Texas Court Rejects Defendant’s Claim That He Did Not Prevent Girlfriend from Appearing in Court
In a recent opinion from a Texas court involving charges of domestic violence, the defendant’s request for a new verdict was denied. The defendant was found guilty of the second-degree felony offense of family violence assault by impeding the normal breathing of his girlfriend, as well as the third-degree felony offense of family violence. At trial, the prosecution argued that the defendant kept his girlfriend from being able to appear and testify in court. On appeal, the defendant said that this information was false and that he did not keep his girlfriend from coming to trial. The court disagreed and affirmed the guilty verdict.
The Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, police officers went to the defendant’s home after a neighbor called 911 to report domestic violence. Upon arrival, the officers knocked on the defendant’s door; the defendant, who was sweeping up glass from the living room floor, said that he and his girlfriend were “just getting into it.” The defendant’s girlfriend, on the other hand, reported to the officers that she and her boyfriend had argued and he had assaulted her. According to the defendant’s girlfriend, the defendant had punched her in the stomach and struck her with a broom ten times on the shoulders. When she ran outside, the defendant hit her in the head and pulled her into the house by her hair. At the end of the incident, she had red marks on her throat, bruising on her left arm, and a broken blood vessel in her eye.
Leading up to trial, investigators repeatedly tried to serve the defendant’s girlfriend with papers saying she had to appear in court. When they tried to deliver the papers, the defendant claimed that he and his girlfriend were no longer a couple and that he could not do anything to help the investigators locate her. Later, the investigators learned that the defendant and his girlfriend were still, in fact, together, despite what the defendant had claimed when the investigators asked for his help.
The Court’s Decision
At trial, the defendant was found guilty of family assault and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. The defendant’s girlfriend did not appear at trial, and the prosecution maintained that she was only unavailable because the defendant made sure she did not come to court. On appeal, the defendant argued that this conclusion had no basis in the truth – he said he did not keep his girlfriend from appearing in court and that the guilty charge against him was unjustifiable.
The court disagreed. It concluded that there was sufficient evidence to show that the defendant lied to officers about his relationship with his girlfriend when they tried to serve her with papers. The court pointed to a Facebook post that showed he and his girlfriend together only four days before the defendant claimed the couple was no longer together. It was reasonable, said the court, for the prosecution to argue that the defendant’s goal was to thwart the investigator’s efforts to serve his girlfriend with the court papers.
Have You Been Charged with Assault in Texas?
If you are facing Texas assault charges, there are defenses you can raise to fight your case. At Guest & Gray, we are a team of experienced, zealous advocates ready to help you explore your options and make sure your voice is heard. With almost 20 years of experience litigating criminal defense claims, we know the law and we will use it to advocate on your behalf. For a free consultation, give us a call at 972-654-4644. You can also contact us through our online form.