Opinion issued March 26, 2009
Court of Appeals
First District of Texas
QUINTIN FERNANDEZ WIGGINS, Appellant V. THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee On Appeal from the 338th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 1107008 MEMORANDUM OPINION A jury found appellant, Quintin Fernandez Wiggins, guilty of the felony
offense of misapplication of fiduciary property1 and assessed his punishment at confinement for ten years. In seven issues, appellant contends that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support his conviction, the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash the indictment, and he was denied effective assistance of counsel by one of his trial attorneys based upon an actual conflict of interest and by both of “his trial attorneys’ failure to conduct a factual investigation.” We affirm. Factual Background Terry Holderman, the Director of Audits of Texas Southern University (“TSU”), testified that appellant, as TSU Senior Vice President for Finance, “was in charge of the finances for the university.” Appellant, a certified public accountant with a master’s degree in business, had previously served on the “task force that created policies and procedures on procurement at [TSU].” TSU’s procurement policies dictated that in order for a department or person to purchase goods or services with TSU funds, the department or person had to identify the TSU account number from which the funds would be allocated. Each department had an
accounting organization number assigned to it for its purchases. These accounting organization numbers allowed Holderman to easily identify the expenditures of a
S ee T EX. P ENAL C ODE A NN. § 3 2.45(b), (c)(7) (Vernon Supp. 2008). 2
department or individual. Holderman further testified that in January 2006, George Williams, the chairman of the TSU Board of Regents Audit and Finance Committee, asked him to investigate purchases of furniture made by Priscilla Slade, TSU’s President, for her house with TSU funds.2 Holderman discovered that Slade had spent approximately $86,000 of TSU funds on furniture for her house. Because the purchases had been made using TSU accounting “organization number 31001,” which identifies “general institution activity,” instead of the TSU accounting organization numbers 10000 and 11001, which had been assigned to Slade’s office, the purchases would not “have [been] found in an audit of [Slade’s] office.” Holderman also discovered that Slade had used TSU funds, allocated out of organization number 31001, to pay approximately $139,000 for landscaping at her house. The TSU Board of Regents had not approved any of these expenditures. Having discovered Slade’s unauthorized use of TSU funds for personal expenses, Holderman “went down to speak to [appellant]” because he controlled all expenditures made from organization number 31001. Holderman told appellant that he had uncovered approximately $139,000 of TSU funds spent on landscaping at “Dr. Slade’s house that [had been] charged to the university” using accounting
R egent Williams chaired the TSU Board of Regents Audit and Finance Committee. 3
organization number 31001. Appellant replied that “he didn’t know anything about it, but it was an obvious error.” Appellant suggested to Holderman, “[We] can get [TSU’s] money back from the [landscaping] vendor, and . . . [because] this was just an error, we don’t have to get [the Board of Regents] involved.” Holderman left appellant’s office, called Williams, and told him, “We [have] a bigger problem than what you originally thought.” Belinda Griffin, chairperson of the TSU Board of Regents, testified that she joined the board in 2003 and participated in the renegotiation of Slade’s employment contract, which provided for an expense account for “university-related business . . . not to exceed $50,000.” Griffin explained that TSU’s rules and regulations,
consistent with the Constitution and statutes of Texas, prohibit “the use of State money or property for private purposes” and require that “State property be used only for State Purposes.” Although Slade had the power to authorize purchases up to $100,000, TSU’s rules and regulations required her to obtain approval from the Board of Regents for any expenditure that had not been budgeted, was outside her contract, or was for her personal benefit. In January 2006, Griffin visited Slade’s newly built house to “pick up two handbags and a necklace” from Slade. When Griffin arrived, Slade gave her a tour of the house. During the tour, Griffin commented “on how beautiful everything was,
[and Slade] said, ‘Oh, yeah, you know, some of these things were purchased by the university.’” Slade informed Griffin that “the university [had] purchased this furniture for the president’s home.” Alice Rosemon, TSU’s Assistant Vice President for Procurement Services, testified that she worked under appellant’s supervision, and in August 2005, appellant, during a telephone call, told her that Slade was “out there picking out her furniture for her new home.” Appellant then asked Rosemon, “Can we pay for this?” Rosemon reviewed past records and told appellant how TSU had handled purchases of furniture for past presidents. Later that month, Billy Burnett, Slade’s assistant,3 approached Rosemon in a parking lot after work and told her to keep the furniture purchases “confidential” and that he would bring the invoices to Rosemon. When Rosemon told Burnett that he should have Slade’s department fill out the paperwork, Burnett replied that Slade did not want her department involved in the paperwork. Appellant, seeing Rosemon and Burnett talking, approached them and “asked what was going on.” Rosemon told him that “Slade wanted to keep the furniture confidential . . . and didn’t want her department involved in doing the paperwork.” Appellant told her, “That’s fine.”
