CHARLES RUTH III v. THE STATE OF TEXAS--Appeal from 107th District Court of Cameron County
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COURT OF APPEALS
THIRTEENTH DISTRICT OF TEXAS
CORPUS CHRISTI - EDINBURG
CHARLES RUTH III,
THE STATE OF TEXAS,
On appeal from the 107th District Court
of Cameron County, Texas.
Before Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Rodriguez and Garza
Memorandum Opinion by Justice Rodriguez
Appellant Charles Ruth III challenges his convictions by a jury for two counts of
burglary of a habitation (counts one and two) and one count of aggravated assault (count
three). See TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 22.02(a)(1) (West Supp. 2010), § 30.02(a)(3) (West
2003). By five issues, Ruth complains that the evidence was legally insufficient to
support his convictions, the State improperly commented on his post-arrest silence, the
trial court erroneously admitted evidence of a prior conviction without a limiting
instruction, and his multiple convictions constituted double jeopardy. We vacate and
dismiss counts two and three of Ruth's conviction and affirm count one.
Ruth was indicted for two counts of burglary of a habitation. Count one read as
[O]n or about the 6th Day of November, 2008, [Ruth] . . . did then and there
intentionally or knowingly enter a habitation, without the effective consent of
Vashti Vela, the owner thereof, and attempted to commit or committed an
assault against Jose Angel Alcorta.
(Emphases omitted.) Count two reads as follows:
[O]n or about the 6th Day of November, 2008, [Ruth] . . . did then and there
intentionally or knowingly enter a habitation, without the effective consent of
Vashti Vela, the owner thereof, and attempted to commit or committed an
assault against Vashti Vela.
(Emphases omitted.) Ruth was also indicted for one count of aggravated assault (count
[O]n or about the 6th day of November, 2008, [Ruth] . . . did then and there
intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to Jose Angel
Alcorta by stabbing or cutting Jose Angel Alcorta, and [Ruth] did then and
there use or exhibit a deadly weapon, to wit: a knife, during the
commission of said assault.
(Emphases omitted.) Finally, Ruth was indicted for aggravated kidnapping.
Ruth pleaded not guilty to all counts, and the case was tried to a jury. The jury
found Ruth guilty on the burglary and aggravated assault charges (counts one, two, and
three) and sentenced him to thirty-five years' incarceration for each of those counts.1
The trial court ordered the sentences to run concurrently. This appeal followed.
The jury acquitted Ruth of aggravated kidnapping.
II. SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE
By his first issue, Ruth argues that the evidence was legally insufficient to prove his
identity for any of the convicted offenses. Specifically, Ruth argues that the testimony at
trial did not positively identify him as the perpetrator for either the burglaries or the
In a sufficiency review, courts examine all of the evidence in the light most
favorable to the verdict to determine whether "any rational fact finder could have found
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318-19 (1979); see
Brooks v. State, 323 S.W.3d 893, 895 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010) ("[T]he Jackson
legal-sufficiency standard is the only standard that a reviewing court should apply in
determining whether the evidence is sufficient to support each element of a criminal
offense that the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt."). This standard
requires reviewing courts to resolve any evidentiary inconsistencies in favor of the
judgment, keeping in mind that the fact finder is the exclusive judge of the facts, the
credibility of the witnesses, and the weight to give their testimony. Brooks, 323 S.W.3d
at 899; see TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. ANN. art. 38.04 (West 1979) ("The jury, in all cases, is
the exclusive judge of the facts proved, and of the weight to be given to the
testimony . . . ."). Appellate courts do not re-evaluate the weight and credibility of the
evidence; they only ensure that the jury reached a rational decision. Laster v. State, 275
S.W.3d 512, 517 (Tex. Crim. App. 2009).
It is not necessary that the evidence directly proves the defendant's guilt;
"[c]ircumstantial evidence is as probative as direct evidence in establishing the guilt of the
actor, and circumstantial evidence alone can be sufficient to establish guilt." Hooper v.
State, 214 S.W.3d 9, 13 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007); see Kuciemba v. State, 310 S.W.3d 460,
462 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010).
A fact finder may support its verdict with reasonable
inferences drawn from the evidence, and it is up to the fact finder to decide which
inference is most reasonable. Laster, 275 S.W.3d at 523.
