Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Decisions 2017

Battaglia v. Texas (original by judge richardson)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Number: AP-77,069

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2002, Appellant, John David Battaglia, was convicted and sentenced to death for shooting and killing his two young daughters in his apartment while they were talking to their mother on speaker phone. In 2016, shortly...

Burnett v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0576-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Burt Burnett was charged with driving while intoxicated after he rear-ended another vehicle. The State alleged that Burnett was intoxicated “by not having the normal use of his mental and physical faculties by reason of...

Prine v. Texas (original by judge keel)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1180-16

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury found Appellant Alvin Prine, Jr. guilty of sexual assault and sentenced him to 20 years’ confinement and a fine of $8,000. He claimed on appeal that his attorney was ineffective during the punishment phase of tria...

Texas v. Ford (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1299-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellee Kimberly Ford was indicted for possession of methamphetamine. The drugs were seized from her purse at a Dollar General store during a theft investigation. The investigating officer informed appellee that she had...

Ramirez-Tamayo v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1300-16

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue for the Court of Criminal Appeals' review was whether the record supported the trial court’s decision that a peace officer had reasonable suspicion of narcotics possession to continue the detention of a driver b...

Ex parte Keith St. Aubin (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Numbers: WR-49,980-13, WR-49,980-14, WR-49,980-15, WR-49,980-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Applicant Keith St. Aubin claimed Double Jeopardy when the State obtained multiple convictions against him in a single trial. He raised this claim for the first time in his habeas application brought under Texas Code Cri...

Ex parte Cristian Aguilar (original by judge keasler)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Number: WR-82,014-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Cristian Aguilar, a Honduran national with temporary protected status, pleaded guilty to the state-jail felony of attempting to evade arrest in a motor vehicle and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. In his applic...

Ex parte Malcolm Evans (original by judge keel)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Number: WR-83,873-02

Justia Opinion Summary: Applicant Malcolm Evans was charged with causing serious bodily injury to a child. After the State abandoned a deadly weapon allegation, he pled guilty with a 50-year cap, and the trial court sentenced him to 50 years in...

In re State of Texas ex rel. Jennifer Tharp (original by judge keasler)  
Date: September 20, 2017
Docket Number: WR-86,409-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Real Party in Interest Mitchell Childers was accused of two counts of indecency with a child by contact. Childers moved the District Court to order the State to deliver the two victims’ video recorded Children’s Advocacy...

GREEN, MARK ALLEN Appeal from County Court of Navarro County (other per curiam)
Date: September 13, 2017
Docket Number: WR-86,437-01
Ex parte Richard Bowman (original by judge yeary)  
Date: June 28, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0208-16

Justia Opinion Summary: After jet-skiing in the afternoon with one friend, and then drinking at least one glass of wine at the apartment of another friend before briefly falling asleep on her couch, Appellant Richard Bowman drove home in the ea...

Ash v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: June 28, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0244-16

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue presented for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in this case was whether the court of appeals erred when it held that a witness could not be an accomplice as a matter of law unless the witness was charged wit...

Ex Parte Adam Wayne Ingram (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: June 28, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0578-16

Justia Opinion Summary: In an appeal of the denial of relief of a pretrial habeas application, appellant Adam Ingram raised various facial challenges to the constitutionality of the pre-2015 version of subsection (c) of the “Online Solicitation...

Texas v. Prichard (original by judge alcala)  
Date: June 28, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0712-16

Justia Opinion Summary: While purportedly disciplining his pet dog, appellant Robert Prichard killed her by repeatedly hitting her head with a shovel and then drowning her in a swimming pool. He was indicted for the state-jail felony of cruelty...

Long v. Texas (original by judge newell)  
Date: June 28, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0984-15

Justia Opinion Summary: At the time of the offense, Wendee Long was the principal of Wayside Middle School and a member of the Argyle I.S.D. school board. Long’s daughter, C.L., attended Argyle High School and traveled to Sanger High School to...

Queeman v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: June 14, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0215-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Robert Queeman was convicted of criminally negligent homicide after failing to prevent his van from colliding with another vehicle, which resulted in the death of a passenger in the other vehicle. The court of...

Hopper v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: June 7, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0703-16

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the issue before the Court of Criminal Appeals was how a trial court should weigh a defendant’s failure to exercise his right to a speedy trial under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers when analyzing a c...

