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Medrano v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

May 15, 2019

Jesus MEDRANO Jr., Appellant
v.
The STATE of Texas, Appellee

          From the 25th Judicial District Court, Guadalupe County, Texas Trial Court No. 18-0848-CR-B Honorable Charles Ramsay, Judge Presiding

          Sitting: Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice, Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice, Liza A. Rodriguez, Justice

          OPINION

          Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice

         This case arises from the conviction of Appellant Jesus Medrano Jr., for continuous sexual abuse of a child, indecency with a child-sexual contact, and three counts of indecency with a child by exposure. After the trial court denied his motion to suppress, on May 17, 2018, Medrano was convicted by a jury on all five counts. The trial court assessed punishment at life without parole, twenty-years', and ten-years' confinement, respectively, in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. In his sole issue on appeal, Medrano argues the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress because his confession was involuntary. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On May 15, 2018, prior to any witnesses being called before the jury, the trial court conducted a hearing on Medrano's motion to suppress.

         Detective Franklin Thomas, an officer with the Seguin Police Department for over fourteen years, was the sole witness called to testify. The detective testified that he interviewed Medrano on January 11, 2016[1] at the Kerr County Jail. Detective Thomas testified that he was accompanied by Detective Lance Wright at the time of the interview. Medrano was in the jail following his arrest for charges that "were of a sexual nature. Indecency with a child at the time is what we believed."

         Detective Thomas testified that Medrano was read his Miranda warnings; Medrano indicated that he understood all of his rights, signed the Miranda form, and agreed to be interviewed. The entire interview was recorded and at no time during the interview did Medrano ask for an attorney or invoke his Miranda rights. Prior to interviewing Medrano, Detective Thomas testified he never met nor investigated Medrano for any crimes. He was aware, however, that Medrano had a criminal history, "I don't believe it was very much major things. I think it was some minor things."

         Although Medrano mentioned he was "dumb or stupid," Detective Thomas testified that Medrano's behavior during the two-hour and thirty-minute interview did not lead him to believe Medrano had a low I.Q. Medrano spoke about his religious nature. Detective Thomas explained,

It seemed to me that he had some religious beliefs and that he believed in a God so sometimes as a detective we use that information to extract information.

         Detective Thomas testified that he is a Christian, but that he does not have any special connections to God. He does not have any powers of salvation and he was not able to confer any type of religious benefit on Medrano. Additionally, Detective Thomas denied indicating to Medrano, at any point during the interview, that he had a special channel to God or that he could give Medrano salvation or absolution.

         During cross-examination, Detective Thomas acknowledged telling Medrano, who had been raped as a child, that "he needed to break the chain," and that "[h]e needed to kill the demon." Detective Thomas explained that he was referencing breaking the chain of sexual abuse and that "telling the truth would be beneficial to him." The detective denied that anything he said was "psychologically coercive."

         The trial court denied the motion to suppress and the trial proceeded. After several days of trial, the jury found Medrano guilty of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, one count of indecency with a child-sexual contact, and three counts of indecency with a child by exposure. The trial court assessed punishment at life without parole, twenty-years' confinement, and ten-years' confinement, respectively, in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. This appeal ensued.

         Motion ...


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