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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Authorities charged Jeffery Edward Taylor by indictment with the first-degree felony offense of aggravated robbery. The indictment also alleged a prior felony conviction for enhancement purposes. The jury charge included statutorily required parole instructions, which set out parole eligibility rules for certain types of offenders. The charge stated in part: “You may consider the existence of the parole law and good conduct time. However, you are not to consider the extent to which good conduct time may be awarded to or forfeited by this particular defendant. You are not to consider the manner in which the parole law may be applied to this particular defendant.” The prosecutor addressed the parole instructions in his closing argument. In a nutshell, the prosecutor explained how the parole eligibility rules applied to certain sentences, but Taylor claimed the prosecutor stepped over the line by incidentally referring to “the defendant” and “he” in his explanation. Taylor complained on appeal that the prosecutor’s argument was improper and that the trial court erred in overruling Taylor’s objections. The 13th Court of Appeals agreed, holding that the prosecutor’s argument constituted an improper application of parole law to the defendant. The 13th Court observed that “the prosecutor’s remarks were directed to ‘the defendant’ and when ‘he’ would become eligible for parole.” The 13th Court held that “[s]uch personalized references are improper.” Finding the alleged argument error to be harmful, the 13th Court affirmed the conviction but reversed the trial court’s judgment with respect to the sentence and remanded the case for a new punishment hearing. HOLDING:The CCA reversed the judgment of the 13th Court and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The CCA found that most of the prosecutor’s argument was not improper. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 37.07, �4(a), requires that the jury be given certain instructions that include information about parole eligibility, the CCA noted. The prosecutor, the CCA stated, did not convey any information beyond what was properly contained in the charge when he explained how the parole eligibility rules set out in the charge worked with 40-, 60- and 75-year sentences. The explanation simply ensured that the jury understood the language set out in the instructions. The CCA also stated that it did not ascribe any significance to the prosecutor’s passing use of the words “defendant” and “he” in the course of giving his explanation. The statutory instruction itself uses the words “defendant” and “he” when describing the rules of parole eligibility. Nothing in the case, the CCA stated, indicated that the prosecutor’s explanations went beyond an attempt to clarify the meaning of the jury instructions. The only remaining portion of the prosecutor’s argument that may have been objectionable, the CCA stated, was the question at the end of the colloquy: “So, why would I ask you for life and a $10,000 fine if he becomes eligible at the same point?” Assuming arguendo that this portion of the argument was improper, it was clearly harmless, because Taylor was sentenced to only 50 years. OPINION:Keller, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Johnson, Keasler, Hervey, Holcomb and Cochran, JJ. joined. CONCURRENCE:Womack, J. filed a concurring opinion in which Meyers and Price, JJ., joined. “[T]he jury instruction in article 37.07, section 4(a) that the jury is ‘not to consider the manner in which the parole law may be applied to this particular defendant’ refers to speculation about when, if ever, this particular defendant might be released on parole. It does not refer to the jury’s consideration of a sentenced defendant’s parole eligibility under the formula contained in the instruction.”

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