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Hyland v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

November 21, 2019

RICHARD HYLAND, Appellant,
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee.

          On appeal from the 319th District Court of Nueces County, Texas.

          Before Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Longoria and Hinojosa

          OPINION ON REMAND

          NORA L. LONGORIA JUSTICE

         Subsequent to publishing our memorandum opinion, the State filed a motion requesting that we publish the opinion. We grant the State's motion. Accordingly, this Court's memorandum opinion issued on October 31, 2019, is hereby withdrawn and the following is substituted therefor.

         This case was remanded to us by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Hyland v. State, 574 S.W.3d 904, 916 (Tex. Crim. App. 2019). The Court concluded that the police officer's affidavit as excised by the trial court established probable cause, reversed our previous judgment, and remanded the cause to us to address appellant Richard Hyland's remaining points of error. Id. at 916. The Court did not disturb our conclusion that the evidence was sufficient to support the operation and causation elements of an intoxication manslaughter offense. See Hyland v. State, No. 13-16-00596-CR, 2018 WL 1633487, at *12-13 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi-Edinburg Apr. 5, 2018) (mem. op., not designated for publication). Accordingly, on remand, we now must determine (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support a deadly weapon finding and (2) whether "the trial court should have suppressed the results of the third, warrantless search" of Hyland's blood. We affirm.

         I. Deadly Weapon Finding

         By his first issue, Hyland contends that the evidence was insufficient to support the finding that he used or exhibited a deadly weapon-namely, a motorcycle-during the commission of the offense of intoxication manslaughter.

         A. Standard of Review and Applicable Law

         The test for determining whether the evidence is sufficient to support a criminal conviction is whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution. Drichas v. State, 175 S.W.3d 795, 798 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005).

         "Deadly weapon" is defined as: (A) a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or (B) anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 1.07(a)(17). A motorcycle is not "manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury[.]" Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 1.07(a)(17)(A). But it may, "in the manner of its use or intended use [be] capable of causing death or serious bodily injury." Id. § 1.07(a)(17)(B); Nguyen v. State, 506 S.W.3d 69, 76 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2016, pet. ref'd) (a motor vehicle may be a deadly weapon where "the vehicle was intentionally, recklessly or negligently used as a weapon by the accused"). In any felony offense in which it is "shown" that the defendant "used or exhibited [a] deadly weapon" during the commission of the offense or in immediate flight therefrom, the trial court "shall" enter a deadly weapon finding in the judgment. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 42A, 054(c). Such a deadly weapon finding impacts a convicted felon's eligibility for community supervision, parole, and mandatory supervision. See id.; Tex. Gov't Code Ann. §§ 508.145(d)(1), 508.149(a)(1), 508.151(a)(2); Moore v. State, 520 S.W.3d 906, 908 (Tex. Crim. App. 2017).

         To justify a deadly weapon finding under § 1.07(a)(17)(B), the State needs to establish only that "the manner" in which the motorcycle was either used or intended to be used was "capable" of causing death or serious bodily injury. See Tucker v. State, 274 S.W.3d 688, 691 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008). When assessing a defendant's manner of driving, we examine whether a defendant's driving was reckless or dangerous. Couthren v. State, 571 S.W.3d 786, 790 (Tex. Crim. App. 2019). To support a deadly weapon finding, there must be evidence that the manner of driving was capable of causing death or serious bodily injury apart from the fact of a collision and the defendant's intoxication. Id.

         B. Witness Testimony

         On the evening of May 30, 2014, Jaime Doherty[1] was killed in a motorcycle accident in Corpus Christi, Texas. Three witnesses testified that they observed different portions of the events leading to the accident: Juan Ledesma, Phyllis Ledesma, and Roger Villarreal.

         Juan Ledesma testified that around 10:50 p.m., he was driving eastbound with his wife Phyllis when a motorcyclist emerged from the parking lot of the Frontier Saloon. According to Juan, the motorcyclist went "shooting across the road" and cut him off. Juan jammed his brakes to avoid hitting the motorcycle, and the driver of the motorcycle swerved into the westbound lane to avoid the Ledesmas' vehicle. The motorcyclist then veered back into the eastbound lane. Juan saw that the driver of the motorcycle was male, and his passenger was a woman with long blonde hair flowing from under her helmet. Ahead was an intersection where cars were stopped at a red light, and the motorcyclist was forced to hit the brakes and swerve to one side of a vehicle to avoid a collision. Juan testified that the motorcyclist then "popped the clutch on the motorcycle," jolting the bike forward, and his female passenger nearly fell off the back. Both Juan and ...


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