Appeal from the County Court at Law No 2 Bell County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 2C16-05680
consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Zimmerer and
Dale Anthony Tatro, Jr. appeals his conviction for criminal
trespass. See Tex. Penal Code § 30.05. After a
bench trial, the trial court found appellant guilty as
charged in the information and assessed punishment at
confinement in the Belton County jail for thirty days and a
fine of $100. In one issue, appellant contends the evidence
is legally insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm.
evidence shows that police were called to a home in Harker
Heights to investigate a disturbance involving
criminal trespass. When responding officer Bruce Smith, Jr.
arrived, he spoke with the complainant, Leanne Phillips.
Phillips, the owner of the home, told Smith that an
individual was in the backyard who had been asked to leave
but refused to do so. Officer Smith found appellant in the
backyard of the home and appellant appeared intoxicated.
After some resistance, Smith placed appellant in handcuffs
and took him into custody for criminal trespass. During the
booking process, appellant described his address as a
location in Kempner, Texas.
who was the boyfriend of Phillips's daughter and the
father of the daughter's three children, frequently
stayed at the Phillips residence with Phillips, her daughter,
and the three children. Phillips stated that she did not mind
appellant staying at the home as long as he was not
intoxicated. Phillips denied any oral or written
landlord-tenant agreement with appellant, but she allowed him
to stay the night "all the time," keep clothes and
toiletries at the house, and cook at the house.
Phillips's daughter testified that she and appellant
moved into the home with their three children and that she
and appellant gave Phillips money to help with the utilities,
though Phillips denied that appellant ever gave her any
money. Phillips gave her daughter a key to the home but
denied giving appellant a key. Phillips told appellant that
he was not to come to the house if he was intoxicated and
"he knew that." Phillips's daughter testified
that Phillips and appellant had a good relationship "off
and on," and that Phillips and appellant fight when
appellant is drinking.
night in question, Phillips arrived home from work to find
appellant, in an intoxicated state, being dropped off at the
house. Phillips went inside and locked the door, telling her
daughter that appellant was outside and intoxicated.
Phillips's daughter testified that she had taken
appellant to a friend's house earlier in the evening
because he was drinking and getting on her nerves. She did
not expect appellant to come back to the house that evening.
Phillips told appellant to leave; in response, appellant told
Phillips to "shut up." A few minutes later
appellant went in the backyard but did not leave the
property. Phillips again asked appellant to leave her
property, but he responded with racial slurs and would not
leave. Phillips then called police, who took appellant into
State charged appellant by information with criminal
trespass. Appellant waived a jury trial and entered a
"not guilty" plea before the trial court. The trial
court found appellant guilty as charged and assessed
punishment at thirty days' confinement in the county jail
and a $100 fine. This appeal followed.
challenges his conviction in one issue. Appellant argues the
evidence is legally insufficient to support the trial
court's judgment because appellant was a tenant, not a
guest, in the home and thus Phillips had no right to ask him
to leave. We conclude the evidence is legally sufficient.
Standard of review and elements of criminal trespass
reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a
conviction, we consider all the evidence in the light most
favorable to the verdict to determine whether, based on that
evidence and the reasonable inferences therefrom, any
rational trier of fact could have found the essential
elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318-19 (1979);
Temple v. State, 390 S.W.3d 341, 360 (Tex. Crim.
App. 2013); see Thompson v. State, 408 S.W.3d 614,
627 (Tex. App.-Austin 2013, no pet.). During a bench trial,
the trial court is the exclusive judge of the credibility of
the witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony.
Adelman v. State, 828 S.W.2d 418, 421 (Tex. Crim.
App. 1992). When conducting a legal-sufficiency review, we
may not reevaluate the weight and credibility of the evidence
or substitute our judgment for that of the factfinder.
Arroyo v. State, 559 S.W.3d 484, 487 (Tex. Crim.
App. 2018); see Montgomery v. State, 369 S.W.3d 188,
192 (Tex. Crim. App. 2012). "A court's role on
appeal is restricted to guarding against the rare occurrence
when the factfinder does not act rationally."
Arroyo, 559 S.W.3d at 487.
person commits the offense of criminal trespass if the person
enters or remains on property of another, without effective
consent, and the person had notice that the entry was
forbidden or received notice to depart but failed to do so.
Tex. Penal Code § 30.05(a)(1), (2). The State alleged
that appellant intentionally and knowingly entered and
remained on and in the property of Phillips, the owner,
without the owner's effective consent, ...