Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Corley v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

November 14, 2017

ERIC JOSEPH CORLEY, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

         On Appeal from the County Criminal Court at Law No. 4 Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2013774

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Boyce and Jewell.

          OPINION

          Kem Thompson Frost Chief Justice

         Convicted of driving while intoxicated, appellant Eric Joseph Corley challenges the trial court's admission of retrograde-extrapolation evidence of his blood-alcohol content. Concluding that the trial court reasonably could have determined that the retrograde-extrapolation evidence was reliable, we overrule the challenge and affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Officer Joseph Little stopped appellant for speeding (91 miles per hour) while weaving through interstate traffic in the dark. It was 9:57 p.m. After Officer Little smelled alcohol and noticed appellant's eyes were glassy, he gave appellant three standard field-sobriety tests and saw clues of intoxication on each test. Appellant told Officer Little that on a scale of one to ten, with one being sober and ten being highly intoxicated, appellant would rate himself as a two or three.

         Officer Little arrested appellant and took him to the police station. There, appellant took two Breathalyzer tests. The first test result, at 10:59 p.m., registered at .109; the second, at 11:02 p.m., came in at .110.

         Charged with driving while intoxicated, appellant pleaded "not guilty." During the jury trial that followed, Officer Little described his roadside encounter with appellant. Expert witness Tasha Israel then opined that based on appellant's breath-test results, appellant was intoxicated at the time of the stop.

         Before Israel testified, appellant moved to exclude her testimony, asserting it was unreliable because Israel did not have enough information to perform a reliable retrograde extrapolation. After conducting a hearing outside of the presence of the jury, the trial court denied appellant's motion.

         The jury found appellant guilty as charged. The trial court assessed punishment at 180 days' confinement, but suspended the sentence and placed appellant on community supervision for one year.

         Appellant urges a single point on appeal: The trial court abused its discretion in admitting the expert's retrograde-extrapolation testimony because it was unreliable.

         Analysis

         We review a trial court's admission of evidence for an abuse of discretion. Willover v. State, 70 S.W.2d 841, 845 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002). Under an abuse-of-discretion standard, we will not disturb the trial court's decision if the ruling falls within the zone of reasonable disagreement. Tillman v. State, 354 S.W.3d 425, 435 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011).

         Reliability of retrograde-extrapolation evidence

         An expert witness may testify as to the expert's opinion based on scientific knowledge if it will help the trier of fact understand the evidence or determine a fact in issue. Tex. R. Evid. 702. To show that the expert's opinion would be helpful, the party offering the scientific proof, among other things, must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the proof is reliable. Jackson v. State, 17 S.W.3d 664, 670 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000). Reliability may be established by showing (1) the validity of the underlying scientific theory, (2) the validity of the technique applying the theory, and (3) the proper application of the technique on the occasion in question. Kelly v. State, 824 S.W.2d 568, 573 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992).

         Retrograde extrapolation is the process of computing a person's blood-alcohol level at the time of driving based on the alcohol level found in the person's blood, drawn some time later. Mata v. State, 46 S.W.3d 902, 908-09 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001). Retrograde-extrapolation testimony can be reliable if certain factors are known. Veliz v. State, 474 S.W.3d 354, 359 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2015, pet. ref'd). A paramount consideration is the expert's ability to apply the science and explain it with clarity. Mata, 46 S.W.3d at 916. The expert must demonstrate some understanding of the difficulties associated with a retrograde extrapolation and must ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.