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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In February 2003, a jury convicted the appellant of a capital murder that was committed on Aug. 13, 2001. Pursuant to the jury’s answers to the statutory special issues, the trial court sentenced the appellant to death. HOLDING:Affirmed. The appellant complains that the trial court erred in allowing the jury to use transcripts of his recorded oral statements to assist them during deliberations. Even if it were error for the court to have furnished the transcripts, the appellant suffered no harm, the court decides. The appellant complains that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing a witness for the state to remain in the courtroom throughout the guilt stage of trial “absent a showing by the State that he fell within an expressed exemption or exception in Texas Rules of Evidence, Rule 614.” The state’s designating a witness as a “case agent” does not make a witness one whom the court may not exclude from the courtroom under Rule 614. The government’s designation of a “case agent” in the trial of a criminal case is permitted in federal courts by the federal counterpart of Rule 614, but it is not permitted in the courts of this state. This court deliberately chose to make the rule different when it adopted Rule 614(2). Neither the state nor a defendant who is a natural person may take away the court’s authority to exclude one of its witnesses by simply designating the witness. The court will not say from this record that the court’s error in allowing an officer to remain in the courtroom had a substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury’s verdict. The error did not affect the appellant’s substantial rights. The appellant complains that the trial court erred in permitting the state to cross-examine him during the guilt stage of trial regarding an extraneous drug offense. The questions, and the photographs on which they were based, were about the offense that began when the victim cooperated with a police officer by introducing him to the appellant. The indictment alleged that it was in retaliation for that act of cooperation that the appellant killed the victim. This was not an irrelevant, extraneous offense that showed only that the appellant was a criminal generally. There was no error in the admission of the two photographs or the cross-examination during which they were admitted. OPINION:Paul Womack, J., delivered the opinion of the court.

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