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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: A jury convicted Oscar Carrasco of first-degree murder and sentenced him to 47 years in prison. In his sole issue on appeal, Carrasco argues that the trial court erred by allowing into evidence a stipulation in which Carrasco admitted causing the victim’s death. HOLDING: Affirmed. The issue the court resolves in this case is whether a stipulation that is not part of a guilty plea remains binding after a declaration of mistrial. There is some disagreement among jurisdictions regarding whether a stipulation entered into at one trial is admissible at a subsequent trial of the same case. According to Wigmore, the “orthodox English practice” clearly allowed it. There is dicta in one early Texas decision that is in accord with this practice. 9 John Henry Wigmore, Evidence in Trials at Common Law. In this case, there is nothing in the stipulation limiting its use to the first trial. For this reason, the trial judge was correct in his determination that the stipulation was admissible at the second trial. The judge was aware of the circumstances surrounding the stipulation because he had signed the stipulation and had presided over the first trial. Wigmore states that even though a stipulation is generally binding on the parties, a trial court has discretion to set aside a stipulation. In Franco, it was clear that the appellant entered into the stipulation in anticipation of pleading true. When the plea negotiations broke down and the appellant decided to plead not true, he should have been relieved of the binding effect of the stipulation. This case does not present similar facts. Carrasco entered the same plea at both trials. Considering the trial judge’s familiarity with the stipulation and the first trial, the court finds nothing in the record to indicate that the judge abused his discretion by refusing to set the stipulation aside. OPINION: Larsen, J.

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