Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Decisions 2015

Mays v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: December 16, 2015
Docket Number: AP-77,055

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Randall Mays was convicted for the capital murder of a law enforcement officer, for which he received a death sentence. He challenged his competency to be executed, but the trial court denied his motion because...

Texas v. Rendon (original by judge alcala)  
Date: December 16, 2015
Docket Numbers: PD-0013-15, PD-0015-15

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2012, law-enforcement officers in Victoria were investigating appellee Michael Rendon on suspicion of drug activity. One day, several officers and a trained drug-detection dog went to the apartment complex where appel...

Donaldson v. Texas (original by judge newell)  
Date: December 16, 2015
Docket Numbers: PD-0572-14, PD-0573-14

Justia Opinion Summary: The State charged appellant with one count of making a false statement to obtain property or credit, three counts of tampering with a governmental record, and one count of falsely holding oneself out as a lawyer. Two of...

Green v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: December 16, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0738-14

Justia Opinion Summary: The court of appeals reversed appellant Joseph Green's conviction for the aggravated assault of a child based on its conclusion that the trial court's instructions to the jury were erroneous and harmful to appellant. The...

Ford v. Texas (original by judge newell)  
Date: December 16, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1396-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Jon Ford, and the murder victim in this case, Dana Edwards, started dating in 2007. The couple did not live together, but both lived in Alamo Heights. By mid-summer 2008 they were drifting apart. Dana ended the...

Faust v. Texas (original by judge richardson)  
Date: December 9, 2015
Docket Numbers: PD-0893-14, PD-0894-14

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2012, appellants Joey Faust and Ramon Marroquin, while protesting at a gay pride parade, each disobeyed a police officer’s order to not cross a skirmish line, resulting in their arrest for the offense of Interference...

Johnson v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: November 18, 2015
Docket Number: AP-77,030

Justia Opinion Summary: In October 2013, a jury convicted appellant Matthew Johnson of capital murder for intentionally causing the death of Nancy Harris, a seventy-six-year-old convenience store clerk, by setting her on fire while he was robbi...

Texas v. Wachtendorf (original by judge yeary)  
Date: November 18, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0280-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellee John Wachtendorf, Jr. was charged with the felony offense of Driving While Intoxicated. According to the district clerk’s file-mark, on January 16, 2014, Appellee filed a motion to suppress the results of a test...

DURHAM, WILLIAM EARL Appeal from ... of Liberty County (other per curiam)
Date: November 11, 2015
Docket Number: WR-30,830-16
McKay v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: November 4, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1133-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Cody McKay was convicted of injury to a child with the culpable mental state of criminal negligence after spilling hot water on the back of the two-year-old victim. Appellant was sentenced to two years’ impriso...

Texas v. Reyes (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: November 4, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1277-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellee Juan Reyes petitioned for habeas relief, attacking a judgment that imposed community supervision. In support of his application, appellee raised five grounds. Evidence supporting all of these grounds was submitt...

In re Hector Medina (original by judge newell)  
Date: November 4, 2015
Docket Number: WR-75,835-02

Justia Opinion Summary: Relator was convicted of capital murder for killing his two children, Javier and Diana Medina. The Office of Capital Writs filed an initial writ of habeas corpus application with the convicting court on relator’s behalf....

Ex party Barnaby (original per curiam)  
Date: November 4, 2015
Docket Number: WR-80,099-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Applicant Kemos Barnaby plead guilty in a package deal to four separate offenses of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and was sentenced to four concurrent fifty-year sentences. In his applicatio...

Swearingen v. Texas (original by judge keasler)  
Date: October 28, 2015
Docket Number: AP-77,043

Justia Opinion Summary: The trial judge granted Larry Swearingen’s request for post-conviction DNA testing of several pieces of evidence under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 64. The judge also conditionally granted Swearingen’s motion...

Ramsey v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: October 28, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0070-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was found guilty of forgery, and on appeal the court of appeals reversed the conviction, holding that the evidence was insufficient because there was no proof that Appellant had the intent to defraud or harm an...

Nowlin v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: October 28, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0840-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of hindering apprehension after encouraging her boyfriend, Demarcus Degrate, to run from United States Marshals who were arresting him. Because the State alleged that Appellant knew that Degrate w...

Owens v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: October 28, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0967-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Charles Owens was charged with felony murder after he led police on a high-speed chase during which he hit two vehicles and killed one of the drivers. Before trial, he filed a motion arguing that he was incompe...

