In a recent case before a district court in Texas, the defendant appealed his assault conviction by arguing that the evidence was legally insufficient to support his guilty verdict. According to the defendant, his trial unjustly resulted in a conviction when the prosecution had not proven every element of the assault crime he was facing. Looking at the totality of the evidence, the court of appeals ultimately disagreed with the defendant and kept the original verdict in place.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant was criminally charged after his significant other accused him of assaulting her and choking her in 2020. On the night in question, the defendant pushed himself on his girlfriend, and she told him to stop. He responded by trying to choke her, squeezing her neck, and holding down her arms and hands with his knees.
The defendant’s girlfriend did not call 911, but she took pictures of several injuries she incurred after the incident. The photos showed marks and redness on her neck, but there were shadows in the pictures that led the defense attorney to question whether or not the pictures accurately showed any injury. The photos, however, were entered at trial, and the defendant was found guilty of the assault. He was sentenced to time in prison as a result, and he promptly appealed.
The defendant contended on appeal that the evidence was legally insufficient to support a guilty verdict. First, said the defendant, the pictures were vague and did not make clear that an assault had taken place. In addition, the prosecution had not shown that he had actually choked his girlfriend. Instead, while he was possible he had applied pressure to her neck, the incident did not rise to the level of an assault, and the conviction should be overturned because the prosecution did not prove that he actually restricted her breathing in any way.
Looking at the evidence, the court of appeals noted that the pictures and testimony were enough to support a guilty verdict. While the photos did have shadows, they were clear enough to show that an assault had taken place. Given the girlfriend’s testimony at trial that she could not breathe and was afraid for her life during the incident, the jury was reasonable to infer that the defendant substantially restricted her breathing on the night of the assault.
Thus, given these facts, the court affirmed the guilty verdict.
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At Guest & Gray, we understand that when you have been accused of a domestic violence crime, the stakes are high, and you cannot settle for any representation but the best. Our team is made up of former felony prosecutors who are using combined decades of litigation experience to fight for your rights and protect what matters to you most. For a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys, call us today at 972-564-4644. You can also fill out our form online to tell us about your case.