Weekly Case Summaries: July 29, 2016

Texas Courts of Appeals

Crow v. State     (14th COA)

No. 14-15-00512-CR        7/21/2016

Issue:

In a prosecution for injury to a disabled person, must the disabled victim indicate that he felt pain to prove bodily injury?

Holding:

No. In this case, a video recording from the residential facility showing the defendant striking the disabled victim in the head was sufficient to prove bodily injury. Because the victim, who has the mental capacity of a 1-year-old, is unable to communicate or show signs of pain, the jury could reasonably infer that the defendant’s punch to the victim’s head caused pain. Read.

Dissent (Jamison, J.):

Justice Jamison concluded that there is not enough evidence to support a finding of bodily injury in this case. “The victim’s failure to indicate he felt pain is not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Inferences must be supported by the evidence.” Read.

Commentary:

It does not take much evidence to prove bodily injury, but this case may present the minimum possible amount—a video depicting what the jury could infer was a punch.

Houston-Randle v. State  (14th COA)

No. 14-15-00272-CR        7/26/2016

Issue:

Did the trial court abuse its discretion by revoking probation when it found the defendant committed a robbery (which includes the element of placing the victim in fear of imminent bodily injury or death) while on probation, even though the victim testified he was not afraid?

Holding:

No. Although the victim testified he was “pissed off” but was not afraid during the incident, under an objective standard, a victim would have reasonably believed that he might have been injured or killed by the defendant.  Read.

Commentary:

Brave (or foolhardy) persons may still be victims of robbery. Here, the victim’s testimony that “he didn’t want to get shot” was sufficient to show he was placed in fear even though he also testified he was not in fear.

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