Fournier v. Texas (original by judge keasler)  
Date: October 28, 2015
Docket Number: WR-82,102-01

Justia Opinion Summary: After being convicted and sentenced for online solicitation of a minor, Curtis Fournier and Christopher Dowden filed applications for a writ of habeas corpus. In addition to seeking relief based on the Court of Criminal...

Douds v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: October 14, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0857-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant-appellant Kenneth Douds was arrested for drunk driving. He challenged the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress blood-specimen evidence that was admitted at trial. He asserted both that: (1) the statut...

Beltran v. Texas (original by judge richardson)  
Date: October 14, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1076-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Ricardo Beltran was convicted by a jury of murder and sentenced to seventy years. On direct appeal, Beltran asserted that the trial court erred in denying his request for an instruction on sudden passion. The Fifth Court...

Texas v. Johnson (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: October 7, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0228-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Twenty-six years ago, the United States Supreme Court held that the prosecution of Gregory Johnson under the Texas flag-desecration statute for burning an American flag violated the First Amendment. Texas has since revis...

Cornwell v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: October 7, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1501-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Robert Cornwell was convicted of impersonating an assistant district attorney and sentenced to two years’ confinement in the penitentiary. The Ninth Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction, holding that the ev...

Ex parte Derrick Cooke (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: October 7, 2015
Docket Number: WR-81,360-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Applicant Derrick Cooke was placed on deferred adjudication for family-violence assault, and he was later adjudicated. He argued on appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals that a prior New Mexico conviction was improperl...

Rodriguez v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: September 23, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0278-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was charged with ten counts of sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child. Based on the advice of his counsel, he declined the State’s plea bargain recommending a ten-year sentence and proceeded to tr...

Rodriguez v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: September 23, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0278-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was charged with ten counts of sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child. Based on the advice of his counsel, he declined the State’s plea bargain recommending a ten-year sentence and proceeded to tr...

Liverman v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: September 23, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1596-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellants filed mechanic’s lien affidavits with the Denton County Clerk’s Office, which alleged that they had performed “labor and/or materials” worth a certain amount of money on the home of Katheryn Payne. As a result...

Guthrie-Nail v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: September 16, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0125-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was indicted for capital murder and conspiracy to commit capital murder. After a few days of trial testimony, the parties reached an agreement: The State waived the capital-murder charge in exchange for appella...

Blasdell v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: September 16, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0162-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was charged with aggravated robbery. The only dispute at trial was the identity of the assailant. To prove that the eyewitness misidentified Appellant, the defense called a forensic psychologist, Dr. Steven Rub...

Jaganathan v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: September 16, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1189-14

Justia Opinion Summary: The traffic stop at issue occurred mid-afternoon, while State Trooper Thomas Norsworthy was patrolling an eastbound section of Interstate 10. The relevant events were captured on video from the dashboard camera in the tr...

Ex parte Bobby Moore (original by judge johnson)  
Date: September 16, 2015
Docket Number: WR-13,374-05

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1980, appellant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for fatally shooting a seventy-year-old grocery clerk while committing or attempting to commit robbery. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the...

Peraza v. Texas (original by judge richardson)  
Date: July 1, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0100-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Osmin Peraza was indicted in Harris County under separate case numbers for two instances of aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of fourteen. After Peraza pled guilty to the two offenses, the trial court as...

Salinas v. Texas (original by judge johnson)  
Date: July 1, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0419-14

Justia Opinion Summary: A Harris County jury convicted Appellant Orlando Salinas of causing injury to an elderly individual, for which he was sentenced to five years in prison. After sentencing appellant, the trial court assessed a consolidated...

Robinson v. Texas (original by judge keasler)  
Date: July 1, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0421-14

Justia Opinion Summary: The court of appeals affirmed appellant Leo Robinson's conviction for failing to report under the sex-offender registration requirements. The issue this case presented for the Court of Criminal Appeals' review centered o...

Speights v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: July 1, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0543-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of two counts of indecency with a child. On appeal he contended that his conviction for indecency with a child by exposure improperly subjected him to double jeopardy. The court of appeals agreed,...

Texas v. Jackson (original by judge yeary)  
Date: July 1, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0823-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Law enforcement officers, suspecting Appellee of drug trafficking, placed a global positioning system (GPS) tracking device on his car in an attempt to ascertain when and where he was obtaining his supply. They monitored...

Stairhime v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: July 1, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1071-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was indicted for murder. The jury ultimately convicted assessed his punishment at forty-three years’ confinement in the penitentiary. He raised four points of error on appeal, all of which the court of appeals...

Peyronel v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: June 24, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1274-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child under fourteen years of age. The jury fined him $10,000 and sentenced him to fifty years in the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas Department o...

