X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Between January 2003 and October 2003, appellant met with seven different attorneys to discuss a potential personal injury claim. Using several aliases, appellant claimed that he had been injured in an offshore accident while working for Diamond Drilling Co. The appellant told the attorneys that he and his co-worker had been unloading pipes when a cable on the crane broke, causing the heavy pipes to fall on top of them. Appellant, who frequently limped and carried a cane when he met with the attorneys, claimed that he had been knocked unconscious and that he had injured his knee, leg and back. Appellant said that he had undergone knee surgery at University of South Alabama Hospital in Mobile, and showed some attorneys his scar. Appellant claimed that Dubois, the co-worker, had been transported to Louisiana, where he remained in a coma. Appellant then informed the complainants that an orthopedic surgeon was going to operate on appellant’s back at Hermann Hospital in Houston. Appellant also told most of the complainants that his co-worker’s wife wished to be represented by the same attorney as appellant. Additionally, appellant claimed that Diamond had offered to settle and that until recently, the company had been paying his family’s living expenses. However, when he met with the complainants, appellant claimed that he could no longer pay his rent and that the landlord was threatening to evict him, his wife and their four small children. The attorneys believed that appellant’s case was legitimate, and they agreed to represent appellant pursuant to a contingency fee agreement. After appellant provided one of several Beaumont addresses and what appeared to be valid proof of identification, the attorneys advanced either checks or cash to cover appellant’s various expenses. Appellant disappeared immediately after receiving the money. Shortly thereafter, the attorneys discovered that appellant had never worked for Diamond, that he had never been a patient at either the University of South Alabama Hospital or Hermann Hospital and that the home address he had provided did not exist. Police eventually arrested appellant after organizing a sting operation with two complainants. Appellant believed an attorney was going to advance him $3,000 in cash. When appellant met with a private investigator hired by the attorney, the investigator handed appellant an envelope that contained a check. Police arrested appellant as soon as he took possession of the check. HOLDING:Affirmed. When a defendant has committed multiple thefts over a period of time, the thefts may be considered as one crime if they were committed pursuant to one scheme or continuing course of conduct. Texas Penal Code � 31.09. The court finds that the evidence is legally and factually sufficient. The state was not required to prove that appellant stole “money and one check,” whose combined total is at least $20,000, from only one complainant. In a theft case, the allegedly stolen property must be generally described in the indictment and conforming evidence must be adduced. Lehman v. State, 792 S.W.2d 82 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990). However, the state need not show that the accused stole every piece of property described in the indictment in order to secure a valid conviction. The record reflects that the trial court thoroughly admonished appellant and that appellant understood the consequences of proceeding to trial without the assistance of counsel. OPINION:Hedges, CJ; Hedges, CJ, Yates and Anderson, JJ.

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.