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Crofton v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

December 21, 2017


         On Appeal from the County Criminal Court at Law No. 11 Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2098298

          Panel consists of Justices Jamison, Busby, and Donovan.



         Appellant Lee Wayne Crofton appeals his conviction for resisting arrest. A jury found appellant guilty, appellant pleaded true to an enhancement paragraph, and the trial court assessed punishment at 120 days in jail. In a single issue on appeal, appellant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm.


         Officer John Paul Zepeda with the Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department was the only witness to testify at trial. Zepeda stated that on June 23, 2016, he was patrolling a Houston transit station in his uniform when he observed appellant lying on the grass near the station. According to Zepeda, appellant "appeared to . . . either [be having] a medical emergency or . . . be intoxicated, " was incoherent, and was "kind of rolling and kind of convulsing." Firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after Zepeda arrived.

         Zepeda asked the firefighters to check appellant, and they determined that he was not suffering from low blood pressure or low blood sugar and was "okay." Zepeda said the next step was to get appellant to the sobering center, which is a place where people found to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs can be given a chance to "sleep off whatever they've taken" rather than being arrested. Zepeda opined that the sobering center was the best place for appellant at that point to get him the help he needed, but Zepeda further explained that if a person believed to be intoxicated in public doesn't want to go to the sobering center, the alternative is to arrest the person for public intoxication.

         Zepeda then attempted to gain control of appellant by applying handcuffs. However, as soon as Zepeda got the first handcuff on appellant's left wrist, appellant began rolling or twisting his body, preventing Zepeda from putting the other handcuff on appellant's right wrist. Zepeda explained that this put him (Zepeda) in a vulnerable position because when a suspect starts swinging his arm with one handcuff on it, the handcuff becomes a weapon.

         According to Zepeda, appellant kept his free hand out of Zepeda's reach while rolling his body back and forth and pushing with his body against Zepeda. Appellant appeared angry during the encounter, and Zepeda told appellant that he was under arrest for public intoxication. Zepeda eventually managed to get appellant fully handcuffed with the help of two or three of the firefighters. Zepeda stated that at the time of the arrest, appellant was "obviously a danger to himself or others in the state that he[ was] in."

         A jury found appellant guilty of resisting arrest. In his sole issue, appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support this finding.

         Governing Law

         In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we view all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and determine, based on that evidence and any reasonable inferences therefrom, whether a rational jury could have found the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Gear v. State, 340 S.W.3d 743, 746 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011) (citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318-19 (1979)). We consider all of the evidence adduced at trial, whether it was admissible or inadmissible. Winfrey v. State, 393 S.W.3d 763, 767 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013). We do not reevaluate the weight and credibility of the evidence or substitute our judgment for that of the factfinder. Williams v. State, 235 S.W.3d 742, 750 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007). Because the jury is the sole judge of the credibility of witnesses and of the weight to be given their testimony, any conflicts or inconsistencies in the evidence are resolved in favor of the verdict. Wesbrook v. State, 29 S.W.3d 103, 111 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000).

         To obtain a conviction for resisting arrest, the State was required to prove that appellant intentionally prevented or obstructed a person he knew to be a peace officer from effecting an arrest by using force against the peace officer. See Tex. Penal Code § 38.03(a).[1] To show that appellant used force in resisting arrest, the State had to prove that appellant used "violence or physical aggression, or an immediate threat thereof, in the direction of and/or into contact with, or in opposition or hostility to, a peace officer." See Dobbs v. State, 434 S.W.3d 166, 171 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014). An arrest is a process that starts when the peace officer begins to make efforts to arrest the suspect and ends once the officer's efforts to restrain or control the suspect are completed. See Medford v. State, 13 S.W.3d 769, 772-73 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000); Latham v. State, 128 S.W.3d 325, 329 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2004, no pet.). A conviction for resisting arrest requires the force to occur after the ...

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