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Hayes v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

March 7, 2017


         On Appeal from the 178th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 1408364

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Jennings and Bland.


          Sherry Radack Chief Justice

         Appellant, Emanuel Hayes, pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery of an individual over sixty-five years of age or disabled, and, after a presentence investigation ["PSI"], the trial court found appellant guilty and assessed punishment at 16 years' confinement. In single point of error, appellant contends the trial court erred because it heard a day of appellant's punishment proceedings without appellant being present. We affirm.


         The Offense

         On November 6, 2013, six young people-appellant, Darion Amos, "Marcus, " "Zae, " and two girls-knocked on the door of 78-year-old Richard Chandler, forced their way into his apartment when Chandler opened the door, and stole several items, including a computer tablet, keys to a truck, and a gold ring that Mr. Chandler usually wore.

         During the home invasion, Chandler was knocked unconscious and sustained bruises and swelling of his face, ear, and brain. He was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he remained for several weeks. After being released from Ben Taub Hospital, Chandler spent several months in a rehabilitation facility. While he had suffered some degree of dementia before the home invasion, Chandler's dementia accelerated afterward. He never recovered his ability to communicate with his family and became very combative. In her victim impact statement, Chandler's daughter stated that he died in 2015 when he "went into the kitchen to get something to drink and wound up drinking a plumbing solution." She felt like Chandler would still be alive today if he had not been assaulted.

         A few days after the aggravated robbery of Chandler, appellant and Darion Amos were arrested at the scene of another burglary in the same apartment complex. When police searched appellant's car, they found several items that had been stolen from Chandler's apartment, such as the truck keys, an Android tablet, and Chandler's gold ring. Both appellant and Amos were charged with aggravated robbery in connection with the home invasion of Chandler.

         The Guilty Pleas

         Amos pleaded guilty on February 18, 2015, and his case was reset for a PSI hearing. Appellant pleaded guilty on June 5, 2015, and his case was also reset for a PSI hearing. Neither defendant was adjudicated guilty at the time of their pleas.

         The October 6, 2015 PSI hearing-both defendants' cases are called

         On October 6, 2015, the trial court called both appellant's and Amos's cases for a joint PSI hearing. Both appellant and Amos were present, along with their separate counsel. At the hearing, a single exhibit containing PSI materials regarding both defendants was entered into evidence as Exhibit 1 in each of the defendant's cases. The State then called two witnesses, Chandler's daughter and ex-wife, who testified about the effect the crime had on their family. The State then rested its punishment case against both defendants.

         Amos's counsel then called Samantha Amos, who testified on behalf of her son. Before her testimony, the trial court noted, "Let the record reflect this is in regard to the Amos case. After Ms. Amos's testimony, the trial court adjourned the hearing until the next day. Ms. Amos testified that she had warned her son about hanging around with appellant.

         The October 7, 2015 PSI hearing-only Amos's case is called

         The next day, the trial court resumed the PSI hearing and called "Cause No. 1408362, The State of Texas vs. Darion Amos." The record shows that "Mr. Amos is present and counsel is present as well." Thereafter, Amos testified about the day of the offense and presented evidence to support his requests for probation, such as his family and employment history. Specifically, Amos testified that he met appellant at the apartment complex where Amos [and Chandler] lived. Amos testified that on the day of the offense, he was playing basketball with appellant when appellant "told me that he had a lead basically." Appellant told him "he had a lick, " and "he knew where some money was. It was $8, 000 supposedly, and that we were going to break into the house to get the money." Amos further testified that "[i]t was [appellant's] plan."

         Amos testified that appellant was the person who knocked on Chandler's door, and "Marcus pushed [Chandler] down." While Amos testified that he did not see anyone strike Chandler, he also noted that appellant stayed downstairs with Chandler while everyone else went upstairs. When he came back downstairs, he saw that Chandler was unconscious, and that he saw appellant and Marcus standing around him. Amos testified that he asked what happened to Chandler, but that appellant and Marcus "both shrugged their shoulders."

         Appellant's trial counsel, though present during Amos's testimony, did not participate in the hearing.

         At the conclusion of the day, the trial court found Amos guilty, denied his motion for community supervision, and reset the case for sentencing in two weeks.

         The October 9, 2015 PSI hearing-only appellant's case is called

         The PSI hearing resumed on October 9th, and the trial court called "Cause No. 1408364, the State of Texas v. Emanuel Hayes." Before the hearing began, the following exchange took place.

[Trial Court]: The record will reflect that the State put on their case, both co-defendants [Appellant] and Amos. Mr. Amos's attorney put on the defense witnesses for Mr. Amos. [Appellant] was not brought up.
[Appellant's Defense Counsel]: Let the record reflect that I was present for that portion of the PSI.
[Trial Court]: All right. [Appellant] was not brought up. And [Appellant] is now present. Counsel for the defense ...

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