John Wayne Jackson v. The State of Texas--Appeal from 84th District Court of Hutchinson CountyAnnotate this Case
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SEVENTH DISTRICT OF TEXAS
JOHN WAYNE JACKSON, APPELLANT
THE STATE OF TEXAS, APPELLEE
FROM THE 84TH DISTRICT COURT OF HUTCHINSON COUNTY;
NO. 10036; HONORABLE WILLIAM D. SMITH, JUDGE
Before QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.
Appellant, John Wayne Jackson, was convicted by a jury of aggravated sexual
assault of a child and indecency of a child by contact. He received respective sentences
of thirty-five years and twenty years confinement to run concurrently. In a single point of
error, Appellant contends the trial court erred in its determination that his confession was
voluntary. We affirm.
On October 11, 2007, the Hutchinson County Grand Jury indicted Appellant for
aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by contact. On October
24, 2007, Appellant filed a motion to suppress his confession because his statements were
involuntary, i.e., coerced and enticed.
On November 28, 2007, the trial court held a suppression hearing on Appellant’s
motion. Detective Jerod Carr was the sole witness. Detective Carr testified that, on
October 4, 2007, he went to Appellant’s house shortly before 5:00 p.m. and arrested him
pursuant to a warrant. Appellant was nineteen years old and indicated he had smoked
marihuana earlier that day. When they arrived at the police station, he was given his
Miranda rights.1 From the time of his arrest through booking, he cried off and on. Initially,
he denied any wrongdoing, however, after less than an hour of questioning, he admitted
he had sexually assaulted the victim. After his admission, Detective Carr placed him in an
interrogation room and started videotaping his confession at 5:30 p.m.
At the outset of the videotape, Detective Carr again read Appellant his rights and
indicated that Appellant could terminate the interview at any time. Appellant initialed the
See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966).
rights he was given and signed a written statement of his rights. He also signed a
statement indicating that all his statements were voluntary. Detective Carr reiterated that
Appellant was free to answer his questions or not. In the twenty-seven minute interview,
Appellant confessed to sexually assaulting the victim.
After a psychiatric evaluation and hearing, on February 6, 2008, Appellant was
adjudged competent to stand trial. On March 31, 2008, Appellant was tried before the
court and found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child by contact.
This appeal followed.
Appellant contends his confession was not voluntary because, at the time of his
statements, Detective Carr was wearing his gun and Appellant was suffering from a mental
disorder, scared, and crying.
We review a trial court’s ruling on a motion to suppress evidence under a bifurcated
standard of review. Amador v. State, 221 S.W.3d 666, 673 (Tex.Crim.App. 2007). The
trial judge is the sole trier of fact and judge of the credibility of the witnesses and the weight
to be given their testimony. Wiede v. State, 214 S.W.3d 17, 24-25 (Tex.Crim.App. 2007).
Therefore, we give almost total deference to the trial court’s rulings on questions of
historical fact and application of law-to-fact questions that turn on an evaluation of
credibility and demeanor. Amador, 221 S.W.3d at 673. However, when application of law-
to-fact questions do not turn on the credibility and demeanor of the witnesses, we review
the trial court’s rulings on those questions de novo. Id.
The statement of the accused may be used in evidence if it was freely and
voluntarily made without compulsion or persuasion. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 38.21
(Vernon 2005). In deciding whether a statement was voluntary, we consider the totality of
the circumstances in which the statement was obtained. Creager v. State, 952 S.W.2d
852, 855 (Tex.Crim.App. 1997). A confession is involuntary if circumstances show that the
defendant’s will was “overborne” by police coercion. Id. at 856. The defendant’s will may
be “overborne” if the record shows that there was “official, coercive conduct of such a
nature” that a statement from the defendant was “unlikely to have been the product of an
essentially free and unconstrained choice by its maker.” Alvarado v. State, 912 S.W.2d
199, 211 (Tex.Crim.App. 1995).
Based on the evidence provided at the suppression hearing, the totality of
circumstances show that Appellant knowingly and voluntarily gave his statement after
being given his Miranda warnings. The record does not show that Appellant was under
duress or that Detective Carr coerced him by using improper promises or undue physical
or mental influence. The interview was relatively short, lasting less than an hour, and was
not taken in abnormally adverse conditions.2 At no point did Appellant request an attorney
or indicate that he wanted to terminate the interview.
There is nothing inherently inappropriate about the nature of police questioning in
this case. “Courts have long acknowledged the legitimate role of interrogation in the
investigation of crime.” Vasquez v. State, 179 S.W.3d 646, 657 n.7 (Tex.App.–Austin
2005), aff’d, 225 S.W.3d 541 (Tex.Crim.App. 2007). A defendant’s mental condition alone
is not determinative of the voluntariness of the confession but is only one factor to be
considered. Penry v. State, 903 S.W.2d 715, 744 (Tex.Crim.App. 1995), cert. denied, 516
U.S. 977, 116 S.Ct. 480, 133 L.Ed.2d 408 (1995). The question becomes one of whether
the accused’s mental impairment is so great that it rendered him incapable of
understanding the meaning and effect of his statement. Casias v. State, 452 S.W.2d 483,
488 (Tex.Crim.App. 1970). Further, while emotional confusion brought about by the stress
of the situation is relevant to the voluntariness determination, it is only one of the
circumstances to be considered. Licon v. State, 99 S.W.3d 918, 925-26 (Tex.App.–El
Paso 2003, no pet.) (“mere emotionalism or confusion alone will not render a confession
Appellant’s demeanor throughout the interview was calm and lucid. He did not
appear delusional or under the influence of drugs. Detective Carr testified that Appellant’s
Texas courts have found confessions to be voluntary under far m ore coercive circum stances than
are found here. See Giddens v. State, 256 S.W .3d 426, 431 (Tex.App.–W aco 2008, pet. ref’d) (collected
cases cited therein).
fear stemmed from “what he had done and the consequences,” not the result of
mistreatment. Viewing the evidence in its totality, we find the trial court did not abuse its
discretion in denying Appellant’s motion to suppress. Appellant’s sole point of error is
The trial court’s judgment is affirmed.
Patrick A. Pirtle
Do not publish.