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Perez-Mancha v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

November 21, 2019

RAFAEL PEREZ-MANCHA, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 177th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 1496862

          Panel consists of Justices Christopher, Spain, and Poissant.

          OPINION

          Margaret "Meg" Poissant Justice

         A jury found appellant Rafael Perez-Mancha guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a child. The jury assessed his punishment at confinement for twenty-five years. From that conviction, appellant brings this appeal claiming the jury charge was erroneous. Because we agree there is error in the charge that created such harm that appellant was deprived of a fair and impartial trial, we reverse and remand.

         I. Was there error in the charge?

         Appellant's only issue contends the jury charge was erroneous. Specifically, appellant asserts the charge authorized the jury to convict him of the offense based on acts of sexual abuse committed before September 1, 2007, the effective date of the statute. The State concedes, and we agree, the charge was erroneous.

         The opening paragraph of the charge stated:

The defendant, Rafael Perez-Mancha, stands charged by indictment with the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child alleged to have been committed on or about the 19th day of October 2006 continuing through the 19th day of October, 2012, in Harris County, Texas….
In order to find the defendant guilty of the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child, you are not required to agree unanimously on which specific acts of sexual abuse were committed by the defendant or the exact date when those acts were committed….

         Moreover, the application portion of the charge provided:

Now, if you find from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that in Harris County, Texas, the defendant, Rafael Perez-Mancha, heretofore on or about the 19th day of October, 2006 continuing through the 19th day of October, 2012, did then and there unlawfully, during a period of time of thirty or more days in duration, commit at least two acts of sexual abuse against a child younger than fourteen years of age including an act constituting the offense of aggravated sexual assault of a child, committed against [the Complainant] on or about October 19, 2006, and an act constituting the offense of aggravated sexual assault of a child, committed against [the Complainant] on or about October 19, 2012….

         The jury was instructed as follows in the abstract portion of the charge:

You are further instructed that the State is not bound by the specific date which the offense, if any, is alleged in the indictment to have been committed, but that a conviction may be had upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense, if any, was committed at any time within the period of limitations. There is no limitation period applicable to the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child.
You are further instructed that in deciding whether the defendant is guilty of the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child, you are not to consider any conduct ...

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