Weekly Case Summaries: September 8, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund – give today!

In the wake of Harvey’s devastating impact on our state, the Board of the Texas District and County Attorneys Foundation has started a relief fund to assist those prosecutor office staff members who have suffered losses. 100 percent of your donation to the fund will go directly to those who have suffered hurricane and flood damage. The Board’s intention is to run the fund-raising campaign through the Annual Criminal and Civil Law Update, and then to accept applications and get the help out to folks in early October. So please click here to help those in our profession who need your help! If you have any questions, call Rob Kepple at 512/474-2436.

Texas Courts of Appeals

State v. Pardo A/K/A Prado

No. 13-16-00224-CR        8/31/17

Issue:

Is evidence that a bartender checked an ID but miscalculated the age before serving alcohol to a minor legally sufficient to establish criminal negligence?

Holding:

No. The defendant’s actions do not show a failure to perceive the risk that a minor would attempt to purchase alcohol. By requesting identification and examining it, the defendant shows that she did perceive the risk, although she incorrectly calculated the patron’s age. The defendant’s conduct was the result of mistake or accident, not criminal negligence. The trial court correctly granted a motion for new trial due to insufficient evidence to establish criminal negligence. Read opinion.

Commentary:

This is an unpublished case, but it should serve as a wake-up call to prosecutors that Queeman may offer appellate courts a means to reverse cases on sufficiency grounds that previously seemed immune. Facts that might have been relevant to show the cashier was negligent include: whether there was a “You must have been born before” sign at the counter and whether the minor’s identification was different from an adult’s identification due to picture orientation or notations on the identification.

Announcements

The Court of Criminal Appeals has issued a joint order with the Supreme Court of Texas giving authorization to all courts in the state to consider disaster-caused delays as good cause for modifying or suspending all deadlines and procedures in any case. Read order here: http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1438759/179091.pdf.  

Online registration is still open for the last TDCAA Legislative Update of the year! For more information or to register online, visit https://www.tdcaa.com/content/2017-tdcaa-legislative-updates.

TDCAA is now shipping its 2017 code books. For more information or to place an order, visit http://www.tdcaa.com/publications.

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].