R osemon testified that although she did not “know exactly what [Burnett’s] title was,” she did know that “if he said it, he was speaking for [Slade].” 5
A few days later, Burnett delivered furniture invoices to Rosemon and told her that Slade “only needed half to pay down a deposit.” So, Rosemon prepared two requisitions: one for a deposit of $23,503.95 and the other for the remaining $22,819.05. Burnett later brought in invoices for additional furniture purchases of $40,144.30, which brought the total amount for the second requisition to $62,963.35. In order to process the requisition, Rosemon needed to know from which TSU fund she should withdraw the money, so she asked appellant which “funding source . . . [she should] use to pay for the furniture.” Appellant told her to use organization number 31001 in the 9200 fund. Appellant then called Rhoda Daniels and told her to transfer $175,000 into the 9200 fund. In October 2005, Ron Butler, TSU’s Executive Director of Facilities and Construction Services, presented Rosemon with an invoice for approximately $10,000 for landscaping at Slade’s residence. Rosemon told appellant “that Ron Butler had brought an invoice . . . for the landscaping at [Slade’s] house.” When she asked if she should use the same funding that she had used for the furniture, appellant told her, “Yes, that will be fine.” Two “modifications” to this requisition for “additional landscaping services” brought the total amount for Slade’s landscaping to $138,159.00. The payments for the landscaping were made with two checks, both signed by appellant. Rosemon explained that before signing these checks, appellant
could have reviewed “all the [attached] documents to see what he’s authorizing payment for.” The landscaping costs, like the furniture costs, were paid using organization number 31001. In order to ensure that there were sufficient funds to pay for Slade’s purchases, appellant sent an email to Adolphus Moore, TSU’s Senior Plan Accountant,4 instructing him to transfer an additional $120,000 into the 9200 fund.5 In December 2005, Butler gave Rosemon a requisition for $5,790 “to encumber funds for installation of [a] security wiring system for” Slade’s house. However, Rosemon told Butler that she could not process the requisition because the funding information had not been completed on the requisition. Butler went to talk to appellant, and, a few minutes later, appellant called Rosemon and told her to use “the same funding sources that [she] had used for the landscaping and for the furniture.” During her testimony, Rosemon identified a requisition, signed by appellant, approving an additional $56,010 for various parts and installation of Slade’s security system. In January 2005, Rosemon heard rumors circulating about Slade’s purchases. Appellant called Rosemon into his office and told her, “I’m going to stick to my story
A s TSU’s Senior Plan Accountant, Moore worked under appellant’s supervision. The email stated, “Please set up a budget in fund 9200 Org: 31001 Acct 730P Program 70 for 120,000 Asap!” 7
that I don’t know anything about the furniture [and the landscaping].” In sum, appellant had approved the expenditure of TSU funds totaling $286,426.30 for Slade’s furniture, landscaping, and security system. Sufficiency of the Evidence In his fourth and fifth issues, appellant argues that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support his conviction because the State failed to prove that he “committed the offense of misapplication of fiduciary property.” In his sixth and seventh issues, he argues that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support his conviction because he “never held any property pursuant to any agreement.” (Emphasis added.) We review the legal sufficiency of the evidence by considering all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict to determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Williams v. State, 235 S.W.3d 742, 750 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007) (citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318–19, 99 S. Ct. 2781, 2788–89 (1979)). In doing so, we give deference to the responsibility of the fact-finder to fairly resolve conflicts in testimony, to weigh evidence, and to draw reasonable inferences from the facts. Id. However, our duty requires us to “ensure that the evidence presented actually supports a conclusion that the defendant committed” the criminal offense of
which he is accused. Id. In a factual sufficiency review, we view all the evidence in a neutral light, both for and against the finding, and set aside the verdict if the proof of guilt is so obviously weak as to undermine confidence in the jury’s determination, i.e., that the verdict seems “clearly wrong and manifestly unjust,” or the proof of guilt, although legally sufficient, is nevertheless against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence. Watson v. State, 204 S.W.3d 404, 414–15 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006). We note that a jury is in the best position to evaluate the credibility of witnesses, and we afford due deference to the jury’s determinations. Marshall v. State, 210 S.W.3d 618, 625 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006). Although we should always be “mindful” that a jury is in the best position to decide the facts and that we should not order a new trial simply because we disagree with the verdict, it is “the very nature of a factual-sufficiency review that . . . authorizes an appellate court, albeit to a very limited degree, to act in the capacity of a so-called ‘thirteenth juror.’” Watson, 204 S.W.3d at 416–17. Thus, when an appellate court is “able to say, with some objective basis in the record, that the great weight and preponderance of the (albeit legally sufficient) evidence contradicts the jury’s verdict[,] . . . it is justified in exercising its appellate fact jurisdiction to order a new trial.” Id. at 417. An individual commits the offense of misapplication of fiduciary property “if
