Second Court of Appeals

Week of May 11, 2015 

Summaries of Civil Opinions and Published Criminal Opinions Issued - Week of May 11, 2015

NOTE: Summaries are prepared by the court's staff attorneys and law clerks for public information only and reflect his or her interpretation alone of the facts and legal issues. The summaries are not part of the court's opinion in the case and should not be cited to, quoted, or relied upon as the opinion of the court.

Links to full text of opinions (PDF version) can be accessed by clicking the cause number.

Tate v. State, No. 02-14-00179-CR (May 14, 2015) (Sudderth, J., joined by Gardner, J.; Walker, J., dissents with opinion).

Held: Appellant was removed from the vehicle he had been driving while two passengers remained inside. The passengers were described as actively moving around for at least five minutes after his removal. When the vehicle was later inventoried at the scene, police discovered a syringe containing .25 grams of methamphetamine in an open compartment underneath the air conditioner/heater control panel, which was within reach of both the driver and the front passenger. Because the only link between Appellant and the syringe at the time he was removed from the vehicle was that he had been the vehicle's driver and self-purported owner, the evidence is insufficient to support Appellant's conviction of possession of a controlled substance.

Dissent: The logical force of the combined evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom––when viewed in its totality in the light most favorable to the verdict and with deference to the jury's weight- and credibility-of-the-evidence determinations––is sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Tate exercised actual care, custody, control, or management of the syringe of methamphetamine and that his relationship to it was more than merely fortuitous.

Patterson v. State, No. 02-12-00172-CR (May 14, 2015) (Walker, J., joined by Gabriel and Sudderth, JJ.).

Held: Because the trial court erred by admitting—over Patterson's objections—the testimony of Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Samuel Hellinger and of Cooke County Sherriff Michael Compton that Patterson was not a suitable candidate for probation and because, based on our examination of the record as a whole, we do not have "fair assurance" that the error did not influence the jury or had but a slight effect, Patterson is entitled to a new punishment hearing.