Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 422nd Judicial District Court Kaufman County,
Texas, Trial Court Cause Nos. 31608-422, 31609-422
Justices Pedersen, III, Reichek, and Carlyle.
L. CARLYLE JUSTICE
Holland appeals from the trial court's denial of his
motions for DNA testing. In a single issue, he contends the
trial court erred by determining he did not satisfy the
requirements of article 64.03 of the Texas Code of Criminal
Procedure. We affirm.
2013, Holland was indicted and charged with aggravated sexual
assault in three separate cases, based on offenses committed
against separate victims. Faced with the possibility of
multiple convictions that could lead to consecutive
sentences, Holland agreed to a plea deal in which he would
plead guilty to one of the offenses while admitting his guilt
as to the other two, with the understanding that-although
those unadjudicated offenses would be considered in
determining his sentence for the offense to which he pleaded
guilty-he would not be prosecuted for the other two offenses.
See Tex. Penal Code § 12.45(a). The trial court
accepted Holland's guilty plea and, after considering the
two unadjudicated offenses, sentenced him to 40 years in
prison. The charges in the unadjudicated cases were then
dismissed. See id. § 12.45(c).
alleges that, years later, he discovered there was physical
evidence collected during the investigations into the
unadjudicated offenses. He thus filed motions under Chapter
64 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure in both of the
unadjudicated cases, asserting there was a substantial
likelihood DNA testing would show he did not commit the
offenses charged in those cases. He did not,
however, file a motion in the case in which he was convicted.
Nor did he seek to test the evidence gathered in connection
with the offense of his conviction. The trial court denied
Holland's motions, concluding both that it was not a
"convicting court" and that Holland was not a
"convicted person" for purposes of the
unadjudicated cases in which the motions were filed.
See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 64.03(a).
review the question of law here de novo. Dunning v.
State, 572 S.W.3d 685, 692 (Tex. Crim. App. 2019).
"A convicting court may order forensic DNA testing . . .
only if," among other things, "identity was or is
an issue in the case; and the convicted person establishes by
a preponderance of the evidence that . . . the person would
not have been convicted if exculpatory results had been
obtained through DNA testing." Crim. Proc. art.
64.03(a). The statute thus requires a connection between
"the case," the "convicted person," and
the evidence supporting the conviction. In other words, it
allows for forensic testing only if the evidence at issue
would likely prove the "convicted person" was not
the perpetrator in "the case" in which that person
contends the trial court erred because the two unadjudicated
offenses became part of the judgment of his conviction in the
case in which he pleaded guilty. See Woodard v.
State, 931 S.W.2d 747, 750 (Tex. App.-Waco 1996, no
pet.); Murray v. State, 840 S.W.2d 675, 679 (Tex.
App.-Tyler 1992, no pet.). He reasons that, because the
unadjudicated offenses are now part of the judgment of his
conviction, he is a "convicted person" with respect
to those offenses. He adds that the unadjudicated offenses
affected both his decision to plead guilty and the sentence
he received from the trial court.
bound by the language of the statute. See Ex Parte
Evans, 964 S.W.2d 643, 646 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998).
Chapter 64 does not provide for DNA testing merely because
the evidence at issue might have affected an applicant's
decision to plead guilty, the length of his sentence, or the
items included in the judgment of his conviction. Rather, the
statute unambiguously requires that, before testing can be
ordered, the applicant must prove by a preponderance of the
evidence that he "would not have been convicted
if exculpatory results had been obtained through DNA
testing." Crim. Proc. art. 64.03(a) (emphasis added).
Holland did not make that showing. Indeed, nothing in the
record suggests the evidence gathered in connection with the
unadjudicated cases, even if exculpatory as to those
offenses, would have prevented Holland's conviction in
the case in which he entered the guilty plea.
the legislature should consider specifically providing that
those who have had their sentences enhanced by unadjudicated
offenses can test the evidence tying them to those offenses.
Or perhaps the legislature considered and rejected including
12.45'd offenses within Chapter 64's purview. But
Chapter 64, as it currently stands, does not accommodate the
situation we face here.
affirm the trial court's orders denying Holland's
motions for DNA testing.
on the Court's opinion of this date, the judgment of the