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:In late December 1994, Marie Lisette Garcia Vega, who was 16 at the time, and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Jaime Nonn, were implicated in a capital murder in Starr County, Texas. They had fled to Chicago. On Dec. 28, 1994, Vega and Nonn were arrested by the Chicago police after Starr County deputies advised the Chicago Police Department that Texas warrants had been issued for the two suspects. Both Nonn and Vega gave statements in Illinois. The trial court overruled Vega’s motion to suppress the written statement that she made to the Illinois authorities. On direct appeal following the convictions, Vega raised 18 issues, 13 of which complained of the trial court’s admission of her written statement obtained in Illinois by Illinois law enforcement officers. Vega also complained that the trial court erred by admitting evidence of extraneous offenses and giving an inappropriate limiting instruction regarding the extraneous offenses. Relying on the Court of Criminal Appeals’ 2005 opinion in Davidson v. State, a panel of the 13th Court of Appeals held that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted Vega’s Illinois statement into evidence. The 13th Court reversed all three judgments of the trial court and remanded for a new trial. On the state’s petition for discretionary review, the CCA held that Davidson was inapplicable to the case. The CCA also concluded that “[b]ecause appellant was a juvenile at the time she gave her statement, its admissibility must be determined under Title 3 of the Family Code.” The CCA remanded this case for an analysis, charging the 13th Court to analyze how the absence of a magistrate impacted the fairness to the parties, focusing on the purpose expressed in Texas Family Code �51.01: “to provide a simple judicial procedure through which the provisions of this title are executed and enforced and in which the parties are assured a fair hearing and their constitutional and other legal rights recognized and enforced.” HOLDING:Affirmed. The 13th Court began its analysis by quoting its earlier opinion, stating: “[t]his appears to be a case of first impression in the state of Texas. This case presents the issue of whether a sister state’s law enforcement officers must adhere to Texas’ scheme of processing juvenile offenders for a statement taken by those officers to be admissible against the juvenile in a Texas court.” The 13th Court continued: “On remand, however, as directed by the court of criminal appeals, we will not apply Davidson; we will apply Texas law specifically, Title 3 of the Texas Family Code but we will not apply it strictly; and we will analyze fairness to the parties focusing on the purpose of section 51.01.” In her first 13 issues, Vega argued that, because her written statement was not procured in conformance with the Texas Family Code, it should have been excluded. On appeal, Vega complained of the Illinois facility where she was detained, urging violations, inter alia, of Texas Family Code ��52.02, 52.025 and 51.12. Addressing these issues, the CCA concluded that “[t]o hold that such actions were not sufficient to satisfy Texas’ concerns would make impossible any apprehension of a Texas juvenile offender any place outside of Texas and would not advance Texas public policy as expressed in �51.01.” Vega argued that should the 13th Court determine that Illinois law rather than Texas law should govern the admissibility of the instant statement, the trial court erred in overruling Vega’s motion to suppress evidence, because the authorities did not comply with Illinois law in taking her statement. But the CCA determined that Texas law applied, the 13th Court stated. Vega contended that the trial court erred in overruling her motion to suppress evidence, because the arrest warrant and supporting affidavit were not introduced into evidence and because the state failed to present facts otherwise justifying her detention, in violation of the U.S. and Texas constitutions. The 13th Court, however, found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in overruling Vega’s motion to suppress evidence. Vega contended that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of extraneous offenses in violation of Texas Rules of Evidence 404(b) and 403. Vega argued that the admission of testimony regarding her use of drugs and alcohol, having sex with an older man, running away from home and being a liar was harmful. Nonetheless, the 13th Court stated that it could not determine “Vega was prejudiced, that the issues were confused, and that she was forced to defend herself against charges against which she had not been notified, when Vega testified to the same matters on direct examination.” Thus, the 13th Court concluded the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it determined that the probative value of the evidence was not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. OPINION:Rodriguez, J.; Yanez, Rodriguez and Hinojosa, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* 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 © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.