Here, the evidence at trial showed that Ruth and Vela had a prior relationship. On
November 5, 2008, Ruth called Vela at work. Vela did not answer Ruth's subsequent
repeated calls or respond to his text messages. Vela testified that Ruth's messages
were angry and aggressive and accused her of "talking to [Alcorta]"; Vela stated that Ruth
was "threatening [her], calling [her] a bitch and a whore and just stuff like that."
Later that evening, Vela met up with Alcorta, who stayed with Vela at her
apartment that night. In the early morning hours of November 6, 2008, Vela and Alcorta
were awakened by loud banging on the front door of Vela's apartment. They did not
answer the door. Vela testified that she looked outside and saw Ruth's car. She
testified that she heard Ruth's car start up and leave; she knew it was Ruth's car leaving
because it "was late," so there was no one else awake in the parking lot, and his car made
a specific sound when it was starting.
Later in the night, Vela and Alcorta were
awakened by someone banging on and then breaking in the back door of Vela's
apartment. The intruder proceeded to the bedroom. Vela hid in the closet while Alcorta
confronted the intruder, who stabbed Alcorta "on [his] side and on [his] armpit." Alcorta
identified the intruder as Ruth. Vela did not come out of the closet until the intruder had
fled the apartment.
Ruth's sister, Cynthia Cuevas, testified that around 4:00 a.m. on November 6,
2006, Ruth came to her home drunk, mad, and covered in blood. Ruth told Cuevas that
"he had stabbed the little boy, that he caught [Vela] with him and—I remember he said
that it was his best friend or something like that."
Contrary to Ruth's assertion on appeal, there was testimony at trial positively
indentifying him as the intruder who stabbed Alcorta.
Regardless, identity may be
proved by either direct or circumstantial evidence, and there was also ample
circumstantial evidence in this case identifying Ruth as the perpetrator of the charged
offenses. See Gardner v. State, 306 S.W.3d 274, 285 (Tex. Crim. App. 2009) ("[T]he
State may prove the defendant's identity . . . by either direct or circumstantial evidence,
coupled with all reasonable inferences from that evidence."); see also Hooper, 214
S.W.3d at 13; Kuciemba, 310 S.W.3d at 462. His menacing messages to Vela, the
presence of his car at the scene, and his later appearance at his sister's house, where he
was covered in blood and admitted that he stabbed the "little boy" he "caught" with Vela,
all connect Ruth with the burglaries and the assault.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, we conclude that a
rational jury could have identified Ruth, beyond a reasonable doubt, as the person who
committed the burglaries and aggravated assault. See Jackson, 443 U.S. at 318-19;
Brooks, 323 S.W.3d at 895. Thus, the evidence supporting Ruth's convictions was
legally sufficient in this regard. We overrule his first issue.
III. COMMENT ON POST-ARREST SILENCE
By his second issue, Ruth complains that the State improperly commented on his
post-arrest silence when the prosecutor questioned a police officer "about the police
giving suspects the opportunity to tell police their side of the story." Ruth also complains
that the State improperly commented on his post-arrest silence in its closing argument.
self-incrimination when it comments on his post-arrest silence. Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S.
610, 617-18 (1976). This is because commenting on a defendant's post-arrest silence
raises an inference of guilt in the same way as a comment on his failure to testify at trial.
Dinkins v. State, 894 S.W.2d 330, 356 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995). To determine whether
the State commented on a defendant's exercise of his right to remain silent, we view the
language from the jury's standpoint and the context in which the comment was made and
decide whether the jury would necessarily and naturally take it as a comment on the
defendant's exercise of his constitutional right. See Bustamante v. State, 48 S.W.3d
761, 765 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001).
Ruth points to the following exchange between the State and Harlingen Police
Department Investigator Myriam Anderson as the impermissible comment on his
post-arrest silence during trial:
And like what do you look for that would
corroborate that person's allegation, "I just got
The evidence would be injuries. It would be
witnesses; statements made by the victims; and
in the preliminary investigation, even
statements made by the suspect as well.
Okay. What happens if the suspect is not
If the suspect is not there, later on a step that we
take is to give the suspect the opportunity to
provide a statement to see if there is any
So if a police officer comes to the scene of the
crime and we have somebody acting like that in
the picture there, he's bleeding, actually blood is
gushing out of him and he gives you a
statement, you know, can they assert, "Well,
you only got his side of the story. It's all one
sided"? I mean—
Your Honor, I'm going to object [to the State's
allusion to Ruth's Fifth Amendment right to not
testify] . . . .
