Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

During the late evening hours of July 2, 2007, Officer Alex Sherwood, then of the Lockhart Police Department,*fn1 initiated a traffic stop on Robert Paul Mills after, Sherwood testified, he witnessed Mills making a right turn after Mills had failed to signal within one-hundred feet of the intersection. See Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 545.104(b) (West 1999) (“An operator intending to turn a vehicle right or left shall signal continuously for not less than the last 100 feet of movement of the vehicle before the turn.”). The investigatory detention led to a succession of incriminating discoveries by Officer Sherwood and his colleagues–weapons, outstanding out-of-state warrants, and a baggie containing .78 ounces of cocaine–and Mills’s arrest. Mills was indicted and, based on the evidence obtained during the traffic stop, convicted for the offense of possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, in an amount less than one gram. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 481.002(38) (West Supp. 2008), § 481.115(b) (West 2003). Punishment was assessed at two years’ confinement in state jail, probated for a period of five years, and a $500 fine.

On appeal, Mills seeks reversal of his conviction and a new trial. He brings three issues. In his first issue, Mills complains of the district court’s refusal of his request for a jury instruction under article 38.23(a) of the code of criminal procedure. See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 38.23(a) (West 2005); Madden v. State, 242 S.W.3d 504, 509-11 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007). Relatedly, Mills complains of the district court’s exclusion of expert testimony going to whether it was physically possible for Officer Sherwood, from his vantage point, to have seen whether or not Mills had signaled within one-hundred feet of the intersection. In his second issue, Mills challenges whether the State could have relied on the out-of-state warrants as a basis for arresting Mills. In his third issue, Mills complains that the district court erred “by demonstrating open and continuous hostility towards defense counsel both in front of and outside the presence of the jury, reflecting a bias in favor of the State.” Because we conclude that the evidence raised a material fact issue that required an article 38.23(a) jury instruction, we will reverse the judgment of conviction and remand this cause for a new trial.

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

African Legal Awards (AFLA) 2022

September 02, 2022

The African Legal Awards recognise exceptional achievement within Africa s legal community during a period of rapid change.

Learn More

China Law & Practice Awards (CLPA) 2022

September 08, 2022

The annual China Law & Practice Awards is the jurisdiction's most prestigious legal awards ceremony that applauds China's elite.

Learn More

Texas Legal Awards (TXLA) 2022

September 14, 2022
Dallas, TX

The Texas Lawyer honors attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in Texas.

Learn More

Litigation Associate

A well-respected regional law firm that has represented businesses in Tampa Bay for decades is seeking a commercial litigation associate to ...

Apply Now ›


The Superior Court of Fulton County, Atlanta JudicialCircuit is soliciting applicants for the appointment of a full- time circuit-wide juven...

Apply Now ›


Downtown A/V rated Plaintiff's personal injury law firm seeks paralegal with experience in pleadings, motions, discovery, calendar, mediatio...

Apply Now ›



Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP wants to announce the Happy Retirement, Honorable Joel Rosen!

View Announcement ›



DEASEY MAHONEY & VALENTINI LTD is proud to announce that Lauren M. Steins and Leanna B. Ruotanen have been named Partners of the firm.

View Announcement ›



Parrett, Porto, Parese & Colwell, P.C. welcomes attorneys Alison L. Broad and Andrew I. Schaffer as principals of the firm.

View Announcement ›