Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the 263rd District Court of Harris County, Texas.
Justices Contreras, Benavides, and Longoria
L. LONGORIA Justice
Reginald Smith was indicted for murder, a first-degree
felony. See Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 19.02(b)(1)
(West, Westlaw through 2015 R.S.). On appeal, Smith argues in
a single issue that the trial court violated his
constitutional and statutory rights to be present throughout
the entire voir dire proceeding. We affirm.
was indicted for a murder that was alleged to have occurred
on April 19, 2014. He pleaded not guilty and proceeded to
trial before a jury. During the voir dire proceedings, the
following exchanges occurred as the trial court judge was
making his initial remarks to the venire members:
Court: Now, the State has the burden. The defendant may
testify if he wishes to do so; he doesn't have to, if he
doesn't and you cannot hold that against him. Anybody
have any questions about any of that? All right.
Smith: Your Honor-
The Court: You cannot speak, sir.
. . . .
The Court: So anybody have any questions for me? Again, the
case should be over by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Smith: Your Honor, I need a lawyer. This dude here-
The Court: Excuse me, sir. You cannot talk. All right. I
think that takes care of what I needed to speak with you
about. Why don't we all stand up and stretch for a second
and we will have the State start.
Smith: Let the jury see this, man. Sir, I need a lawyer.
The Court: All right. Please be seated. Thank you.
Smith: Your Honor, can I speak to you for a ...