Smith v. Texas (original by judge johnson)  
Date: June 24, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1790-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was an instructor for a life-guarding class at a club swimming pool where the complainant worked as a receptionist during that summer. The two became involved in a romantic relationship that involved sexual con...

Cortez v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: June 17, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0501-14

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Court of Criminal Appeals' review centered on whether the application paragraph in jury instructions was properly phrased. In his petition for discretionary review, appellant Damien...

Ex parte Rodriguez (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: June 17, 2015
Docket Number: WR-58,474-02

Justia Opinion Summary: On or about March 25, 1995, applicant shot and killed Alexander Lopez. Applicant was sixteen years of age at the time. As a result of that incident, the State filed a juvenile-delinquency petition. On April 26, the State...

Ex parte DeLaCruz (original by judge alcala)  
Date: June 17, 2015
Docket Number: WR-76,781-01

Justia Opinion Summary: In November 1998, police discovered the body of Jorge Pena while on early morning patrol in a secluded area of the Baytown Nature Center. Pena was found lying face down in a pool of blood with an apparent gunshot wound t...

Ex parte Thomas Castillo (original by judge hervey)  
Date: June 3, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0545-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Thomas Castillo was convicted of burglary and aggravated assault for his attack on his estranged wife and a man with whom she lived following separation. Appellant was charged in two separate indictments return...

Phillips v. Texas (original by judge richardson)  
Date: June 3, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0789-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant, Christopher Allen Phillips, was convicted of aggravated robbery. On appeal, Phillips argued that the trial court erred by failing to include an instruction in the jury charge pursuant to the jailhouse-witness...

Paderes v. Texas (original by judge newell)  
Date: June 3, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1043-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant, a member of the Houston-area SPPL street gang, gathered a group of gang members and entered the apartment of Rafael Sanchez Cantu and Abelardo Sanchez to attempt to steal money and drugs. In the course of the...

RENTERIA, MOISES Appeal from 188th of Gregg County (other per curiam)
Date: May 20, 2015
Docket Number: WR-83,119-01
Texas v. Cruz (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: May 13, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0082-14

Justia Opinion Summary: A taco-stand operator was shot and killed in Austin. The police recovered a soft-drink bottle that a witness said had been handled by the shooter. The fingerprint was matched to an individual who was variously known as J...

Maldonado v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: May 13, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0542-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Anthony Maldonado was convicted of twelve counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child and sentenced to life in prison. The court of appeals vacated two of the convictions for indec...

Tapia v. Texas (original by judge richardson)  
Date: May 13, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0729-14

Justia Opinion Summary: On two separate occasions appellant was brought before the trial court on motions to revoke deferred adjudication community supervision and adjudicate guilt. The Court of Criminal Appeals granted discretionary review to...

Ex parte Vela (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: May 13, 2015
Docket Number: WR-37,070-02

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for Court of Criminal Appeals' review centered on what effect granting a new punishment hearing had on a stacking order. Applicant was convicted of aggravated robbery and sentenced to life i...

In re Allen (original by judge keasler)  
Date: May 13, 2015
Docket Number: WR-82,265-02

Justia Opinion Summary: In two capital-murder cases, Tyrone Allen sought a pretrial hearing requesting the trial judge determine whether he was intellectually disabled and therefore exempt from the death penalty if convicted. Over the State’s o...

Absalon v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: April 29, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0340-14

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2012, Appellant was convicted of the 1984 murder of Ginger Hayden. During Appellant’s trial, several people who had participated in substance-abuse treatment with him were permitted to testify that he had confessed to...

Texas v. Le (original by judge newell)  
Date: April 29, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0605-14

Justia Opinion Summary: In November 2012, a sergeant from Harris County Sheriff’s Department received a tip from a "concerned citizen" that suspicious activity was taking place in a two-story house at 8603 Jubilee Drive in Houston. Police condu...

Raby v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: April 22, 2015
Docket Number: AP-76,970

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Appellant filed a motion for post-conviction DNA testing pursuant to Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 64, which the trial court denied. The Court of Cri...

Granger v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: April 22, 2015
Docket Number: AP-77,017

Justia Opinion Summary: In April 2013, a jury convicted appellant of capital murder for the March 2012 death of Minnie Ray Sebolt. Pursuant to the jury’s answers to the special issues set forth in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 37.071...

Ehake v. Texas (original by judge johnson)  
Date: April 22, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0071-14

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury convicted appellant of possession of more than one gram but less than four grams of methamphetamine in a drug-free zone and, because of two enhancement allegations and the drug-free-zone allegation, assessed a sen...

