Appeal from the County Court at Law Brown County, Texas Trial
Court Cause No. J00010
consists of: Wright, C.J., Willson, J., and Bailey, J.
WRIGHT CHIEF JUSTICE
an appeal from a judgment of disposition in a juvenile
delinquency matter involving determinate-sentence offenses.
See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 53.045(a),
54.04 (West Supp. 2016). After the grand jury approved the
juvenile court petition, A.V. pleaded true to allegations
that he had engaged in delinquent conduct by engaging in
organized criminal activity and by committing the offenses of
aggravated robbery, and the trial court adjudicated A.V.
See id. § 53.045. Several weeks later, a jury
was empaneled for the disposition hearing. The jury found
that A.V. was in need of rehabilitation or that disposition
was required to protect either A.V. or the public. See
id. § 54.04(a), (c). The jury sentenced A.V. to
commitment in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with a
possible transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
for a term of thirty years, and the trial court entered a
judgment of disposition based on the jury's verdict.
See id. § 54.04(d)(3). We affirm.
presents three issues on appeal; all three relate to the
disposition hearing. In his first issue, A.V. complains that
the trial court erred when it sustained the State's
objection and refused to admit an expert report into
evidence. In his second issue, A.V. contends that the trial
court erred when it overruled his challenge for cause to one
of the members of the venire panel. In his final issue, A.V.
presents a Batson claim.
first issue is based on the trial court's exclusion of an
exhibit. During A.V.'s disposition hearing, A.V. offered
into evidence a letter prepared by a psychiatrist who was
appointed by the trial court as an expert to assist in the
preparation of A.V.'s defense. A.V. did not call the
psychiatrist to testify at trial but, instead, offered the
psychiatrist's letter into evidence during the testimony
of the chief juvenile probation officer. The letter, which
was addressed to A.V.'s attorney, contained the
psychiatrist's findings based upon his initial
consultation with A.V. The trial court sustained the
State's hearsay objection, and A.V. later made an
informal bill of exception or offer of proof as to the
excluded exhibit. A.V. explained to the trial court that the
exhibit was admissible because it was authenticated by the
probation officer and because she had a copy of it in her
argues on appeal that the letter constitutes an expert report
of a professional consultant under Section 54.04(b) and that,
therefore, the hearsay rules do not apply. As a prerequisite
to presenting a complaint for appellate review, the record
must show that the appealing party "stated the grounds
for the ruling that [he] sought from the trial court with
sufficient specificity to make the trial court aware of the
complaint." Tex.R.App.P. 33.1(a)(1)(A). To complain on
appeal about the trial court's exclusion of evidence, the
proponent "must have told the judge why the evidence was
admissible" and must have brought to the trial
court's attention the same complaint that is being made
on appeal. Reyna v. State, 168 S.W.3d 173, 177 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2005). To have evidence admitted under a hearsay
exception, the proponent of the evidence must specify at
trial the exception upon which he is relying. Willover v.
State, 70 S.W.3d 841, 845 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002).
Additionally, to properly preserve an issue, the arguments
asserted by the proponent of the evidence at trial must
comport with the arguments asserted on appeal. In re
C.Q.T.M., 25 S.W.3d 730, 738 (Tex. App.-Waco 2000, pet.
denied). And, when making an offer of proof, "the party
must specify the purpose for which the evidence is offered
and give the trial judge reasons why the evidence is
admissible." Id. at 737 (quoting Cont'l
Coffee Prods. Co. v. Cazarez, 903 S.W.2d 70, 80 (Tex.
App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 1995), rev'd in part on
other grounds, 937 S.W.2d 444 (Tex. 1996)). Because A.V.
did not at any point explain to the trial court why the
hearsay rule did not apply in this case or state that it was
A.V.'s position that the exhibit was admissible under
Section 54.04(b), he has not preserved this issue for review.
We overrule A.V.'s first issue.
second issue, A.V. argues that the trial court erred when it
overruled his challenge for cause to Veniremember No. 30.
A.V. contends that this prospective juror was disqualified
because she was biased and prejudiced. See Tex.
