Leoneseo Sanchez v. The State of Texas--Appeal from 140th District Court of Lubbock CountyAnnotate this Case
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SEVENTH DISTRICT OF TEXAS
OCTOBER 15, 2008
THE STATE OF TEXAS,
FROM THE 140TH DISTRICT COURT OF LUBBOCK COUNTY;
NO. 2007-415,499; HON. JIM BOB DARNELL, PRESIDING
Before QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and HANCOCK, JJ.
Leoneseo Sanchez appeals his convictions on two counts of aggravated assault
with a deadly weapon. Three issues lay before us. He initially contends that his two
convictions violated his right against double jeopardy. Then, he argues that the trial court
erred in allowing the investigating officers to reiterate at trial what the victim said to them,
and in doing so, the trial court both denied him his right to confront witnesses and violated
the hearsay rule. We affirm the judgment.
Issue 1 - Double Jeopardy
Appellant argues in his first issue that his conviction on both counts of aggravated
assault with a deadly weapon subjected him to violation of his right against double
jeopardy. The State had charged him with 1) intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly
causing bodily injury to Melinda Aguilar (his girlfriend) by striking her with a hard object and
using a firearm which in the manner of its use or intended use was capable of causing
death and serious bodily injury, and 2) intentionally and knowingly threatening her with
imminent bodily injury and using a deadly weapon that in the manner of its use or intended
use was capable of causing death and serious bodily injury. It is appellant’s contention that
these allegations are merely two alternative ways of committing one crime which subjected
him to punishment twice for that crime. We disagree and overrule the issue.
The protection against double jeopardy is inapplicable where separate and distinct
offenses occur in the same transaction. Spradling v. State, 773 S.W.2d 553, 556 (Tex.
Crim. App. 1989). This is true even if the acts are committed close in time to one another.
Hutchins v. State, 992 S.W.2d 629, 633 (Tex. App.–Austin 1999, pet. ref’d, untimely filed);
see Marcotte v. State, No. 07-01-0418-CR, 2003 Tex. App. LEXIS 225 at *6 (Tex. App.–
Amarillo January 10, 2003, no pet.) (not designated for publication). And, that is the
Assault may be committed in several ways. One is to intentionally, knowingly or
recklessly cause bodily injury to someone. TEX . PEN . CODE ANN . §22.01(a)(1) (Vernon
Supp. 2008). Another is to intentionally or knowingly threaten someone with imminent
bodily injury. Id. §22.01(a)(2). Moreover, these crimes may become “aggravated” under
the Penal Code either when they cause serious bodily injury or the actor uses or exhibits
a deadly weapon during their commission. Id. §22.02(a)(1) & (2). According to the State,
one of each occurred during appellant’s two hour attack upon Aguilar, and because they
were distinct offenses, double jeopardy did not apply.
The record before us reveals that Aguilar told the jury that appellant began
assaulting her in her “boy’s” room. She was removing a suitcase from the closet when
appellant struck her. She was then dragged by the hair into the middle of the room where
he continued his attack. Eventually, the couple found themselves in Aguilar’s bedroom.
Once there, appellant retrieved a handgun from the closet and hit Aguilar with it on her
head. This blow resulted in her suffering a gash on her head which began bleeding.
According to the victim, “[t]here was like blood everywhere . . . . ” Around this time, she
also heard the “snap” of the gun being fired, though no projectile was discharged.
Soon, appellant told Aguilar to enter the shower and wash off the blood on her. She
complied, and as she did, she would peer out the sliding shower doors and see the bullets
and gun. Furthermore, during this break from the physical assault, appellant was notably
calm at times. And, when calm, he would also appear penitent. Yet, Aguilar noticed that
he would “flare up all over again”; “. . . it was just going kind of back and forth.” It was at
this time, appellant stated that 1) there were two bullets in the gun, and “one was for [her]
and one was for him,” and 2) he was going to leave but that she should not call the police
because by the time she did, “he could have already . . . hurt somebody in my family, or
Next, Aguilar was directed by appellant to exit the shower and get in bed. After she
did, he spoke of seeing demons and “smiling” spirits in the room. Aguilar invited him to
pray with her, at which time appellant grew calm, asked how her injuries had happened,
and fell asleep.