However, we have reviewed the testimony preceding this exchange, and the context in
which it occurred negates a conclusion that the State commented on Ruth's post-arrest
In an earlier exchange with defense counsel, Investigator Anderson testified
regarding a domestic violence report Vela had filed in 2003. Defense counsel elicited
testimony from Investigator Anderson that Vela had given conflicting statements in that
report. When defense counsel passed the witness, the State questioned Investigator
Anderson about the standard procedure for processing domestic violence complaints.
Investigator Anderson testified that when the police receive a domestic violence
complaint, they conduct a "field investigation" that involves interviewing "all the parties
present" and "finding possible witnesses." Investigator Anderson testified that victims of
domestic violence often change their stories after the initial complaint and that she does
not necessarily consider that "a lie." Thus, because victim statements are often not
reliable, Officer Anderson typically looks for some sort of corroboration; in other words,
she does not "just take that person's word for it." It was this explanation of investigation
techniques and procedures that led to Investigator Anderson's testimony about looking
for "injuries," "witnesses," victim statements, and "even statements made by the suspect
as well." The prosecution's follow-up comments that "you only got his side of the story"
and "[i]t's all one sided" flowed from their general discussion about how the police take
statements and investigate domestic violence cases and the State's obvious attempt to
rehabilitate Vela as a witness after defense counsel elicited testimony that she may have
lied in a report.
Ruth also complains that the State improperly commented on his post-arrest
silence in its closing argument when it stated, "Now, who else gave us the same
testimony? Well, how about the defendant himself?" What Ruth omits, however, is the
argument preceding and following that statement:
And then there's a fight, and there's blood on the floor. There's a
stabbing. The defendant flees out through the back. And then Joey
[Alcorta] leaves, but then he comes back and he turns back when the police
show up. And then he had two bloody puncture wounds. Again, the
photos also support what he testifies to.
Now who else gave us the same testimony? Well, how about the
defendant himself? The defendant told his sister Cynthia, and Cynthia
then told us how the defendant had told her that he had just finished coming
from Valerie's house and found her with someone and got into with that
person, that he had stabbed that person . . . .
Okay. Up to this point, we have Valerie's testimony consistent with
Joey's testimony that is consistent with Cynthia's testimony . . . .
In context, the complained-of statement is clearly not a comment on Ruth's post-arrest
silence. Instead, it is merely part of the State's summary of the evidence, which included
testimony by Ruth's sister that he essentially admitted the stabbing to her.
Therefore, looking at the context in which the foregoing complained-of exchange
and statement occurred, we cannot conclude that the jury would have necessarily and
naturally taken them as comments on Ruth's post-arrest silence. We overrule Ruth's
IV. ADMISSION OF PRIOR CONVICTION WITHOUT LIMITING INSTRUCTION
By his third issue, Ruth argues that the trial court violated rule of evidence 105 by
refusing to give the jury a limiting instruction when it admitted testimony related to Ruth's
prior conviction. Ruth complains of the following exchange, in particular:
Okay. You mentioned—the question was, did you
know that he had a criminal record?
And what criminal
He's a convict.
He had a burglary charge or
something like that.
Okay. Convict, how do you mean?
He went to prison for like four years.
At this point, Ruth objected and asked for a limiting instruction, specifically that "the jury
be instructed that his prior convictions or arrests are limited just for the purposes of him
not being qualified to be on the application for the apartment complex." The trial court
denied the requested instruction, stating that the "door's been opened on [Ruth's] criminal
Texas Rule of Evidence 105 provides:
When evidence which is admissible as to one party or for one purpose but
not admissible as to another party or for another purpose is admitted, the
court, upon request, shall restrict the evidence to its proper scope and
instruct the jury accordingly; but in the absence of such request the court's
action in admitting such evidence without limitation shall not be ground for
complaint on appeal.
TEX. R. EVID. 105(a). Rulings on evidentiary issues are left to the trial court's sound
The record indicates that Ruth's prior conviction was for robbery.
discretion. See McCarty v. State, 257 S.W.3d 238, 239 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008). A trial
court abuses its discretion when its decision lies outside the zone of reasonable
disagreement. Id. We must uphold the trial court's evidentiary ruling if it is correct
under any applicable theory of law. Trevino v. State, 991 S.W.2d 849, 853 n.5 (Tex.
Crim. App. 1999).
Before the State asked Vela about Ruth's criminal record in re-direct, defense
counsel cross-examined Vela at length about whether she and Ruth had ever lived
together and, through his questioning, attempted to establish that Ruth lived at the
apartment at the time of the alleged burglary. In response to questions from defense
counsel, Vela testified that Ruth began living with her periodically beginning in 2007.
