Hernandez v. Texas (original by judge keel)Annotate this Case
Appellant Luis Hernandez was convicted of murder and sentenced to fourteen years in prison. The victim, Devin Toler, was sleeping with Quionecia Barber, the wife of his neighbor, Appellant. After Appellant learned of the affair, he and Toler had several verbal confrontations. Barber turned her back to chase after her toddler, and by the time she returned, the fist-fight had ended, and Appellant had gone back to his apartment. Toler then collapsed to the ground. Barber saw blood coming from a wound on Toler’s chest and called 911. Paramedics administered first aid and transported Toler to the hospital, but he died. The issue before the Court of Criminal Appeal in this matter was whether he preserved his complaint about the State’s jury argument even though he did not pursue his objection to an adverse ruling. The Court granted the State Prosecuting Attorney’s petition for discretionary review to determine whether the right not to be subjected to improper jury argument is forfeitable and whether there was a word so inflammatory that its mention in closing argument when unsupported by the evidence incurably tainted the entire trial. The Court held that the right is forfeitable and that the mention of even a very inflammatory word that is outside the record does not dispense with error preservation requirements. Consequently, the Court reversed the court of appeals.