Hopper v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: June 7, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0703-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Stephen Hopper was indicted in 1993 for an offense that he committed in Texas, but his trial did not take place until 2015. During most of that period of time, he was incarcerated in Nebraska for crimes he had...

Moore v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: June 7, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1056-16

Justia Opinion Summary: While driving intoxicated, Appellant Harold Moore rear-ended another car that was stopped at a red light, causing the driver and passenger bodily injury, but not serious bodily injury. The trial court found that Appellan...

Texas v. Rodriguez (original by judge newell)  
Date: June 7, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1391-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellee Mikenzie Rodriguez was indicted for possession of a controlled substance. Resident assistants searched Rodriguez's dorm room, found drugs, and called their director, who in turn called the police. The police ent...

Arteaga v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: June 7, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1648-15

Justia Opinion Summary: This case presented a question of jury-charge error. The State alleged that Appellant Robert Arteaga, Jr., committed first-degree felony sexual assault of a child because he was “prohibited from marrying” the victim, his...

Ex parte Roger Carter (original by judge keasler)  
Date: June 7, 2017
Docket Number: WR-85,060-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Roger Carter argued in a series of applications for habeas relief that the trial judge improperly cumulated, or “stacked,” his burglary sentence and credit-card-abuse sentences. The Court of Criminal Appeals filed and se...

Texas v. Arizmendi (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: May 17, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0623-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellee Rosa Arizmendi pled guilty pursuant to an agreement, but she moved for a new trial after her codefendant prevailed on a motion to suppress. Appellee, with a co-defendant, was charged with possession with intent...

Larue v. Texas (original by judge newell)  
Date: May 17, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1544-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Joe LaRue was convicted for the capital murder of Donna Pentecost, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. His conviction was based in part on DNA evidence and in part on the very detailed testimony of...

Ex parte Pete (original by judge yeary)  
Date: April 26, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0772-16

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involved an appeal from a district court judge’s denial of relief in a pre-trial application for writ of habeas corpus. Appellant was under indictment for three charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child,...

Miller v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: April 26, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0891-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by sexual contact. Appellant waived his right to a jury trial and pleaded not guilty at a bench trial to the charges. Appellant f...

Reed v. Texas (original by judge keasler)  
Date: April 12, 2017
Docket Number: AP-77,054

Justia Opinion Summary: Rodney Reed sought post-conviction DNA testing of over forty items collected in the course of investigating Stacey Stites’ sexual assault and murder. Ultimately, Reed was convicted and sentenced to death for the capital...

Hankston v. Texas (original by judge richardson)  
Date: April 12, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0887-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Following the denial of his motion to suppress, Appellant Gareic Hankston was convicted of murder and was sentenced to twenty years in prison. The Court of Appeals affirmed Appellant’s conviction, holding that the warran...

Ex parte Broussard (original by judge keasler)  
Date: April 12, 2017
Docket Number: WR-83,014-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Kenneth Broussard pleaded guilty to delivery of cocaine and was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment. Laboratory tests later determined that Broussard possessed methamphetamine. In his habeas corpus application, Brous...

Thomas v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: April 5, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0295-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Cody Thomas agreed to enter an open plea of guilty to state-jail felony theft as a lesser-included offense of the charged offense of third-degree felony engaging in organized criminal activity. Because the Stat...

In re Powell v. Hocker (original by judge yeary)  
Date: April 5, 2017
Docket Number: WR-85,177-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Relator, Matthew Powell, District Attorney of Lubbock County, sought to have the Court of Criminal Appeals compel Respondent, Judge Hocker, a county court at law judge, to rule in a certain way in a discovery dispute ari...

Villa v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: March 22, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0541-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Jamie Villa participated with gang members in a gang-related assault. The complainant testified that he was assaulted by gang members and that appellant was one of the people who assaulted him. The court of app...

Ex parte Ulloa (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: March 22, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0658-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Mike Ulloa was charged with two counts of tampering with physical evidence. The alleged date of the offenses was December 21, 2009. The offenses were originally charged by complaint and information on February...

McClintock v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: March 22, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1641-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Bradley McClintock lived in an upstairs residence above a business. Access to his residence could be gained through a stairway at the back of the building. Police took a drug-sniffing dog to Appellant’s door, w...

