Gutierrez v. Saenz, No. 21-70009 (5th Cir. 2024)Annotate this Case
In 1999, Ruben Gutierrez was convicted of capital murder in a Texas state court and sentenced to death. Since 2011, Gutierrez’s efforts to secure post-conviction DNA testing have been denied in state and federal court. In this federal case, Gutierrez claimed that a certain limitation in Texas’s DNA testing statute was unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, however, ultimately concluded that Gutierrez did not have standing to make this claim. The court found that even if the DNA testing statute was declared unconstitutional, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had already held that Gutierrez would have no right to DNA testing. The court reasoned that any new evidence would not overcome the overwhelming evidence of Gutierrez's direct involvement in the multi-assailant murder. Therefore, the Fifth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded for the complaint to be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.