formally called a Petition for Discretionary Review). The Court of Criminal Appeals is the state's highest court for criminal cases. The Court of Criminal Appeals granted our request and has decided to review the case for a decision.

"The Court of Criminal Appeals receives approximately 1,500 requests to review criminal cases each year, but only grants approximately 85 each year to review. Our flag case is included in this small percentage of cases that will be reviewed by the state's highest criminal court.

"In May, the County Attorney's Office submitted our brief to the Court of Criminal Appeals. Terrence Johnson's attorney submitted his brief this week. The Court of Criminal Appeals has agreed to hear oral arguments in the case, so now we wait for the argument to be set.