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Ex parte Leachman

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

May 10, 2018

EX PARTE MATTHEW LEACHMAN

          On Appeal from the 248th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 1522187

          Panel consists of Justices Higley, Brown, and Caughey.

          OPINION

          Laura Carter Higley Justice

         Appellant, Matthew Leachman, appeals from the trial court's denial of his pro se application for a pretrial writ of habeas corpus, filed under article 11.08 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.[1] Leachman contends that double jeopardy bars his retrial. We hold that the trial court acted within its discretion in denying the application and we affirm.

         Background

         A. Procedural History in State Court

         In the conviction at issue under trial court cause number 786224, Leachman was charged in 1998 by indictment of aggravated sexual assault of a child.[2]Following a jury trial, in which the trial court had denied Leachman's motion to represent himself and he was represented by counsel, he was convicted and sentenced to forty years' confinement in 1998. See Leachman v. Stephens, No. 4:11-CV-212, 2015 WL 5730378, at *1 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 30, 2015) (mem. and order, not designated for publication) (federal habeas proceeding summarizing procedural history). After this Court affirmed the conviction, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ("CCA") granted Leachman's petition for discretionary review, vacated our decision, and remanded for consideration of claims not at issue here. See Stephens, 2015 WL 5730378, at *1; see Leachman v. State, No. 01-98-01255-CR, 2004 WL 744820 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Apr. 8, 2004) (mem. op. on reh'g, not designated for publication), vacated, No. PD-0517-05, 2005 WL 2990698 (Tex. Crim. App. Nov. 9, 2005) (not designated for publication). On remand, this Court again affirmed Leachman's conviction, the CCA refused his petition for discretionary review, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for certiorari. See Stephens, 2015 WL 5730378, at 1; see Leachman v. State, No. 01-98-01255-CR, 2006 WL 2381441, at *1 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 17, 2006, pet. ref'd), cert. denied, 554 U.S. 932, 128 S.Ct. 2995 (2008).

         Leachman filed a state application for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the denial of his motion to represent himself. See Stephens, 2015 WL 5730378, at *1. The state habeas court recommended denial and the CCA denied Leachman's first habeas application without a written order. See Ex parte Leachman, No. WR-36-445-04 (Tex. Crim. App. Dec. 1, 2010).

         B. Procedural History in Federal Court

         Then Leachman filed a federal habeas corpus petition based on the denial of his Sixth Amendment right to represent himself which the federal court, Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt, denied as procedurally defaulted. See Stephens, 2015 WL 5730378, at *1, *4 (citing Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 835-36, 95 S.Ct. 2525 (1975)). The Fifth Circuit affirmed the federal district court's judgment on all issues, except the finding that Leachman could not demonstrate cause and prejudice to excuse the procedural default of his Faretta self-representation claim. See id.; see Leachman v. Stephens, No. 12-20187, 581 Fed.Appx. 390, 398 (5th Cir. 2014) (not designated for publication), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 2315 (2015). On remand, Judge Hoyt conditionally granted Leachman's federal habeas corpus petition on his Faretta self-representation claim on September 30, 2015, and ordered his release unless the State moved to grant him a new trial within 90 days. See Stephens, 2015 WL 5730378, at *6.

         C. The State Habeas Corpus Application and Writ Hearing

         On November 4, 2015, the State timely moved for a new trial under trial court cause number 786224, which Judge Katherine Cabaniss, the state judge for the retrial, granted on the record. On August 17, 2016, the state court granted the State's motions to transfer its prior motions to new cause numbers, noting that the original indictment under trial court cause number 786224 had been reindicted into two separate trial court cause numbers, 1520246 (anal sodomy) and 1520247 (oral sodomy), after the grand jury had indicted Leachman on two separate counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

         On August 30, 2016, Leachman filed a pro se pretrial habeas corpus application in the trial court, which was assigned to the underlying trial court cause number 1522187. Leachman asserted that, while the State may seek a new indictment on the same offense, the superseding indictment must mirror the initial charge. See Ex parte Legrand, 291 S.W.3d 31, 38-39 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2009, pet. ref'd) (citing United States v. Holland, 956 F.2d 990, 993 (10th Cir. 1992)). He claimed that the State was attempting to turn the single charge into two separate charges, two convictions, and two sentences.

         On September 28, 2016, the habeas judge, who did not preside over Leachman's original trial, held a non-evidentiary writ hearing on Leachman's pro se habeas application in which both sides presented argument, but no witnesses. Leachman repeated his argument that the State was trying to take the same offense and split it into multiple offenses, which violates the multiple punishment aspect of the double jeopardy clause. The State responded that it intended to withdraw its motion to consolidate and would proceed to trial only on the first trial court cause number. The prosecutor stated that he intended to file an amended motion to cumulate sentences, seeking only to stack any sentence on the existing twenty-year sentence Leachman was still serving.

         At the end of the writ hearing, the habeas court orally denied Leachman's writ. The habeas court noted that if the State's "intent is to proceed on one of the two new indictments, as opposed to both, " that "take[s] care[] of any potential issues, so I am going to deny your writ of habeas corpus." The habeas court later that day ...


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