Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:After hearing testimony on Matthew Mechler’s pretrial motion, the judge suppressed his Intoxilyzer results, relying on Mata v. State, 46 S.W.3d 902 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001), and Texas Rule of Evidence 403. Reviewing the case de novo, the court of appeals reversed the trial court by holding that Mata was inapplicable, and Rule 403 was misapplied. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court agrees with the court of appeals’ holding that Mata was inapplicable to this case, because Mata addressed only “the admissibility of expert testimony rather than test results.” Mechler alleges that the court of appeals erred in evaluating the trial court’s suppression order de novo. While acknowledging that an order on a motion to suppress is normally reviewed for an abuse of discretion, the court of appeals concluded that a de novo standard is appropriate because there were no disputed issues and no need to observe the credibility and demeanor of witness testimony. The court disagrees. The temporal or procedural posture of Mechler’s attempts to suppress the test results does not warrant different treatment or a deviation from the established abuse-of-discretion review. The court states that a proper Rule 403 analysis includes, but is not limited to, four factors: 1. the probative value of the evidence; 2. the potential to impress the jury in some irrational yet indelible way; 3. the time needed to develop the evidence; and 4. the proponent’s need for the evidence. The court agrees with the court of appeals’ holding that the Intoxilyzer results were probative of intoxication under both the per se and impairment definitions of intoxication. The Intoxilyzer results are undoubtedly prejudicial to Mechler, the court states, but they are not unfairly prejudicial, because this evidence relates directly to the charged offense. This contested evidence does not have a great potential to impress the jury in an irrational way. Because the Intoxilyzer results relate directly to the charged offense, a jury could not be distracted from the charged offense regardless of the required time to present the results. The fourth factor focuses on the proponent’s need for the evidence. This factor encompasses the issues of whether the proponent has other evidence establishing this fact and whether this fact is related to a disputed issue. Based on the suppression hearing testimony, the court of appeals found this factor weighed in favor of exclusion because the state had other probative evidence to establish Mechler’s intoxication. The court agrees. The court holds the sum of the factors weigh in favor of admissibility. OPINION:Mike Keasler, J., delivered the opinion of the court in which Keller, P.J., and Womack, Johnson, Hervey, and Holcomb, JJ., joined. Meyers, J., filed a concurring opinion. Cochran, J., filed a concurring opinion in which Meyers, Price and Johnson, JJ. joined. CONCURRENCE:Lawrence E. Meyers, J. “The majority states that the court of appeals erred in conducting a de novo review, however, the majority makes the same mistake by conducting a Rule 403 analysis. As Judge Cochran states in her concurring opinion, there are factors that develop at trial that must be considered in a Rule 403 analysis. Therefore, a pretrial hearing is not appropriate in this situation. Because the majority is essentially conducting a de novo pretrial Rule 403 analysis, I cannot join the opinion and concur only in the result.” CONCURRENCE: Cathy Cochran, J.; Meyers, Price and Johnson, JJ. join. “I concur in the majority’s resolution and agree with much of its reasoning concerning the admissibility of Intoxilyzer results in the absence of retrograde extrapolation testimony. I write separately to emphasize two points: 1) the difficulty of making individualized Rule 403 rulings in a pretrial setting; and 2) the need to make individualized Rule 403 rulings on proffered Intoxilyzer test results that account for the degree to which the result exceeds the legal limit of 0.08% as well as the time elapsed from driving until the test is taken. I do not understand the majority opinion to imply that Intoxilyzer test results are always admissible in a DWI trial under Rule 403, only that, given the specific evidence in this case, the trial court abused its discretion in excluding this particular test result under Rule 403 at the pretrial stage.”

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?


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.