In considering the aforementioned evidence, we note various stages to the incident.
The first involved actual, physical violence wherein appellant beat the victim with hands,
feet, and firearm. It was during this period that she heard the weapon being discharged
or misfired. The second stage began once appellant witnessed the blood coming from her
scalp and told her to shower. No longer physically violent, his acts grew psychological in
nature with him 1) growing calm only to become angry again, 2) threatening to use one of
the two bullets on her, 3) threatening to harm her family and children if she contacted the
police, and 4) speaking of demons and spirits.
While different in many respects from the factual scenario in Ruiz v. State, No. 1301-0157-CR, 2002 Tex. App. LEXIS 735 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi January 31, 2002, no
pet.) (not designated for publication), our situation is akin to that in Ruiz in one important
way, and because of that, we find Ruiz helpful. There, the appellant first struck his victim
outside a bar while the victim was exiting a vehicle. He then stopped, entered the bar,
spoke briefly with someone, and returned to the victim only to strike him again. That the
attacks occurred in identifiable, discrete stages led the Ruiz court to conclude that the
appellant was not being twice punished for the same crime. Rather, two different assaults
actually occurred which entitled the State to prosecute Ruiz for both free of any limitations
imposed by double jeopardy. Id. at *4-5.
As alluded to above, we too have a scenario depicting two different attacks. Though
rather close in time, the latter arose after a break from the former, that break coming when
Aguilar entered the shower. Moreover, the assaults changed in nature from physical to
psychological. Given this, we see no reason to stray from the holding in Ruiz. The State
is correct; appellant was not twice tried, convicted, and punished for the same offense but
rather for two different crimes. That each crime violated the same penal statute is
inconsequential. Marcotte v. State, supra. Consequently, the limitations imposed by
double jeopardy were not exceeded.
Issue 2 - Confrontation Clause
Next, appellant argues that he was denied his right to confront witnesses when the
trial court allowed the investigating police officers to reiterate what Aguilar had told them
about the assaults, who committed them, and how they transpired. We overrule the issue.
When the witness who uttered the words that are being repeated is present at trial
for cross-examination, the accused is not being denied his right to confront that witness.
Eustis v. State, 191 S.W.3d 879, 886 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2006, pet. ref’d);
Hanson v. State, 180 S.W.3d 726, 731 (Tex. App.–Waco 2005, no pet.); Moore v. State,
169 S.W.3d 467, 470 n.8 (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2005, pet. ref’d). Aguilar was both
present for and testified at trial. Thus, appellant had the opportunity to confront her.
Issue 3 - Hearsay
Finally, appellant contends that the same out-of-court statements we addressed in
issue two were inadmissible hearsay and, therefore, subject to exclusion on that ground.
Since the trial court admitted them, it purportedly erred. We overrule the issue.
As previously mentioned, Aguilar appeared and testified at trial. She told the jury
what occurred and explained how appellant both beat and threatened her with his hands
and with the gun. Moreover, one or more officers testified about seeing blood in the
chamber of the handgun, a bleeding gash on Aguilar’s head, and her “extremely swollen”
face and eyes. Moreover, appellant does not question on appeal the admission of this
evidence. Nor does he dispute the similarity between it and what the officers said Aguilar
told them. So, what we have before us is the same evidence being presented to the jury
through multiple sources to prove the same facts. It is this redundancy or cumulative
nature of the evidence that proves fatal to appellant’s argument. This is so because the
admission of inadmissible evidence (such as hearsay) can be rendered harmless by the
receipt of admissible evidence proving the same facts. Mayes v. State, 816 S.W.2d 79,
88 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991); Nino v. State, 223 S.W.3d 749, 754 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th
Dist.] 2007, no pet.); Champion v. State, No. 06-04–0141-CR, 2005 Tex. App. LEXIS 3733
at *9 (Tex. App.–Texarkana May 17, 2005, no pet.). And, upon reviewing the entire
record, we hold that to be true here.
Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.