Texas Court Sides with State in Case Involving Defendant’s Tampering by Concealing Evidence

In a recent criminal case before an appeals court in Texas, the State appealed a previous ruling in the defendant’s favor regarding his conviction for tampering. Originally, the defendant was charged with tampering in 2017, and he was ultimately found guilty as charged. The defendant appealed, and the court of appeals reversed the conviction. The State appealed, however, and the higher court ultimately reversed the verdict that was in favor of the defendant.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, an officer on the highway was on patrol in his car when he saw the defendant driving by, going 84 miles per hour in a 75-mile-per-hour zone. The officer activated his lights and began following the defendant, attempting to make a traffic stop.

As the officer followed the defendant, he noticed that the defendant threw several brown objects out of his window. One of the objects flew directly into the officer’s windshield, and the others fell to the ground.
The defendant eventually stopped his car, and the officer issued a traffic ticket. The officer then went back to look for the objects that the defendant threw from his car, finding five joints with marijuana wrapped in brown cigar paper. Officers later arrested the defendant and charged him with possession of marijuana and tampering.

The Decision

The defendant’s case went to trial, and a jury found him guilty of tampering. The defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence against him was insufficient to support the conviction. The higher court granted the defendant’s appeal, reversing the conviction.

Subsequently, however, the State appealed this reversal. According to the State, there was plenty of evidence to convict the defendant of tampering. The higher court was then required to carefully examine the evidence to see if it was, indeed, sufficient to find the defendant guilty.

Looking at the evidence, the court concluded that there was plenty of evidence for the defendant to have been found guilty. It was obvious, said the court, that the defendant threw things from his car since one of the objects landed on the officer’s windshield. The officer used his GPS device to find exactly where he activated his siren, allowing him to properly locate the objects that the defendant threw from his car.

Because a jury could have reasonably found that the defendant threw objects from his car in an attempt to hide them from the officer, the defendant’s conviction should have been sustained. The court therefore reversed the lower court’s decision, siding with the State.

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