Vela testified that Ruth was never listed on any of the leases for their apartments
"because he's a convict." In connection with this questioning, defense counsel admitted
as evidence a series of documents from the housing authority and apartment complex
informing Vela that they were aware that Ruth was living in the apartment and warning
Vela that Ruth's residence at the apartment was not permitted. One of those documents
was a letter from the apartment complex manager to the housing authority notifying the
housing authority that Ruth had been "repeatedly warned about staying in [Vela's]
apartment without the proper permission."
According to the letter, Ruth told the
apartment complex manager that "he cannot add himself to the lease because he has a
The trial court did not err in admitting Vela's testimony regarding Ruth's prior
conviction without a limiting instruction for two reasons.
First, Ruth's request for a
limiting instruction was untimely. A party must request a limiting instruction at the first
admission of the challenged evidence. Hammock v. State, 46 S.W.3d 889, 892 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2001) (citing Garcia v. State, 887 S.W.2d 862, 878 (Tex. Crim. App. 1994)).
When the opposing party fails to request a limiting instruction at this first opportunity, the
evidence is admitted for all purposes.
This is because "[a]llowing the jury to
consider evidence for all purposes and then telling them to consider that same evidence
for a limited purpose only is asking a jury to do the impossible. If a limiting instruction is
to be given, it must be when the evidence is admitted to be effective." Id. at 894. The
evidence of Ruth's criminal history came in, during Ruth's cross-examination of Vela,
through his own admission into evidence of Vela's various apartment and lease-related
documents and his own solicitation of testimony by Vela that Ruth is a convict. When the
State later questioned Vela about Ruth's criminal history during re-direct, the evidence
had already been before the jury for some time.
Second, the State solicited Vela's testimony about Ruth's criminal history as part of
its efforts to rebut the impression created by defense counsel's questioning that Ruth
lived at the apartment at the time of the burglary. When an extraneous offense is
admissible to prove a main fact in the case, a limiting instruction is not required. Porter v.
State, 709 S.W.2d 213, 215 (Tex. Crim. App. 1986). Here, Ruth's cross-examination of
Vela created the impression that Ruth lived at the apartment and, as such, sowed doubt
as to whether he entered the apartment without Vela's effective consent. This was an
essential element the State was required to prove in the case. See TEX. PENAL CODE
ANN. § 30.02(a); see also DeVaughn v. State, 749 S.W.2d 62, 65 (Tex. Crim. App. 1988)
("The gravamen of the offense of burglary clearly remains entry of a building or habitation
without the effective consent of the owner . . . ."). When the State then questioned Vela
about Ruth's criminal history on re-direct, our review of the testimony indicates that it was
the lead-in to the State's attempts to establish why Ruth did not live at the apartment and,
accordingly, prove that Ruth entered the apartment without the effective consent of the
For these reasons, Ruth was not entitled to a limiting instruction. Because the
trial court's ruling is correct under the foregoing theories of law, we conclude that the court
did not abuse its discretion in admitting Vela's testimony about Ruth's prior conviction
without a limiting instruction. Ruth's third issue is overruled.
V. DOUBLE JEOPARDY
By two issues, Ruth argues that his convictions violate the Double Jeopardy
Clause of the United States Constitution. See U.S. CONST. amend. V. Specifically, by
his fourth issue, Ruth argues that his multiple burglary convictions (counts one and two)
constitute double punishment for a single act; and by his fifth issue, Ruth argues that his
convictions on the first count of burglary (count one, which includes the commission or
attempted commission of assault against Alcorta) and the aggravated assault count
(count three, in which the victim was Alcorta) amount to Blockburger double jeopardy
because proving the burglary charge necessarily required the State to prove all of the
elements of the underlying aggravated assault.3 See id.; Blockburger v. United States,
284 U.S. 299, 304 (1932).
The State asserts that because Ruth did not raise these multiple-punishment double jeopardy
issues in the trial court, he has not preserved them for our review. However, the double jeopardy violations
in this case are apparent on the face of the record and the enforcement of procedural default rules would
serve no legitimate state interest as the convictions at issue happened in the same court, on the same day,
before the same judge, and were based on the same evidence. See Gonzalez v. State, 8 S.W.3d 640, 643
& n.15 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000) (citations omitted). Thus, Ruth may raise them for the first time on appeal.