Butler v. Texas (original by judge yeary)  
Date: April 22, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0456-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of the aggravated kidnapping of his girlfriend, Ashley Salas. On direct appeal, he complained that the trial court admitted certain text messages into evidence that Appellant claimed were not prop...

Nelson v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: April 15, 2015
Docket Number: AP-76,924

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2011, a then-24-year-old appellant-probationer Steven Nelson entered NorthPointe Baptist Church in Arlington, assaulted and suffocated its pastor and assaulted its secretary. While there, appellant stole a laptop, a c...

Miller v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: April 15, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0038-14

Justia Opinion Summary: The Court of Criminal Appeals granted the State’s petition for review to decide whether the corpus delicti rule was satisfied in this case, and whether the rule continues to serve its intended purpose in this state’s jur...

Price v. Texas (original by judge johnson)  
Date: April 15, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0383-14

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury convicted appellant Eric Price of third-degree felony family-violence assault. Appellant pled true to the enhancement and habitual allegations, and was sentenced to fifty years in prison. Appellant appealed, argui...

Murray v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: April 15, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1230-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Chad Murray was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and was convicted by a jury. He was sentenced to one-year confinement in the county jail and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. His sentence of conf...

Benson v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: April 15, 2015
Docket Number: WR-81,764-01

Justia Opinion Summary: Applicant was convicted of both intoxication assault and felony DWI. These convictions arose from the same incident, a traffic accident on October 17, 2010 in which Charles Bundrant suffered serious bodily injury. The fe...

Texas v. Heilman (original by judge keasler)  
Date: March 18, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1591-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Eric Heilman pled guilty to misdemeanor tampering with a governmental record after the relevant two-year statute of limitations had expired. In October 2008, Heilman was serving as an officer with the Beaumont Police Dep...

Kachel v. Texas (original by judge keasler)  
Date: March 18, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1649-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The State charged Donnie Kachel with indecency with a child by exposure. After initially denying his presence at the scene, Kachel admitted to changing clothes in the street outside the victim’s home, but claimed that he...

Kachel v. Texas (original by judge keasler)  
Date: March 18, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1649-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The State charged Donnie Kachel with indecency with a child by exposure. After initially denying his presence at the scene, Kachel admitted to changing clothes in the street outside the victim’s home, but claimed that he...

Cade v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: February 25, 2015
Docket Number: AP-76,883

Justia Opinion Summary: In August 2012, a jury convicted Appellant Tyrone Cade of capital murder for stabbing his girlfriend and her teenaged daughter to death during the same criminal transaction or pursuant to the same scheme or course of con...

Meadows v. Texas (original by judge johnson)  
Date: February 25, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0175-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was convicted of robbing two employees of a restaurant before opening for business that day. Appellant testified at the guilt phase. A jury convicted appellant of two counts of aggravated robbery. The jury then...

Rodriguez v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: February 25, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1189-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant was charged with felony murder with injury to a child as the underlying offense. The Court of Criminal Appeals determined that the evidence was insufficient to support the felony murder conviction, but that the...

Villarreal v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: February 4, 2015
Docket Number: PD-0332-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In September 2010, appellant Rene Villarreal was arrested and charged with the murder of Christopher Martinez. The issue presented for the Court of Criminal Appeals' review centered on whether a defendant has suffered eg...

Riles v. Texas (original by judge meyers)  
Date: February 4, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1757-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Tawona Riles pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Adjudication was deferred, and appellant was granted community supervision. After a year and a half, her community superv...

Kirk v. Texas (original by presiding judge keller)  
Date: January 28, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1197-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The trial court revoked appellant’s deferred-adjudication probation, adjudicated him guilty of aggravated robbery, and sentenced him to eight years’ imprisonment. Appellant’s sentence was imposed in open court on March 7...

Butcher v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: January 28, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1662-13

Justia Opinion Summary: In the pre-dawn hours of a September day in 2009, the nine-year-old complainant (JG) was walking alone down a long, dark, desolate driveway by herself from her condominium complex to her school bus stop. Appellant approa...

Arrington v. Texas (original by judge alcala)  
Date: January 14, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1448-13

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Court of Criminal Appeals' review centered on whether a defendant suffers egregious harm from erroneous jury instructions permitting a non-unanimous verdict when the jury faced with...

Mercer v. Texas (original by judge hervey)  
Date: January 14, 2015
Docket Number: PD-1711-13

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Melissa Mercer pled guilty to debit-card abuse and was placed on community supervision for five years. On numerous occasions, the trial court amended Appellant’s conditions of community supervision sua sponte a...

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