he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misapplies property he holds as a fiduciary . . . in a manner that involves substantial risk of loss to the owner of the property or to the person for whose benefit the property is held.” See TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 32.45(b) (Vernon Supp. 2008). A fiduciary misapplies property when he deals with the property contrary to either “an agreement under which the fiduciary holds the property” or “a law prescribing the custody or disposition of the property.” TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 32.45(a)(2) (Vernon Supp. 2008). This offense is a first degree felony when the “value of the property misapplied is $200,000 or more.” Id. § 32.45(c)(7) (Vernon Supp. 2008). Under the law of parties, a defendant may be convicted of the offense of misapplication of fiduciary property if, acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense of misapplication of fiduciary property, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another person committing the offense. See id. § 7.02(a)(2) (Vernon 2003), § 32.45. Knowledge of Expenditures In support of his argument that the evidence is legally insufficient to support his conviction, appellant asserts that “there is no evidence [that he] intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly allowed expenditures for purposes other than those allowed by both University and State guidelines.” Appellant also asserts that “he believed that all such expenditures [made by Slade] were for [u]niversity [p]urposes” and not “for
the benefit of Slade’s personal purposes.” Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, appellant, TSU’s Vice President of Finance, knew that Slade’s expenditures were personal in nature and unrelated to state purposes. Appellant told Rosemon that Slade was “picking out furniture for her new home” and that she should comply with Slade’s wish “to keep the furniture confidential.” (Emphasis added.) In regard to the landscaping expenses, Rosemon told appellant that the landscaping expenses were for Slade’s house. In regard to the security system, Butler told appellant that the expenses “pertained to the security system at Slade’s house.” Nevertheless, appellant told Rosemon to process the requisitions for these expenditures using a TSU accounting organization number not applicable to Slade’s office so that the purchases would be concealed from an audit of Slade’s office. Additionally, appellant’s statement to Rosemon that he we was planning to “stick to [his] story that [he did not] know anything about the furniture [and the landscaping]” supports a logical inference that he knew that Slade’s purchases were for her personal use and were not allowed by TSU’s guidelines. In sum, the evidence shows that a rational trier of fact could have reasonably found that appellant knowingly aided Slade in misapplying TSU funds for Slade’s personal purposes. Accordingly, we hold that the evidence is legally sufficient to support the jury’s implied finding that appellant intentionally,
knowingly, or recklessly misapplied TSU’s property. In support of his argument that the evidence is factually insufficient to support his conviction, appellant asserts that “there is no evidence [that appellant] had prior knowledge of or involvement in any expenditures for the benefit of Slade’s personal purchases” and that Slade, not appellant, “obligated [TSU] for the expenditures in question.” He further asserts that the “testimony of both [Wanda] Pleasant and [Gita] Bolt directly refute[d] any accusation that [he] misapplied TSU funds for the purchase of furniture.” Viewing the evidence in a neutral light, both Pleasant and Bolt testified that appellant had not “obligated [TSU] for the [e]xpenditures.” Nevertheless, as outlined above, there is ample evidence that appellant knew that Slade used TSU funds for her personal benefit and not for state purposes. Moreover, even if Slade, not appellant, had obligated TSU for the expenditures in question, the evidence demonstrates that appellant intentionally aided Slade by using a TSU accounting organization number to conceal the purchases from an audit review, by transferring funds into an account to pay for Slade’s purchases, by keeping the purchases confidential, by instructing his staff to process the requisitions for Slade’s purchases, and by signing checks for Slade’s purchases. See TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 7.02(a)(2). We conclude that the evidence is not so obviously weak as to make the jury’s verdict clearly wrong and
