Appeal from the 405th District Court Galveston County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 15CR0003
consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Donovan and
Wise. (Frost, C.J., dissenting.)
Michael Belle brings this appeal, pro se, from his conviction
for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Appellant
pled true to two enhancement allegations and the jury
sentenced him to twenty-eight years in prison. We affirm.
brief raises a number of issues. We have addressed each issue
that we have identified as being fairly included and have
used appellant's nomenclature of the issues. See
Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(f).
of the Evidence
B of appellant's second issue he complains of the actions
of the district attorney. In doing so, appellant argues the
evidence is insufficient to support his conviction.
Specifically, appellant argues that the State failed to prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that he knowingly or intentionally
possessed a firearm. As that is the only identifiable issue
in part B upon which this court could grant relief, it is the
only claim we address. Because this issue, if sustained,
would result in rendition of a judgment of acquittal, we
address it first. See Price v. State, 502 S.W.3d
278, 281 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2016, no pet);
see also Tex. R. App. P. 47.1.
engaging in a review of the legal sufficiency of the evidence
supporting a conviction, we "examine all of the evidence
in the light most favorable to the verdict and determine
whether a rational trier of fact could have found the
essential elements of the offense beyond a reasonable
doubt." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319,
99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); Price v.
State, 456 S.W.3d 342, 347 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th
Dist.] 2015, pet. ref'd). In conducting the review we
consider all evidence presented to the jury, whether properly
or improperly admitted at trial. Thomas v. State,
753 S.W.2d 688, 695 (Tex. Crim. App. 1988).
reviewing court, we may not substitute our judgment for that
of the fact finder by re-evaluating weight and credibility of
evidence. Isassi v. State, 330 S.W.3d 633, 638 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2010). Rather, we defer to the responsibility of
the fact-finder to fairly resolve conflicts in testimony,
weigh the evidence, and draw reasonable inferences from basic
facts to ultimate facts. Id. Our duty as the
reviewing court is to ensure the evidence presented actually
supports a conclusion that the defendant committed the crime.
Williams v. State, 235 S.W.3d 742, 750 (Tex. Crim.
App. 2007). Therefore, if any rational trier of fact could
have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a
reasonable doubt, we must affirm. McDuff v. State,
939 S.W.2d 607, 614 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997).
was charged with intentionally and knowingly possessing a
firearm more than five years after having been convicted of a
felony at any location other than the premises at which he
lived. See Tex. Penal Code § 46.04 (a)(2). The
State introduced evidence the firearm was found in a pocket
of the jacket appellant was wearing, while not at the
premises at which he lived. Appellant asserts the evidence
does not connect him to the actual care, custody, control, or
management of the firearm.
cases involving possession of a firearm by a felon, we
analyze the sufficiency of the evidence under the rules
adopted for cases involving possession of a controlled
substance. Corpus v. State, 30 S.W.3d 35, 37 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, pet. ref'd). Accordingly,
the State was required to prove that appellant knew of the
weapon's existence and that he exercised actual care,
custody, control, or management over it. Id. at 38.
If the firearm is not found on the defendant, or if it is not
in his exclusive possession, the State must offer additional,
independent facts and circumstances affirmatively linking him
to the firearm. Id.
Vasquez testified that when he began patting appellant down
for a safety check, he located a firearm, a Ruger
9-millimeter, in a pocket of appellant's jacket. When
Vasquez removed the firearm, appellant advised him
"there was one in the chamber." Appellant explained
to Vasquez how to safely remove the bullet in the chamber.
to appellant, the firearm was put in his jacket by his
ex-girlfriend, Tekoa Scott, before he put the jacket on, and
he was unaware of the firearm's presence in the jacket
pocket. Appellant told the jury he was set-up by the police.
firearm was found on appellant and he was in exclusive
possession of it. The jury was free to disbelieve
appellant's version as to how the firearm came to be in
his possession. Taking the evidence in the light most
favorable to the verdict, we conclude that any rational trier
of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt all of the
essential elements of the offense charged, including
knowledge and control over the firearm. We overrule part B of
complains of comments made by the trial court when appellant
requested self-representation at trial. Appellant's brief
contains no references to the record where such comments were
made. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(i). Accordingly the
issue is waived.
asserts the trial court abused its discretion by failing to
remove his court-appointed counsel on August 19, 2015. The
record reflects the trial court ultimately conducted a
Spears hearing, duly admonished appellant, and
allowed him to represent himself. The trial court's
adherence to the requisites of permitting a defendant to
forego counsel does not constitute error. Part B is
argues the trial court abused its discretion in failing to
hold a hearing on the following pre-trial motions: (1) to
dismiss the indictment; (2) to suppress evidence; and (3) to
exclude prior offenses. Appellant cites no authority in
support of his argument. See Tex. R. App. P.
38.1(i). Accordingly the argument is waived. Appellant also
complains the trial court abused its power by imposing
co-counsel on him but fails to provide any citations to the
record. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(i). Accordingly,
the complaint is waived. Part C is overruled.
claims the trial court abused its discretion by giving his
copy of the video of his arrest to the State. Appellant's
brief contains no references to the record pertinent to his