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State v. Maldonado

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

April 6, 2017

THE STATE OF TEXAS Appellant,
v.
CHRISTOPHER RAY MALDONADO, Appellee.

         On appeal from the 24th District Court of Victoria County, Texas.

          Before Justices Contreras, Benavides and Longoria

          OPINION

          NORA L. LONGORIA Justice

         The State of Texas appeals an order granting appellee Christopher Ray Maldonado's pretrial petition for a writ of habeas corpus and dismissing the indictment against him as barred by double jeopardy.[1] We affirm.

         I. Background

         In June 2015, Maldonado was charged with an offense involving family violence and released on bond. Certain conditions of his bond required him to avoid contacting the complainant in the case or going near her residence. Two months later, the State charged Maldonado in cause number 15-08-28904-A with violating the conditions of his bond "in a family violence case, related to the safety of the victim" two or more times in a period of twelve months or less. See Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 25.072(a) (West, Westlaw through 2015 R.S.). The indictment specifically alleged that on or about July 7, 2015 Maldonado communicated with the complainant on June 7, 2015 by phone and in person.

         Maldonado pled not guilty, and a jury was empaneled and sworn. After reading the indictment aloud, the prosecutor representing the State moved to amend the indictment so that it would allege the violations occurred on July 7, 2015 instead of June 7. The prosecutor specifically informed the court that the date of June 7 was an error and that the correct date was July 7. The trial court denied the State's motion. The State moved to dismiss the indictment, and the trial court granted the motion.

         The State later charged Maldonado under cause number 15-10-28976-A with another violation of section 25.072. This second indictment alleged that on or about the "7th day of July, 2015; 14th day of April, 2015" Maldonado violated the conditions of his bond "in a family violence case, related to the safety of the victim" by communicating by phone and again in person with the same complainant alleged in the previous indictment. The second indictment further alleged that Maldonado violated the conditions of his bond a third time by going near the same complainant's residence. Despite the mention of April 14 in the indictment, all three violations allegedly occurred on July 7, 2015.

         Maldonado filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that prosecuting him under the second indictment would subject him to a second prosecution for the same offense in violation of his double jeopardy rights.[2] Following a hearing, the trial court granted Maldonado's petition and dismissed the indictment. This appeal followed.

         II. Discussion

         The State argues in one consolidated issue that the trial court was wrong to conclude that prosecuting Maldonado on the second indictment would violate double jeopardy because each alleged violation of section 25.072 was a distinct unit of prosecution.

         A. Standard of Review

         We review a trial court's ruling on a petition for habeas corpus for an abuse of discretion. Kniatt v. State, 206 S.W.3d 657, 664 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006). In conducting this review, we give almost total deference to the trial court's findings of fact which are supported by the record but review de novo the court's determination of the law and its application of the law to the facts. Ex parte Cantu, 120 S.W.3d 519, 520 (Tex. App.- Corpus Christi 2003, no pet.).

         B. ...


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