State v. HernandezAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals reversing Defendant's conviction on the basis that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to give a Willits instruction under the circumstances of this case, holding that law enforcement's failure to collect putative fingerprint and DNA evidence did not warrant a Willits instruction.
Defendant was charged with one count of fleeing from a law enforcement vehicle. Before trial, Defendant requested a Willits instruction, arguing that the State's failure to collect DNA and fingerprint evidence from the vehicle he had allegedly been driving deprived him of a fair trial. The trial court denied the request, and the jury found Defendant guilty. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Defendant was entitled to a Willits instruction. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' opinion and affirmed Defendant's conviction, holding that the State's failure to gather every conceivable piece of physical evidence in this case did not require a Willits instruction.