Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The appellant challenges his conviction for murder, claiming that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction as a party to the offense. The state challenges the judgment of the court of appeals with respect to the court’s harm analysis on jury-charge error. HOLDING:Affirmed in part and reversed in part. Based on the totality of the evidence, a jury could have reasonably concluded that the appellant was a participant in the murder of his wife and that he knew he was assisting in the offense. While each piece of evidence lacked sufficiency in isolation, the consistency of the evidence and the reasonable inferences drawn therefrom were sufficient to support the verdict. Therefore, after examining all the evidence in the case in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court concludes that a rational jury could have found all the elements proved, based on the aiding theory of party responsibility, beyond a reasonable doubt. The appellant argued in the court of appeals that, because the jury charge included language that allowed the jury to convict him based on either a legal-duty theory or an aiding theory, it is unknown under which theory the jury convicted. Therefore, since the jury could not have legally convicted him on legal-duty theory, and there is a possibility that they did, the appellant argues that the verdict cannot stand. So despite the fact that the conviction may be upheld under the aiding theory, this court must decide if the error in the jury charge affected the appellant’s trial in such a way that his conviction should be reversed. The court of appeals in the instant case used the same harm analysis as it did in its Bagheri opinion. Bagheri v. State, 87 S.W.3d 657 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 2002), aff’d, 119 S.W.3d 755 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003). The harm analysis under Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 44.2(b) was appropriate in Bagheri because the issue involved the erroneous admission of evidence and its effect on the jury’s deliberations. This case is distinguishable from Bagheri. The issue in the appellant’s case is whether an erroneous theory in the jury charge affected the verdict, not whether the erroneous admission of evidence affected the verdict. It is settled law in Texas that error in a criminal jury charge is reviewed under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 36.19 as interpreted by this court in Almanza v. State, 686 S.W.2d 157 (Tex. Crim. App. 1985). As a result, the court holds that the court of appeals erred in assessing harm under the standard found in Rule 44.2(b). The court reverses the judgment of the court of appeals and remands the case to that Court to conduct a harm analysis under Article 36.19. OPINION:Price, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Keller, P.J., and Meyers, Womack, Johnson, Keasler, Holcomb, and Cochran, JJ., joined. Hervey, J., did not participate.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

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


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.