Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
FROM THE 349TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT HOUSTON COUNTY, TEXAS
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
T. Worthen Chief Justice
Mendez appeals his conviction for possession of a prohibited
item in a state correctional facility. In one issue,
Appellant argues that the trial court abused its discretion
in denying his motion to suppress his oral statement. We
is a forty-four year old inmate, who is incarcerated at the
Allen B. Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice (TDCJ). He has been incarcerated in TDCJ since he was
thirty years old. He previously was incarcerated in TDCJ at
17, 2015, guards discovered a cellular telephone and a
cellular telephone charger in Appellant's cell. Twelve
days later, Benjamin Gardner, an investigator with the Office
of the Inspector General for TDCJ, met with Appellant.
Gardner recorded their conversation. Gardner first read
Appellant his rights,  and Appellant acknowledged receiving and
understanding these warnings. Thereafter, Appellant confessed
to having the cellular telephone and the charger in his cell.
Appellant was charged by indictment with possession of a
prohibited item in a state correctional
facility. Prior to trial, Appellant filed a motion
to suppress the recorded statement he made to Gardner. In
support of his motion, Appellant argued that the warnings
were read to him too quickly in light of the fact that he had
only an eighth grade education, had been a special education
student, and has an IQ of 80. Appellant was the sole
testifying witness during the hearing on his motion. The only
evidence he presented to the court in support of his
contention that he did not knowingly and intelligently waive
his right against self-incrimination was that he did not
understand the meaning of the word "evidence."
trial court denied Appellant's motion to suppress.
Thereafter, Appellant pleaded "guilty" as charged,
and the trial court sentenced him to imprisonment for four
years. This appeal followed.
sole issue, Appellant contends that the trial court abused
its discretion by denying his motion to suppress because he
did not knowingly and intelligently waive his right against
reviewing claims concerning the admission of statements made
as the result of custodial interrogation, we conduct the
bifurcated review articulated in Guzman v. State,
955 S.W.2d 85, 89 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997). See Pecina v.
State, 361 S.W.3d 68, 78-79 (Tex. Crim. App. 2012). We
measure the propriety of the trial court's ruling with
respect to alleged violations under the totality of the
circumstances, almost wholly deferring to the trial court on
questions of historical fact and credibility, but reviewing
de novo all questions of law and mixed questions of law and
fact that do not turn on credibility determinations. See
Leza v. State, 351 S.W.3d 344, 349 (Tex. Crim. App.
2011). We afford almost total deference to the trial
court's determination of historical facts and mixed
questions of law and fact that turn on the evaluation of
credibility and demeanor. Guzman, 955 S.W.2d at 89.
Questions of law and mixed questions of law and fact not
turning on credibility are reviewed de novo. Id.
When the trial court does not make express findings of fact,
we must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
trial court's rulings, assuming that it made implicit
findings of fact that are supported by the record. See
Arguellez v. State, 409 S.W.3d 657, 662-63 (Tex. Crim.
App. 2013). We will sustain the trial court's decision if
it is correct on any applicable theory of law. Id.