manifestly unjust, nor is the proof of guilt against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence. Accordingly, we hold that the evidence is factually sufficient to support appellant’s conviction. We overrule appellant’s fourth and fifth issues. “Holding” Fiduciary Property Under Section 32.45 In his sixth and seventh issues, appellant argues that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to show that he “held” property because “there is no suggestion that [he] held any property separate from established university funds.” Asserting that the rule of “lenity” requires that ambiguous criminal statutes be interpreted in favor of a defendant, appellant argues that because the “penal code does not define the word ‘hold,’ . . . the common meaning of the word must be applied to the statute in a manner that is most favorable to [him].” Contending that “hold” means “possess,” appellant asserts that he “never held any property pursuant to an agreement.” (Emphasis added.) When a statutory term is not defined by the statute itself, it should be given its plain meaning. State v. Holcombe, 187 S.W.3d 496, 500 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006). In determining the plain meaning of words, we initially use dictionary definitions. Id. “Hold” means to “have in one’s possession” or “keep or reserve for someone.” THE NEW OXFORD AMERICAN DICTIONARY 810 (2001). The Texas Penal Code defines
“possession” as “actual care, custody, control, or management.” TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 1.07(39) (Vernon Supp. 2008). In the context of a fiduciary relationship, “hold” simply refers to a fiduciary’s “care, custody, control, or management” of the property in question. See id. §§ 1.07(39), 32.45(b). Appellant concedes in his briefing that “there is no mistake that [appellant] was a fiduciary as he worked for [TSU].” Additionally, appellant acknowledges that the evidence demonstrates that he “had control over university accounts,” transferred money into the account that was used “to pay Slade’s bills,” and “authorized the payment of Slade’s bills.” The bottom line is that, from the evidence in the record, a rational trier of fact could have found that appellant exercised control over the TSU funds that Slade used to make personal expenditures. See TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 32.45(b). Again, appellant instructed Rosemon to use a TSU accounting organization number to conceal Slade’s purchases from an audit review, transferred TSU funds in a sufficient amount to pay for Slade’s purchases, and processed requisitions for Slade’s purchases. Appellant also signed all of the checks used for Slade’s purchases. Accordingly, we hold that the evidence is legally sufficient to support the jury’s implied finding that appellant, as a fiduciary, “held” the TSU funds that Slade used to make personal expenditures. Viewing the evidence in a neutral light, as outlined above, ample evidence
shows that appellant exercised control over the TSU funds that Slade used to make her personal expenditures. We conclude that the evidence is not so obviously weak as to make the jury’s verdict clearly wrong and manifestly unjust, nor is the proof of guilt against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence. Accordingly, we hold that the evidence is factually sufficient to support the jury’s implied finding that appellant, as a fiduciary, “held” the TSU funds that Slade used to make personal expenditures. We overrule appellant’s sixth and seventh issues. Motion to Quash In his third issue, appellant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash the indictment because it did not give him “sufficient notice of the conduct which provides the basis for the prosecution.” He asserts that the indictment did not allege “any specific acts that were the basis of the prosecution.” We review de novo a trial court’s denial of a motion to quash an indictment when the trial court’s ruling is “based only on the indictment, the motion to quash, and the argument of counsel.” State v. Moff, 154 S.W.3d 599, 601 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004). An indictment must be specific enough to inform a defendant of “the nature of the accusation against him so that he may prepare a defense.” Id.; see also TEX.
CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 21.11 (Vernon 1989). Everything that the State must prove should be stated in an indictment. TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. art. 21.03 (Vernon 1989). An indictment for misapplication of fiduciary property must inform the defendant of the “specific transactions that allegedly violate the statute.” Moff, 154 S.W.3d at 603. However, if these transactions are not contained in the indictment, the State may provide notice “by means other than the language in the charging instrument.” Id.; Kellar v. State, 108 S.W.3d 311, 313 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003) (concluding that State provided adequate notice to defendant by filing itemized list containing dates, check numbers, and amounts of each transaction). Here, the trial court denied appellant’s motion to quash based on all the information “contained in the indictment and . . . [in] Exhibit A.” During the hearing on appellant’s motion to quash the indictment, the following exchange occurred: [The trial court:] Well, it is the Court’s understanding . . . that the State had provided notice as to the specifics of those transactions as referenced in the indictment or as alluded to in the indictment through Exhibit A, which was attached. . . . [A]m I correct? Yes, Your Honor. So with regard to [the] specific transactions that the State is relying on, you have received notice of that, correct? Yes, Your Honor.
