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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A San Antonio police officer testified that he and his partner were targeting a known drug-trafficking area on the evening of Nov. 18, 2002, when they saw a woman walk toward a car, make contact with someone inside of it, and then walk away. She reappeared about 15 minutes later as the passenger in a van that had its headlights turned off. The woman got out of the van and started toward the first car. When the officers got out of their car and started toward the van, the woman threw something down on the ground and started to run. An officer caught her and retrieved the discarded item, a package of rock cocaine. Meanwhile, another officer approached the van and found crack cocaine in plain view on the driver’s side floorboard and on the rear floorboard next to Cynthia Priestley, the back seat passenger. The officers arrested Terry Lee (the first woman), Cynthia Priestley and two other people. Lee told the officers that they could find more drugs at 923 Lombrano, which was Priestley’s home. Priestley signed a consent-to-search form and several officers accompanied her to 923 Lombrano. While walking up the path to the house, an officer could see appellant through the transparent storm door. Appellant was sitting on a couch or chair watching TV and talking on the phone. The officers walked in the unlocked door. Immediately in front of appellant was a coffee table with numerous baggies of cocaine and pill bottles, also containing cocaine. In total, the cocaine weighed approximately 14 grams and had an estimated street value of $1,300. After their search, the officers brought Priestley inside. She repeatedly told the officers that all of the drugs were hers and that appellant, who is her nephew, had no knowledge of them. The appellant’s former wife, Joslyn Jorden, testified on his behalf. She said that appellant had been living with their two young sons at her parents’ home near the Lombrano house. She said that Priestley lived with appellant’s grandmother at 923 Lombrano. Appellant was “checking” on the house while his grandmother was in Oklahoma for a few days, because Priestley was involved with drugs and had been selling items from her grandmother’s home. The appellant was charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver it and simple possession of a controlled substance. The jury found him not guilty of the former but guilty of the latter, and the trial judge sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment. On appeal, appellant argued that the evidence was both legally and factually insufficient to prove that he had exercised “actual care, custody, control, or management of the cocaine.” The court of appeals agreed, concluding that the record evidence failed to “affirmatively link” appellant to the cocaine other than by evidence of his presence and proximity to the drugs. The court of appeals, finding that the evidence was legally insufficient, reversed that conviction and entered an acquittal. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) found that the court of appeals set out the correct standard for reviewing the legal sufficiency of the evidence: “When deciding whether evidence is [legally] sufficient to support a conviction, a reviewing court must assess all the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict to determine whether any rational trier of fact could find the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.” The CCA concluded that “the circumstantial evidence, when viewed in combination and its sum total, constituted amply sufficient evidence connecting appellant to the actual care, custody, control or management of the cocaine in front of him. . . . The logical force of the combined pieces of circumstantial evidence in this case, coupled with reasonable inferences from them, is sufficient to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that appellant exercised actual care, custody, control, or management of the cocaine on the coffee table. The jury was not required to believe the contrary direct evidence from Ms. Priestley (‘the drugs belong only to me, not my nephew’) or circumstantial evidence from Ms. Jorden (providing an alternate innocent explanation of appellant’s presence and proximity to the cocaine), who could both be considered interested witnesses.” OPINION:Cochran, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Keller, P.J., and Price, Womack, Johnson, Keasler, and Holcomb, J.J.,joined. CONCURRENCE:Womack, J.,filed a concurring opinion in which Price and Johnson, J.J., joined. “I join the opinion of the Court and the substance of its reasoning. I would prefer that the Court did not use the term”affirmative link.’” DISSENT:Meyers, J., dissents.

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