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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Intruders invaded the home of a drug dealer, who was fatally shot during the incident. Two witnesses testified that Adrian Chavez was the shooter. One witness claimed that he recognized Chavez when he allegedly pulled down a bandana that had been covering his face. The other witness claimed to recognize Chavez’s voice and his physique. Chavez said he had an alibi but he was unable to produce any corroborating witnesses. After being indicted and tried for capital murder, Chavez was convicted of the lesser offense of aggravated robbery and sentenced to 55 years in prison. His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. While the jury was out deliberating Chavez’s guilt or innocence, Chavez informed his trial counsel for the first time that he had indeed been involved in the robbery, but only as the driver rather than one of the home invaders. He denied being the shooter. At the applicant’s request, his trial counsel arranged a meeting with the prosecutor so that they could convey this information to her. Before the applicant and his counsel could conclude their meeting with the prosecutor, however, the jury returned its verdict of guilty. Later, after the jury returned its punishment verdict and the trial court pronounced sentence, the Chavez’s trial counsel conducted an informal colloquy on the record with the applicant to establish these facts. In the course of its subsequent investigation, the state identified other witnesses, previously unknown to the state, who could testify that two other individuals had admitted to perpetrating the home invasion, one of whom was the actual shooter in the case rather than Chavez. Both of those individuals were subsequently charged with and pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, and each was assessed a 30-year sentence. In its recommended findings of fact and conclusions of law, the convicting court concluded that, because of the new testimony that someone other than the applicant was the shooter, the applicant is entitled, not to a new trial, but to a new punishment proceeding. HOLDING:The Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) declined the follow the recommendation of the convicting court and denied the application for habeas corpus relief. In reaching this outcome, the court weighed whether Chavez was entitled to a new punishment proceeding under the CCA’s actual innocence precedents or any other operative principle of due process. The CCA stated that except in exceedingly rare circumstances, a punishment which falls within the legislatively prescribed range and is based upon the sentencer’s informed normative judgment is unassailable on appeal. The record of the case, the CCA stated, does not reveal any act or omission on the part of the state or any of its agents that caused the applicant’s sentencing jury to be misinformed about the true nature of his involvement in the offense. Furthermore, the CCA noted its holding that even in the context of the failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, there is no due process violation under circumstances in which the defendant himself already knew about the exculpatory facts. Chavez knew the true extent of his involvement in the offense, the CCA stated. Had he disclosed that information to his trial attorney sooner than he did, counsel could have attempted to investigate the circumstances that corroborated Chavez’s account, the CCA stated. Thus, the CCA found that Chavez at fault for any misinformation received by the jury in the punishment phase. In addition, the CCA did not find there was a reasonable probability that the jury would have assessed anything other than the 55-year sentence, because it appeared that the jury did not believe Chavez was the shooter. OPINION:Price, J., delivered the opinion of the court in which Keller, P.J., and Meyers, Keasler, Hervey and Cochran, J.J., joined. DISSENT:Holcomb, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Womack and Johnson, J.J., joined. “Had the jury heard all of the evidence available today, there is a reasonable probability that it would have assessed a less severe punishment. Practically speaking, a jury is not going to give that amount of time for the robbery of a drug dealer. . . . The majority, in my opinion, unduly penalizes applicant for not informing his attorney, until it was too late, about the true extent of his involvement in the offense.”

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