[Appellant:] [The trial court:]
In Exhibit A, the State informed appellant that the following specific transactions provided the basis for the prosecution: Vendor HLS Enterprises Description Landscaping Amount $ 26,375.00 Purchase Date 10/31/2005 11/4/2005 11/7/2005 11/22/2005 8/29/2005 8/29/2005 8/24/2005 8/24/2005
HLS Enterprises NOEL Furniture NOEL Furniture Simplex Grinnell Simplex Grinnell
Landscaping Furniture Furniture Security System Security System
$ 111,784.00 $ 23,503.95 $ 62,963.35 $ 5,790.00 $ 56,010.00
Whether the indictment sufficiently provided notice or not, “Exhibit A” provided appellant with notice about the “specific transactions” that he allegedly engaged in which violated the statute. See Kellar, 108 S.W.3d at 313. Accordingly, we hold that the trial court did not err in denying appellant’s motion to quash the indictment. We overrule appellant’s third issue. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel In his first two issues, appellant argues that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel did not conduct sufficient investigation into the facts of his case and one of his trial attorneys had an actual conflict of interest due to
his employment at TSU as an adjunct professor and due to his wife’s employment at TSU. Standard of Review The standard of review for evaluating claims of ineffective assistance of counsel is set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 2064 (1984). Strickland requires a two-step analysis whereby an appellant must show that (1) counsel’s performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and (2) but for counsel’s unprofessional error, there is a reasonable probability that the result of the proceedings would have been different. Id. at 687–94, 2052–2068; Thompson v. State, 9 S.W.3d 808, 812 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999). The record must affirmatively support the alleged ineffectiveness. Thompson, 9 S.W.3d at 813. In order to adduce facts not on the record about an attorney’s strategy, a motion for new trial is typically a prerequisite for presenting an ineffective assistance claim on appeal. See TEX. R. APP. P. 21.2; Melancon v. State, 66 S.W.3d 375, 378 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, pet. ref’d). But see McKinny v. State, 76 S.W.3d 463, 470–71 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2002, no pet.) (reasoning that single egregious error of omission or commission by counsel may constitute ineffective assistance, even in absence of record setting forth counsel’s reasons for challenged conduct).
Here, appellant filed a motion for new trial in which he argued that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied appellant’s motion for new trial. We review the trial court’s denial of a motion for new trial for an abuse of discretion. See Salazar v. State, 38 S.W.3d 141, 148 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001). We do not substitute our judgment for that of the trial court but simply determine whether the trial court’s ruling was arbitrary or unreasonable. Id. The trial court is the sole judge of the credibility of witnesses. Id. Pretrial Investigation In his first issue, appellant argues that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because “the apparent investigation of both [his attorneys] was constitutionally deficient” and undermines “confidence in the outcome of the trial.” Appellant asserts that his trial counsel “neither interviewed witnesses [nor] reviewed potential witnesses[’] video statements.” Specifically, appellant argues that if his trial counsel had performed an appropriate pretrial investigation, they would have interviewed TSU “Regents Harry Johnson and Ernest Gibson.” At the hearing on appellant’s motion for new trial, L. Mickele Daniels, appellant’s trial counsel, testified that he did not, prior to trial, review the videotaped statements of the State’s witnesses, but he did review the transcripts of the witnesses’ testimony before the grand jury. When appellant sent Daniels a list of twenty-eight
potential witnesses, Daniels talked to some of the witnesses6 and read other witnesses’ statements.7 When Daniels attempted to contact some witnesses on appellant’s list, some refused to speak with him8 and he could not reach others.9 Based on a subsequent conversation with appellant about the twenty-eight potential witnesses on his list, Daniels was able to eliminate “quite a few” names. Nevertheless, Daniels testified that he or his co-counsel, Arthur C. Washington, interviewed, either in person or on the telephone, all of the witnesses who testified for appellant. He also prepared these witnesses in the witness rooms and corridor outside the courtroom. Although appellant argues that Daniels’s “pretrial investigation was nonexistant,” the trial court could have reasonably concluded that Daniels sufficiently investigated the facts of the case and interviewed appropriate witnesses. Appellant cites a number of cases to support his argument that trial counsel must “at a minimum, . . . interview potential witnesses.” See Bryant v. Scott, 28 F.3d 1411, 1415 (5th Cir. 1994). However, the cases cited by appellant only require that trial counsel
E .g., Harry Johnson and Adolphus Moore. E.g., Billy Burnett and Gary Padfield. E.g., Alice Rosemon and Ron Butler. E.g., “President Bush.” 20
interview certain witnesses. See id. at 1418 (alibi witnesses); Gray v. Lucas, 677 F.2d 1086, 1094 (5th Cir. 1982) (eyewitnesses). These cases expressly recognize that trial counsel need not interview all witnesses, only those witnesses crucial to the case. Bryant, 28 F.3d at 1419 n.13 (“We do not hold that the performance prong of Strickland always requires the interview of every claimed eyewitness, alibi witness, and/or assertedly exculpating criminal co-participant. These matters ultimately depend on the overall context of the case.”); Gray, 677 F.2d at 1093 n.5 (“While a lawyer’s failure to investigate a witness who has been identified as crucial may indicate an inadequate investigation, the failure to investigate everyone whose name happens to be mentioned by the defendant does not suggest ineffective assistance.”). Here, the trial court could have found Daniels’s testimony credible and concluded that he interviewed the appropriate witnesses. Additionally, although appellant contends that TSU Regents Harry Johnson and Ernest Gibson “had actual knowledge of [a]ppellant’s involvement in the landscape project and the issue regarding the purchase of furniture for Dr. Slade,” he does not explain, nor does the record indicate, how these two witnesses were crucial to his case. Accordingly, we hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant’s motion for new trial based on its conclusion that appellant received effective assistance of counsel.
