Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:At trial, the state’s evidence showed that appellant ran over his wife with his van, and then placed her injured body on a railroad track to be run over by a train. A latent-print examiner, A. J. Jumper, was called to testify as an expert about his comparisons of the soles of appellant’s shoes and tire imprints from his van with impressions made from a shoe print and tire tracks found near the railroad tracks. Appellant tested Jumper’s qualifications on voir dire and objected that he was not an expert in either tire or shoe comparisons. The trial court overruled that objection, and Jumper testified that his comparisons revealed common or similar characteristics. Appellant continued to challenge Jumper’s qualifications during his cross-examination and ultimately made a motion to strike the shoe-imprint-comparison testimony. The trial court denied that motion. The jury convicted appellant of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. On appeal, appellant claimed that the trial court erred in allowing Mr. Jumper to testify as an expert. He relied, in part, on evidence he developed during his extensive cross-examination. The court of appeals declined to consider that evidence, however, because it was developed “after Jumper had already expressed his opinions before the jury.” It held that, based on the evidence at the time of its original ruling, the trial court had not abused its discretion in permitting Jumper to testify as an expert on tire and shoe-print comparisons. HOLDING:Affirmed. The appellant made two distinct requests for relief; the first was the series of objections after appellant’s initial “voir dire to test [Mr. Jumper's] qualifications under 702,” and the second was his motion to strike Mr. Jumper’s shoe-comparison testimony because Mr. Jumper’s comparison was “just visual,” something that any juror could do himself. The court of appeals was mistaken in “limiting the scope of its analysis to those questions asked of Jumper initially” and in “excluding testimony developed during subsequent cross-examination.” The trial court understood appellant to be continually challenging whether Mr. Jumper was qualified by knowledge, skill, training or education under Rule 702. His motion to strike was a repetition and renewal of his original objection, based upon additional alleged deficiencies developed during cross-examination. This is akin to a situation in which a suppression issue, litigated in a pretrial suppression hearing, is re-litigated at trial. In that situation, an appellate court that reviews the trial court’s ruling considers not just the evidence from the motion to suppress hearing, but the relevant trial testimony as well. “Nevertheless, we need not remand this case to the court of appeals to re-review the record before reaching a foregone conclusion. This type of testimony has long been admissible, in Texas and elsewhere, by either lay or expert witnesses.” The jury heard descriptions of the physical comparisons upon which Jumper based his conclusions. The exhibits relied on by Jumper for his physical comparisons were admitted into evidence and were available to the jury during its deliberations; the jury could make its own comparisons. It could also determine the weight and credibility to give to Jumper’s testimony and the likelihood that other individuals with shoes and tires similar to appellant’s might have made the prints found by the railroad tracks. There was an abundance of other evidence pointing to appellant as the person who murdered his wife. OPINION:Cochran, J, delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Meyers, Womack, Johnson, Keasler, Hervey, and Holcomb, JJ, joined. Keller, PJ, concurred in the result. Price, J, filed a concurring opinion.

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.