See id. at 643-44; Langs v. State, 183 S.W.3d 680, 687 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006).
The Fifth Amendment provides that "[n]o person shall be . . . subject for the same
offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb." U.S. CONST. amend. V. "The United
States Supreme Court has concluded that the Fifth Amendment offers three separate
constitutional protections: (1) protection against a second prosecution for the same
offense after acquittal; (2) protection against a second prosecution for the same offense
after conviction; and (3) protection against multiple punishments for the same offense."
Ex parte Cavazos, 203 S.W.3d 333, 336 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006) (citing North Carolina v.
Pearce, 395 U.S. 711, 717 (1969); Lopez v. State, 108 S.W.3d 293, 295-96 (Tex. Crim.
App. 2003)). This case poses issues of multiple punishments for the same offense.
We address first whether Ruth's burglary convictions under counts one and two
violate the Double Jeopardy Clause—we find they do. In Ex parte Cavazos, the court of
criminal appeals reasoned and held as follows:
[A] defendant suffers multiple punishments in violation of the Double
Jeopardy Clause when he is convicted of more offenses than the legislature
intended. However, the Double Jeopardy Clause imposes few, if any,
limitations on the legislative power to establish and define offenses. The
legislature, therefore, determines whether offenses are the same for
double-jeopardy purposes by defining the "allowable unit of prosecution."
The legislature also decides whether a particular course of conduct involves
one or more distinct offenses under a given statute. Consequently, the
scope of the Double Jeopardy Clause's protection against multiple
punishments under the burglary statute depends on ascertaining the
allowable unit of prosecution.
[T]he gravamen of a burglary is the entry without the effective
consent of the owner and with the requisite mental state. This Court has
found that, when a burglary is committed, the harm results from the entry
itself. The offense is complete once the unlawful entry is made, without
regard to whether the intended theft or felony is also completed.
The allowable unit of prosecution for an assaultive offense is each
complainant. Burglary, however, is not an assaultive offense; rather, its
placement within Title 7 [of the penal code] indicates that the legislature
determined burglary to be a crime against property. Thus, the complainant
is not the appropriate allowable unit of prosecution in a burglary[;] rather,
the allowable unit of prosecution in a burglary is the unlawful entry. [A
defendant]'s convictions violate double jeopardy [when] he is punished
multiple times for a single unlawful entry.
203 S.W.3d at 336, 337 (internal citations and quotations omitted). Ruth's two burglary
convictions fit squarely within the foregoing holding. The only difference between the
two counts of conviction is the alleged assault victim. Both counts are based on a single
unlawful entry, and it is that unlawful entry that is the allowable unit of prosecution for
purposes of our constitutional analysis. See id. For this reason, we conclude that
Ruth's convictions on counts one and two constitute multiple punishments for one
unlawful entry and, as such, violate the Fifth Amendment's double jeopardy prohibition.
Ruth's fourth issue is sustained.
With regard to Ruth's second double jeopardy contention, we note that the State
appears to concede that Ruth's convictions for counts one and three violate the
prohibition against double jeopardy.
And we agree.
The Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals has held that
[A] defendant may not be punished for both the underlying felony and
burglary if the burglary allegation is that the defendant entered a home
without the consent of the owner and then committed the underlying felony
within the home as defined in [section] 30.02(a)(3). Thus, the State may
obtain either a burglary or the underlying felony (or theft or assault)
conviction if it alleges a burglary under [s]ection 30.02(a)(3) of the [p]enal
[c]ode, but not both.
Langs v. State, 183 S.W.3d 680, 686 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006) (citations omitted). Here,
through Ruth's convictions for both count one and count three, the State did just that. In
count one, Ruth was convicted, pursuant to penal code section 30.02(a)(3), of entering
Vela's home without her consent and committing or attempting to commit assault against
See TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 30.02(a)(3).
convicted of assaulting Alcorta.
And in count two, Ruth was
The Constitution prohibits this multiple-punishment
scenario. See Langs, 183 S.W.3d at 686; see also Blockburger, 284 U.S. at 304. As
such, we conclude that Ruth's convictions for counts one and three are also multiple
punishments for the same offense, which violate the Fifth Amendment. Ruth's fifth issue
The question remaining is which counts of conviction should be vacated and which
retained.5 "The Supreme Court has directed that when a defendant is convicted in a
single criminal action of two offenses that are the 'same' for double jeopardy purposes,
the remedy is to vacate one of the convictions." Landers v. State, 957 S.W.2d 558, 559
(Tex. Crim. App. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Ex parte Cavazos, 203 S.W.3d at
338 (citing Ball v. United States, 470 U.S. 856, 864-65 (1985)).
