Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Keeping a Promise

I'm up to my ears in published cases from the various Texas Courts of Appeals.  Maybe I never should have promised to post about every published case.  Or maybe I shouldn't have taken such a long break when baby #2 came along last month.  Regardless, I promised and now I need to do a bit of housecleaning in order to keep pace with all of the recent published opinions.  Here are a few from last week:

Wilson v. State, Tex. Crim. App. (Delivered  June 9, 2010) - CCA upheld Court of Appeals decision even though the Court of Appeals based its holding on a Penal Code section under which Appellant did not preserve error, but was closely related to the section for which he did preserve error.  To remand the case and end up with the same result, would have been an exercise in futility, so it appears the Court based its ruling more on judicial economy than law.

Rivera v. State, 7th Dist - Amarillo (Delivered June 8, 2010) - Explaining that Appellant had the burden to prove his counsel was ineffective, the Court held that trial defense counsel is not required to make arrangements for the defendant to view and/or listen to electronically recorded evidence prior to his guilty plea.  A good quote from this Per Curiam opinion:
Doing that which may be considered laughable, silly, unintelligent or insulting need not be done for counsel to be effective, and deciding whether to tender witnesses willing to say that appellant can be a good guy when he is not selling drugs and assaulting people seems to fall within that realm.
Griffith v. State, 11th Dist - Eastland (Delivered June 10, 2010) - Court affirmed manslaughter conviction.  Appellant acted recklessly when he drove his vehicle while intoxicated.  A defendant need not be aware of the specific risk of another's death to be guilty of manslaughter.

Steadman v. State, 11th Dist - Eastland (Delivered June 10, 2010) - The Court upheld the ruling of the trial court allowing a police officer to testify that the defendant "neither admitted nor denied" that he committed the offense during pre-arrest/pre-interrogation interview with police.  The Court had to stretch for this opinion, but here's what it came up with:
We hold...that pre-arrest silence of a defendant who has not received any Miranda warnings “is a constitutionally permissible area of inquiry.” We further hold that Steadman‟s pre-arrest/pre-Miranda silence was not the result either of interrogation or of his being compelled to be a witness against himself. Our holding is not to be taken to address those situations that involve comments upon a defendant‟s post-arrest/pre-Miranda silence or those involving silence during interrogation. We issue no holdings in connection with those issues.
Okay, there's a few cases.  I may have to do a couple more posts like this one to catch up.  Please bear with me.