Weekly Case Summaries: September 12, 2014

 

Texas Courts of Appeals

Gentry v. State

No. 12-13-00168-CR              9/8/14

Issue:

After pleading guilty to felony DWI and being sentenced to life in prison by a jury, was the defendant entitled to have his case remanded because the trial judge failed to suppress the results of a warrantless blood draw obtained via the Texas implied consent statute?

Holding:

Yes. Blood draws must be done via a warrant unless the State can prove a valid exception to the warrant requirement. There is no “good faith” exception to the warrant requirement in Texas because the good faith statute itself assumes the existence of a warrant. Read the opinion.

Commentary:

The courts of appeals seldom line up this solidly against the State on legal issues. Let’s hope that the Court of Criminal Appeals will give us definitive guidance on McNeely and the implied consent statute in the next few weeks.

Hill v. State

No. 01-13-00432-CR              9/4/14

No. 01-13-00433-CR

Issue:

When an accomplice from an extraneous offense is called to testify against the defendant in a case in which the accomplice did not participate, and the accomplice’s testimony is in regards to the extraneous offense in which the witness and the defendant acted together, is an accomplice-witness instruction required as to the offense on trial?

Holding:

No. The accomplice-witness rule applies only to accomplices who participated in the instant case, not extraneous offenses. Read the opinion.

Commentary:

Here, the defendant claimed that the rape and robbery was actually a dispute with a prostitute over payment. The State offered evidence of a similar extraneous rape and robbery to rebut the claim of consent through the extraneous victim and accomplice. The opinion is confusing because the court of appeals does not maintain the distinctions between the offenses on trial and the extraneous offenses. The confusion is compounded because the trial court included an arguably unnecessary accomplice witness instruction about the extraneous offenses which the defendant also challenged on appeal. The court holds that no accomplice witness instruction was necessary for the offense on trial when there was no evidence that the accomplice from the extraneous offenses participated in the offense on trial. If you are confused about recent opinions, though, the briefs usually are available on the courts’ websites.

 

 

Office of the Attorney General

Request from the Navarro County District Attorney

RQ-1218-GA              9/10/14

Questions:

  1. When a JP retires before the end of his term, must the county continue to pay him and cover his expenses?
  2. Can the county adjust the JP’s salary for neglect of duty?

 

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