We overrule appellant’s first issue. Conflicts of Interest In his second issue, appellant argues that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because Daniels was an adjunct professor at TSU and his wife, who had been employed as TSU’s director of accounting under appellant’s supervision, testified as a witness for the State. An “actual conflict of interest” is a conflict of interest that actually requires counsel “to make a choice between advancing his client’s interest in a fair trial or advancing other interests to the detriment of his client’s interest.” McKinny, 76 S.W.3d at 477 (citing Ex Parte Morrow, 952 S.W.2d 530, 538 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997)). Such a conflict adversely affects counsel’s performance when counsel actually acts to the detriment of his client on behalf of those other interests during trial. Acosta v. State, 233 S.W.3d 349, 356 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007). To prove ineffective assistance of counsel based on a conflict of interest, appellant must show that his trial counsel had an actual conflict of interest and identify the adverse effect on specific instances of counsel’s performance. Id. (citing Cuyler v. Sullivan, 446 U.S. 335, 100 S. Ct. 1708 (1980)); McKinny, 76 S.W.3d at 477. However, even if a conflict of interest exists, a defendant may waive his right to conflict-free counsel so long as the record demonstrates that the defendant “knowingly, intelligently, and
voluntarily waived his right to conflict-free counsel.” Gaston v. State, 136 S.W.3d 315, 324 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2004, pet. struck) (citing United States v. Garcia, 517 F.2d 272, 277 (5th Cir. 1975)). Appellant argues that his trial counsel had a conflict of interest because his wife had been a “subordinate of [a]ppellant during her employ at [TSU] and was a witness called by the State.” However, the record demonstrates that appellant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his right to conflict-free counsel. See id. During a pretrial hearing, the trial court asked appellant to approach the bench. The State then explained that Daniels’s wife would be testifying because she had been “responsible for educating and making certain that people [at TSU] knew and understood how to follow all of the policies and procedures of the university” and had been employed at TSU “under [appellant’s] supervision.” The trial court then asked appellant the following questions:
[The trial court:]
. . . [H]ave you had a chance to visit [with] your attorneys with regard to that matter? Yes. All right. Do you have any questions to the Court with regard to that specific matter? No.
[Appellant:] [The trial court:]
[The trial court:]
All right. Is your desire to still continue, obviously, with Mr. Daniels and Mr. Washington as counsel? Yes.
The record demonstrates that appellant wanted Daniels to continue representing him even after he had been informed that Daniels’s wife would be testifying for the State. Accordingly, because appellant “knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his right to” complain about any potential conflict related to his trial counsel’s wife, we hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion for new trial. Next, appellant asserts that Daniels’s employment as an adjunct professor at TSU constituted a conflict of interest. However, appellant has not identified how the alleged conflict had an adverse effect on specific instances of Daniels’s performance. See Acosta, 233 S.W.3d at 356; Ex parte Morrow, 952 S.W.2d at 538; McKinny, 76 S.W.3d at 477. Accordingly, we hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant’s motion for new trial. We overrule appellant’s second issue.
Conclusion We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Terry Jennings Justice Panel consists of Justices Jennings, Keyes, and Higley. Do not publish. TEX. R. APP. P. 47.2(b).