Gov't Code Ann. § 62.105 (West 2013); Tex. Code
Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 35.16 (West 2006). The record shows
that Veniremember No. 30 had twice been a victim of a crime
similar to the one committed by A.V. She stated during voir
dire that she knew how it felt to be a victim of such a
crime: "Worse than horrible." When questioned
further at the bench, Veniremember No. 30 first said that she
thought A.V. needed some jail time but then said that she
could consider probation if the facts showed that probation
"would do him good." She then indicated that, given
her history, her judgment could possibly be a little cloudy
but that A.V. is "a different person than who robbed me,
and it would be probably completely different circumstances
than what happened to me." A.V. moved to excuse
Veniremember No. 30 for cause, and the trial court overruled
that motion. A.V. properly preserved this issue for our
review. See Green v. State, 934 S.W.2d 92, 105 (Tex.
Crim. App. 1996).
review a trial court's ruling on a challenge for cause
with considerable deference because the trial court is in the
best position to evaluate the demeanor and responses of a
prospective juror. Gardner v. State, 306 S.W.3d 274,
295-96 (Tex. Crim. App. 2009). We may reverse a trial
court's ruling on a challenge for cause only if the trial
court clearly abused its discretion. Id. at 296.
When the answers of the challenged veniremember are
vacillating, unclear, or contradictory, we accord particular
deference to the trial court's decision. Id. at
295; In re M.R., No. 11-08-00155-CV, 2010 WL
1948286, at *2 (Tex. App.-Eastland May 13, 2010, pet. denied)
veniremember is challengeable for cause if she has (1) a bias
or prejudice for or against a party or (2) a bias or
prejudice against the law upon which the parties are entitled
to rely. Gardner, 306 S.W.3d at 295; M.R.,
2010 WL 1948286, at *1. A veniremember is not challengeable
for cause merely because she has a bias against the crime
committed. M.R., 2010 WL 1948286, at *3.
prospective juror expresses bias or prejudice in favor of or
against the defendant (as opposed to a bias or prejudice
against the law), it is not ordinarily deemed possible for
the prospective juror to be qualified by stating that she can
lay aside such prejudice or bias. Id. at *1 (citing
Smith v. State, 907 S.W.2d 522, 530 (Tex. Crim. App.
1995)). When a prospective juror expresses a bias for or
against the law, the question is whether the bias or
prejudice would substantially impair the prospective
juror's ability to carry out her oath and instructions in
accordance with the law. Gardner, 306 S.W.3d at 295;
M.R., 2010 WL 1948286, at *2. Before a veniremember
may be excused for cause, the law must be explained to her,
and she must be asked whether she can follow that law
regardless of her personal views. Gardner, 306
S.W.3d at 295; M.R., 2010 WL 1948286, at *2. The
proponent of a challenge for cause carries the burden of
establishing that the challenge is proper. Gardner,
306 S.W.3d at 295. The proponent does not meet this burden
until the proponent shows that the veniremember understood
the requirements of the law and could not overcome her
prejudice well enough to follow the law. Id.
Veniremember No. 30 did not express a bias or prejudice
against A.V. but, rather, against the crime he committed.
Veniremember No. 30 vacillated somewhat with respect to any
bias or prejudice as it related to the law-specifically,
probation. However, we defer to the trial court's
determination and hold that A.V. did not meet his burden to
show that Veniremember No. 30 understood the law but could
not overcome her prejudice well enough to follow the law.
A.V.'s second issue is overruled.
third issue, A.V. asserts a Batson claim. He argues
that the State used its peremptory strikes against three
Hispanic veniremembers-Nos. 4, 9, and 10- on the basis of
their race. The record shows that A.V. is Hispanic.
Batson, the State is prohibited from using
peremptory strikes to exclude jurors on the basis of race.
Batson, 476 U.S. at 86. A Batson challenge
consists of three steps. "First, the opponent of the
strike must establish a prima facie showing of
racial discrimination. Second, the proponent of the strike
must articulate a race-neutral explanation. Third, the trial
court must decide whether the opponent has proved purposeful
racial discrimination." Grant v. State, 325
S.W.3d 655, 657 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010) (citing Purkett v.
Elem, 514 U.S. 765, 767 (1995)). We defer to the trial
court's evaluation of ...