In making that
determination, we retain the conviction for the "most serious" offense and set aside the
other. Ex parte Cavazos, 203 S.W.3d at 337. "[T]he 'most serious' offense is the
offense of conviction for which the greatest sentence was assessed."6 Id. at 338.
In this case, the punishments imposed for all three counts of conviction are
An attempted offense is the same offense as the committed offense for purposes of double
jeopardy. See Langs, 183 S.W.3d at 685 (citing Brown v. Ohio, 432 U.S. 161, 168-69 (1977)) (holding that
one of the contexts in which a multiple-punishments claim can arise is "the lesser-included offense context,
in which the same conduct is punished twice; once for the basic conduct, and a second time for that same
conduct plus more (for example, attempted assault of Y and assault of Y; assault of X and aggravated
assault of X)").
In its brief, the State suggests that this Court "dismiss Count One of the indictment" and posits
that "[i]n dismissing Count one of the indictment[,] the allegations contained in Counts two and three are no
longer issues of double jeopardy." While we agree with the State that this would, indeed, remedy the
double jeopardy issues posed by Ruth's convictions, the State cites no authority for its suggestion and does
not otherwise explain why dismissing count one would be the correct course of action. And for the reasons
discussed infra, we conclude that dismissing count one is not, in fact, the correct disposition in this case.
In Ex parte Cavazos, the defendant was sentenced to twenty-five years' incarceration for both
burglary offenses; the court determined that the conviction that included $122.00 in restitution was the most
serious offense and retained that conviction. 203 S.W.3d 333, 338-39 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006).
identical: for each offense, Ruth was sentenced to thirty-five years' incarceration, no fine
was assessed, and no restitution was ordered. Thus, no offense in this case is "more
serious" than any other.7 In Ex parte Cavazos, however, the court of criminal appeals
appears to have left one door open. The court noted that "[s]ome of our case law
suggests that, all other factors being equal, the conviction that should be affirmed is the
offense named in the first verdict form" and that, "[g]enerally, this will be the offense
described in Count I of the indictment." Id. at 339 n.8 (citing Ex parte Cravens, 805
S.W.2d 790, 791 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991); Ex parte Siller, 686 S.W.2d 617, 620 (Tex. Crim.
App. 1985)) (other citations omitted). Because we face an unsettled question in the case
before us and because the court of criminal appeals expressly declined to address the
issue in Ex parte Cavazos, see id., we choose to return to the approach favored by earlier
case law and retain the first-indicted offense. See Ex parte Cravens, 805 S.W.2d at 791;
Ex parte Siller, 686 S.W.2d at 620; see also Scroggs v. State, Nos. 07-07-0453-CR,
07-07-0454-CR, 2010 WL 1993676, at *12 (Tex. App.—Amarillo May 19, 2010, pet.
dism'd) (breaking the tie by retaining first-indicted conviction); Pinkston v. State, No.
02-08-165-CR, 2009 WL 2414373, at *7 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Aug. 6, 2009, no pet.)
(mem. op., not designated for publication) (same).
Thus, as between Ruth's two burglary convictions, we set aside count two
(unlawful entry without Vela's consent and the assault or attempted assault of Vela) and
Neither do the convictions in this case include any distinguishing factor utilized by the courts since
Ex parte Cavazos for other seemingly identical sentences, such as: a differing degree of felony between
the convictions, see Bigon v. State, 252 S.W.3d 360, 373 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008); an affirmative finding of
the use of a deadly weapon in one conviction over another, see Villanueva v. State, 227 S.W.3d 744, 749
(Tex. Crim. App. 2007); or one conviction was a second-degree felony enhanced to a first-degree, whereas
the other was an unenhanced first-degree felony, see Williams v. State, 240 S.W.3d 293, 301-02 (Tex.
App.—Austin 2007, no pet.).
retain count one (unlawful entry without Vela's consent and the assault or attempted
assault of Alcorta). Then, as between Ruth's count one burglary conviction and count
three assault conviction, we set aside count three and retain count one.
We vacate and dismiss counts two and three of Ruth's conviction and affirm count
NELDA V. RODRIGUEZ
Do not publish.
TEX. R. APP. P. 47.2(b).
Delivered and filed the 29th
day of August, 2011.