Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Appellant John Tuy Pham was convicted by a jury of the offense of murder, and was assessed a punishment of life imprisonment in the TDCJ Institutional Division. Appellant, Chance Derrick Gonzales, pleaded guilty to the offense of murder in the 208th District Court of Harris County. He was sentenced to 45 years’ confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice institutional division pursuant to a plea bargain. The court consolidated Appellants’ cases, as the same issues are raised in each of their appeals, and both cases are being appealed from the First Court of Appeals in Harris County. The court granted review in both of these cases to clarify the causal connection analysis which must be undertaken in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.23 suppression of evidence claims. HOLDING:Affirmed. The state may make an attenuation-of-taint argument, which is included under a Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.23 analysis. However, this argument is discussed by a court only if the state raises it. Analysis of causal connection and attenuation-of-taint are not the same. An attenuation-of-taint analysis is not always required and therefore need not always be conducted. A causal connection between a violation of Texas Family Code 52.02(b) and the obtaining of evidence must be shown before the evidence is rendered inadmissible. If there is no causal connection shown in the first place, there is no reason for the state to argue that the taint of the violation is so far removed that the causal connection is broken. Attenuation-of-taint breaks this connection. It does not negate the existence of the causal connection. If the defendant produces evidence that there is a causal connection, the state may either try to disprove this causal evidence, i.e. disproving that there is a causal connection in existence at all, or, the state may make an attenuation-of-taint argument. Attenuation-of-taint is evaluated under the four-step analysis of Brown v. Illinois, 422 U.S. 590 (1975), in which the state may argue that although the defendant has demonstrated evidence of a causal connection, the taint of the violation was so far removed from the obtaining of the evidence that the causal chain the defendant demonstrated is in fact broken. Without first establishing that there is a causal connection between the violation and the obtaining of the evidence, there can be nothing for the state to assert has been broken through the attenuation-of-taint factors. The court upholds the court of appeals’ conclusion that a causal connection analysis regarding 52.02(b), as required by this court in Gonzales v. State, 67 S. W. 3d 910 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002)(Gonzales II), before evidence may be deemed inadmissible, is separate from an attenuation-of-taint analysis, which may be used by the state to rebut a defendant’s causal connection argument. There is no requirement that a defendant establish any causal connection between the illegal conduct and the ensuing confession; the defendant simply must raise the voluntariness issue. In this case, it is not enough for the defendant to merely establish a violation. Under Texas case law, it is required that a causal connection be established, and the court holds that the defendant, as the moving party wishing to exclude the evidence, is responsible for the burden of proving this connection. The court of appeals correctly held that the burden is on the defendant, as the moving party in a motion to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the law under Art. 38.23, to produce evidence demonstrating the causal connection which this court required in Gonzales II. The burden then shifts to the State to either disprove the evidence the defendant has produced, or bring an attenuation-of-taint argument to demonstrate that the causal chain asserted by the defendant was in fact broken. OPINION:Meyers, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Keller, P.J., and Price, Womack, Johnson, Hervey, Holcomb, and Cochran, JJ., join. Keasler, J., filed a dissenting opinion. DISSENT:Keasler, J. “The Court concludes that an attenuation-of-taint analysis is different from a causal-connection analysis. Because the only support for this conclusion is a troublesome substantive footnote, and the conclusion is in conflict with Supreme Court jurisprudence, I dissent.”

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.