A jury convicted appellant of delivery of between 50 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana which was packaged in 105 separate bundles. In a 2-1 decision the Court of Appeals decided appellant was entitled to a lesser-included offense jury instruction on delivery of more than 5 but less than 50 pounds of marijuana. Enriquez v. State, 988 S.W.2d 899, 902-03 (Tex.App. -Houston [14th Dist] 1999.
This case concerns the application of the second prong of the test for when a defendant is entitled to a lesser-included offense jury instruction. This prong of the test requires that the record contain some evidence "that would permit a jury rationally to find that if the defendant is guilty, he is guilty only of the lesser offense." Skinner v. State, 956 S.W.2d 532, 543 (Tex.Cr.App. 1997), cert. denied, 118 S.Ct. 1526 (1998) (emphasis in original). In applying this prong of the test, the appellate court must examine the entire record instead of plucking certain evidence from the record and examining it in a vacuum. See Ramos v. State, 865 S.W.2d 463, 465 (Tex.Cr.App. 1993).
The Court of Appeals decided appellant was entitled to a lesser-included offense jury instruction on delivery of more than 5 but less than 50 pounds of marijuana because the prosecution's chemist "only testified with certainty that she opened, examined, and chemically tested the contents of one bundle weighing 7.44 pounds." Enriquez, 988 S.W.2d at 903; see Gabriel v. State, 900 S.W.2d 721, 722 (Tex.Cr.App. 1995) (testing substances by random sampling goes to the weight jury may give to the tested substances in determining whether the untested substance is the same as the tested substance). (1) On direct examination, however, this chemist testified that she analyzed samples from all 105 bundles. For example,
"Q. Is some sort of test actually done on each bundle?
"A. Yes. Of course, we do the weight and then we take samples from each of the bundles and a portion of those are maybe grouped together to test microscopically and chemically."
Immediately after this, the chemist testified that each bundle weighed between 3.6 and 8.5 pounds. In reference to one specific bundle, the chemist testified that "the samples" were taken from this bundle and that it weighed 7.44 pounds.
"Q. Were the samples taken from this bundle?
"A. Yes, I'm trying to see if there was another one. Sometimes we do it under the seal. I know it was done here though.
"Q. From your record can you tell us what the weight of that bundle was?
"A. That bundle at that time was 7.44 pounds.
"Q. What were the various weights of the bundles?
"A. They ranged up to eight pounds or a little over eight pounds down to some in the three pounds. I think the largest was maybe eight and a half and the smallest was around 3.6 pounds from my notes.
"Q. Who was it that submitted the evidence to the lab?
"A. I believe it was Officer Smith.
"Q. Based on the tests that you ran on a hundred and five bundles that were submitted, were you able to form an opinion as to what was in the bundles?
"A. Yes, I did." (Emphasis Supplied).
A fair reading of the chemist's testimony on cross-examination indicates that she could not personally recall analyzing a sample from each bundle because "a lot of things [had] happened in [her] life over the last two years." She also testified that her normal practice was to analyze a sample from each bundle.
"Q. If I would ask you right now if you can remember exactly looking at each bundle, could you remember that from two years ago?
"A. Sir, I can't tell you I remember exactly everything that was done. I can remember part of the case. I remember these bundles. I remember black and white plastic bundles. I can remember that it was wrapped in this larger thing. I can remember that I took representative samples and examined them microscopically and chemically. I would like to think that I would take one from every single bundle because that's what is usually done. I can't tell you that I microscopically examined every single sample from a hundred and five bundles. I just can't recall today but I can tell you what I usually do." (Emphasis Supplied). (2)
On redirect examination, the chemist testified that her usual procedures were to analyze a sample from each bundle and that from her memory she analyzed "some type of sample" from each bundle.
"Q. In your procedures, tests are done on each bundle?
"A. Yes, ma'am. I test it microscopically and chemically. This is what I always did. From my memory I looked at every single bundle and I did take some type of sample and analyze (sic) it."
Based on an examination of the entire record, the chemist consistently testified that she analyzed a sample from each bundle. Regarding the bundle weighing 7.44 pounds, the chemist provided no testimony either on direct or on cross-examination that this was the only bundle from which a sample was analyzed. Even if it somehow could be inferred from the chemist's testimony about the bundle weighing 7.44 pounds that this was the only bundle from which a sample was analyzed, an appellate court would have to pluck this testimony from the record and examine it in a vacuum to decide that it raised a fact issue on whether appellant is guilty only of delivery of more than 5 but less than 50 pounds of marijuana. See Ramos, 865 S.W.2d at 465.
And, deciding that appellant was entitled to a lesser-included offense instruction on delivery of any amount of marijuana less than the amount charged also would require plucking a single statement from the chemist's cross-examination testimony ("I can't tell you that I microscopically examined every single sample from a hundred and five bundles") and examining it in a vacuum. Also, plucking this portion of the chemist's cross-examination testimony from the record and examining it in a vacuum does not raise any fact issue on whether appellant is guilty only of delivery of more than 5 but less than 50 pounds of marijuana. The only fact issue this cross-examination testimony arguably raises is that the chemist did not analyze a sample from an unknown number of the bundles.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
McCormick, Presiding Judge
(Delivered June 21, 2000)
Price, J., concurs in the result
Meyers, J., dissents
1.We would be inclined to agree with the Court of Appeals that had the chemist affirmatively testified that she analyzed a sample from only the one bundle weighing 7.44 pounds, then, pursuant to Gabriel, appellant would have been entitled to a lesser-included offense instruction on delivery of more than 5 but less than 50 pounds of marijuana because this testimony would have been "some evidence directly germane" to the lesser-included offense though it is difficult to perceive how appellant would have been harmed from the absence of the lesser-included offense instruction. See Skinner, 956 S.W.2d at 543; Gabriel, 900 S.W.2d at 722. If the chemist's testimony is that she analyzed a sample from each bundle, then appellant would not have been entitled to any lesser-included offense instruction. See id. (not enough that the jury may disbelieve crucial evidence pertaining to the greater offense).
2.The emphasized testimony could literally be read as saying that the chemist chemically but not microscopically analyzed a sample from each bundle.