Weekly Case Summaries: January 12, 2018

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Rodriguez v. State

No. PD-0439-16                1/10/18

Issue:

Does the submission of an instruction on transferred intent entitle a defendant to an instruction on mistake of fact even if the greater offense does not require any additional culpable mental state?

Holding:

No. A defendant is only entitled to a mistake of fact instruction when the mistake “negates the culpable mental state required for the offense.” Here, the defendant was charged with aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The transferred intent instruction on the extent of the bodily injury (i.e. “simple” bodily injury or “serious” bodily injury) does not entitle the defendant to a mistake of fact instruction because the element of serious bodily injury do not require a culpable mental state. The State is only required to prove a culpable mental state as to the underlying assault. Read opinion.

Hernandez v. State

No. PD-1389-16                1/10/18

Issue:

May a word to be so inflammatory when used in closing argument that error preservation is not required because the word incurably taints the entire trial?

Holding:

No. Even incurably improper jury argument is forfeitable. The right to be free of improper jury argument does not rise to the level of an absolute requirement. If a defendant does not preserve error by objecting to erroneous jury argument, any error is waived. Read opinion.

Texas Attorney General Opinions

KP-0176               12/21/17

Issue:

May handgun license holders carry handguns on the premises of a church that does not post signs excluding handguns? Are churches exempt from the private security fees charged to private institutions?

Response:

Yes and yes. Unless a church provides effective oral or written notice prohibiting handguns on its property, a license holder may carry a handgun on church property as the law otherwise allows.

The regulations of the Private Security Act, including the fees required, do not apply to Texas churches when providing volunteer security services consistent with the requirements of §1702.333 of the Occupations Code. Read opinion.

Announcements

The National District Attorneys Association is holding a Digital Prosecutor training course in San Antonio from February 19-22. The NDAA’s Digital Prosecutor course is designed to assist the prosecution team in understanding and utilizing technology in investigation and trial, as well as learning how suspects are using technology. Early-bird pricing is available until January 19th. Visit our site for more information.

TDCAA is pleased to offer these unique case summaries from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Courts of Appeals and the Texas Attorney General. In addition to the basic summaries, each case will have a link to the full text opinion and will offer exclusive prosecutor commentary explaining how the case may impact you as a prosecutor. The case summaries are for the benefit of prosecutors, their staff members, and members of the law enforcement community. These summaries are NOT a source of legal advice for citizens. The commentaries expressed in these case summaries are not official statements by TDCAA and do not represent the opinions of TDCAA, its staff, or any member of the association. Please email comments, problems, or questions to [email protected].