Ex parte Owens (original by judge newell)  
Date: March 22, 2017
Docket Number: WR-83,551-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Jonathan Salvador worked as a laboratory technician at the Houston Police Department's Crime Lab Division from 2006 to 2012. The Texas Forensic Science Commission (“TFSC”) published a full report in January 2013 detailin...

Petetan v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: March 8, 2017
Docket Number: AP-77,038

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Us Carnell Petetan, Jr. was charged with the capital murder of his wife, Kimberly Petetan. The indictment alleged that he intentionally caused her death during the course of committing or attempting to commit t...

Salinas v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: March 8, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0170-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Orlando Salinas challenged the assessment of a consolidated fee (or court costs, the payment of which is statutorily mandated when a defendant is convicted in a criminal case). The fees at issue were to be dist...

Texas v. Zuniga (original by judge newell)  
Date: March 8, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1317-15

Justia Opinion Summary: A police officer pulled appellee Mary Zuniga over after she ran a stop sign in front of her home. During the stop, the officer observed a bottle of medicine in Zuniga’s vehicle. When Zuniga was unable to produce a valid...

Texas v. Jarreau (original by judge keel)  
Date: March 1, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0840-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellee was charged with delivery of a dangerous drug under Texas Health and Safety Code Section 483.042(a). The trial court granted his motion to quash the indictment. The State appealed, and the court of appeals affir...

Baumgart v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: March 1, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1361-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Eric Baumgart acted as a security guard but had no license for doing so. He was charged with committing violations of the Private Security Act, in the Occupations Code. Appellant filed motions to quash and to d...

Wolfe v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: February 15, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0292-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Jennifer Wolfe presented an issue of whether expert testimony on the subject of abusive head trauma was reliable. She raised the issue in her petition for discretionary review following her conviction in a benc...

Johnson v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: February 15, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0699-16

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue in this case was whether there was sufficient evidence to affirm the jury’s deadly-weapon finding elevating robbery to aggravated robbery. Because the Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that there was and that...

Crawford v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: February 15, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1283-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Pleading guilty to the offense of sexual assault in 1984, Appellant Milton Crawford was convicted and later required to register as a sex offender. Twice after that, in 2007 and then again in 2009, he was convicted of th...

Roy v. Texas (original by judge keasler)  
Date: February 15, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1455-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Kelvin Roy was convicted of murder and sentenced to seventy-five years’ imprisonment. The trial judge denied his request for a jury instruction on the lesser-included offense of manslaughter. Because there was “more than...

Deen v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: February 15, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1484-15

Justia Opinion Summary: After being released from the penitentiary earlier than permitted by the statutory minimum sentence for his crime, Appellant was convicted of another crime, and his sentence was enhanced by his prior conviction. He argue...

White v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: February 15, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1596-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant William White was convicted for delivery of less than a gram of methamphetamine in a drug free zone, a third degree felony. His punishment was enhanced with a prior felony to a second degree felony, and the tri...

Lake v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: February 8, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0196-16

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury found appellant Rodney Lake guilty of sexual assault of a child under age seventeen and sentenced him to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Upon the recommendation of the jury, sentence was suspended and appe...

Obella v. Texas (original per curiam)  
Date: February 8, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1032-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Angel Obella entered a guilty plea to aggravated sexual assault and was sentenced by the trial court to 30 years’ imprisonment. Appellant filed a motion for new trial alleging that his plea was involuntary base...

Ex parte Thuesen (original per curiam)  
Date: February 8, 2017
Docket Number: WR-81,584-01

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue before the Court of Criminal Appeals in this matter was the judicial authority of the judge who presided over habeas proceedings in this case. The judge signed an order voluntarily recusing himself from presidin...

Pruett v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: January 25, 2017
Docket Number: PD-0251-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Jeffrey Pruett was convicted of arson, and the jury made a deadly-weapon finding. The question before the Court of criminal Appeals was whether: the fire started by appellant was a deadly weapon when the fire w...

Byram v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: January 25, 2017
Docket Number: PD-1480-15

Justia Opinion Summary: The officer in this case encountered and arrested an intoxicated driver during a traffic stop he initiated to check the welfare of a passenger in the vehicle. The question this case presented for the Court of Criminal Ap...

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