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Sanchez v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

December 7, 2017

JUAN JOSE SANCHEZ, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

         On Appeal from the 268th District Court Fort Bend County, Texas Trial Court Case Nos. 14-DCR-067551 and 14-DCR-067552

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

          OPINION

          Jane Bland Justice

         A jury found Juan Jose Sanchez guilty of two separate offenses of fraudulent use of identifying information, and assessed his punishment at two years' confinement, probated for two years. See Tex. Penal Code § 32.51(b)(1). On appeal, Sanchez contends that the State failed to introduce legally sufficient evidence to permit the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to defraud or harm the complainant. We affirm.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         In separate indictments, the State alleged that Sanchez used the identifying information of Kim Pham without her consent. Sanchez was tried for both of these related offenses in a consolidated trial.

         Kim Pham, her husband, Thai Pham, and Detective R. Fields of the Fort Bend County Sherriff's Office testified at trial. There were no other witnesses.

         In 2014, the Phams discovered two checks fraudulently had been written on their joint checking account. The first check, number 125, was dated August 27 and negotiated on September 8. The second check, number 120, also was dated August 27, but it was negotiated on September 9. Both checks were written in the amount of $375, made out to Juan Jose Sanchez as the payee, signed in Kim's name as the drawer, and included a handwritten note indicating that the checks were for "Gutter Repair."

          Fields testified that the checks were negotiated at different bank branches. The bank identified one of its account holders, Sanchez, as the person who negotiated the checks. Fields confirmed Sanchez's identity and his involvement via his driver's license and bank surveillance photos. Fields concluded that the circumstances-two checks written out of sequence but dated the same day and written for the same amount-indicated fraud.

         Kim and Thai Pham denied writing the checks. They testified that they did not have any work done on their gutters or on any property they owned during the relevant timeframe. They did not recognize Sanchez and had not authorized him to work on their property. The check numbers that they used during that period were much higher than numbers 120 and 125. Thai said that their checks were numbered in the 300s, 400s, or 500s; Kim said that their checks were at least in the 400s. Kim never gave Sanchez permission to use her checking account.

         DISCUSSION

         Sanchez contends that the State did not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt because it failed to adduce evidence that he intended to defraud or harm Kim Pham. In particular, Sanchez contends that "the State offered no evidence that Pham's checks were stolen and offered no evidence as to how" the checks came into Sanchez's possession.

          A. Standard of review

         We apply the legal standard for evidentiary sufficiency stated in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979). Gear v. State, 340 S.W.3d 743, 746 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011); Pena v. State, 441 S.W.3d 635, 640 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, pet. ref'd). Under this standard, we "must consider all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and determine whether, based on that evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom, a rational fact finder could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Gear, 340 S.W.3d at 746. We cannot substitute our judgment for that of the jury by reevaluating the weight or ...


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