Sarcher Chase Bass v. State of Texas--Appeal from 227th Judicial District Court of Bexar County

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No. 04-00-00393-CR

Sarcher Chase BASS,
The STATE of Texas,
From the 227th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas
Trial Court No. 1999-CR-5583
Honorable Philip Kazen, Judge Presiding

Opinion by: Paul W. Green, Justice

Sitting: Phil Hardberger, Chief Justice

Catherine Stone, Justice

Paul W. Green, Justice

Delivered and Filed: August 29, 2001


A jury convicted Sarcher Bass of theft under $1500 enhanced to a felony by two prior misdemeanor theft convictions. The trial court sentenced her to two years in jail and a $2500 fine. Bass contends the evidence is insufficient to support enhancement of the charge from misdemeanor theft to a State jail felony. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

Background To support enhancement of the theft charge, the State introduced two prior misdemeanor theft judgments and two jail booking slips in the name of Sarah Chase. Trial counsel for Bass objected the judgments lacked evidentiary value because they were not in Bass's name and they contained no identifiable fingerprints. A fingerprint examiner for the State, Richard Meuse, testified the fingerprints on the booking slips matched those of Sarcher Bass. He further testified the arrest dates, cause numbers, and offense types on the booking slips matched the information in each of the prior judgments, thus linking Sarcher Bass to those prior convictions.

Standard of Review

In determining the legal sufficiency of enhancement evidence, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's answer and determine whether a rational trier of fact could have found punishment enhancement evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Martinez v. State, 980 S.W.2d 662, 664 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 1998, pet. ref'd) (citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979)). If we are presented with conflicting inferences or evidence, we must presume the jury resolved the conflict in favor of the State. Matchett v. State, 941 S.W.2d 922, 936 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996).

Sufficiency of Enhancement Evidence

The State has the burden of proof to establish the defendant is the same person convicted of theft in the two prior judgments as alleged in the indictment. Rios v. State, 557 S.W.2d 87, 92 (Tex. Crim. App. 1977). Sufficiency of the evidence is established on a case by case basis, and there are no exclusive means of proof for establishing identity. Littles v. State, 726 S.W.2d 26, 32 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987) (on rehearing). Because the judgments relied upon for enhancement are in the name of Sarah Chase and lack sufficient fingerprints, Bass argues there is insufficient evidence to establish she is the same person convicted of the two prior offenses.

The fact that the name of the defendant on judgments of prior convictions is different from the name of the defendant on trial is irrelevant if other evidence establishes the person on trial is the same person previously convicted. Rios, 557 S.W.2d at 92; Garza v. State, 548 S.W.2d 55, 56 (Tex. Crim. App. 1977). The booking forms were linked to Sarcher Bass by the use of a fingerprint expert. Next, the booking forms were connected to each of the judgments by their common identifiers, offense types, arrest dates, and cause numbers. The common identifiers and fingerprints thus linked Sarcher Bass to Sarah Chase. This method of proving identity has consistently been held sufficient. Elliot v. State, 858 S.W.2d 478, 488 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993); Human v. State, 749 S.W.2d 832, 838-40 (Tex. Crim. App. 1988). A rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt Sarcher Bass is the same person who was twice previously convicted; therefore, we overrule Bass's sole issue.


Because we hold the evidence was sufficient to support the finding of enhancement, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

Paul W. Green, Justice