by: Patrick A. Randolph, Jr.
Professor of Law
UMKC School of Law
Here's a cute little case that may prove valuable in states that have analogous statutory and constitutional provisions. Obviously, watch the appeal, but you might want to appraise your clients of the potential in this ruling.
PROPERTY TAXATION; CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Texas court strikes down as unconstitutional a statute requiring pre-payment of taxes prior to assertion of tax appeal, and providing that one's right to such an appeal is waived upon failure to make such pre-payment, is unconstitutional under the Texas constitution. W.V. Grant Evangelistic Ass'n v. Dallas Cent. Appraisal Dist., 900 S.W.2d 789 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1995), writ of error filed. The Texas Constitution requires "open courts", which means, inter alia, that the state legislature cannot impede access to the courts through unreasonable financial barriers. The court determined that forfeiture of the right of appeal was unreasonably harsh when weighed against the state interest involved (quick access to funds), and that, while the pre-payment provision alone was valid, the forfeiture provision was an unconstitutional violation of the "open courts" doctrine.
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