Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont
Submitted on November 12, 2019
Appeal from the 221st District Court Montgomery County, Texas
Trial Cause No. 18-09-12373-CR
Kreger, Horton and Johnson, JJ.
Appellant Ethan Watson Borne appeals his conviction for the
manufacture or possession of a controlled substance-lysergic
acid diethylamide (LSD)-with the intent to deliver, in an
amount of eighty abuse units or more but less than 4, 000
abuse units, a first-degree felony. See Tex. Health
& Safety Code Ann. § 481.1121. The court assessed
punishment at ten years' imprisonment, probated for a
period of ten years. Borne raises three issues on appeal
related to jurisdiction, due process, and alleged violations
of certain constitutional rights. We affirm.
jury indicted Borne for possession of LSD, a controlled
substance, with intent to deliver. See id. At trial,
Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Christopher Olvera
testified that he stopped Borne's vehicle in The
Woodlands after the trooper's radar unit showed that
Borne was traveling fifty-four miles per hour (mph) in a
forty-five mph zone. Olvera asked Borne for his driver's
license and noticed that Borne's hands were "shaking
uncontrollably" and Borne tried to hand the trooper a
credit card instead of his driver's license. Olvera
observed a "wad of money" and a "vape
pen" inside the vehicle, and after he asked
Borne to get out of his car, Olvera also saw a white powdery
substance on the driver's seat.
to Trooper Olvera, after Borne refused consent to search his
vehicle, Olvera called for a canine unit. Montgomery County
Sheriff's Deputy David Everton responded with his canine
partner, and the canine alerted to an odor of a controlled
substance. Olvera searched Borne's car and found LSD in
the center console, the glove compartment, and Borne's
wallet. Olvera found a total of 277 LSD abuse units, along
with $238 in cash on the floorboard and $361 in cash in
Borne's wallet. Olvera testified that he also saw a text
message appear on Borne's cell phone, asking about the
availability of "fungus and/or acid," and Olvera
explained that "fungus" is a street name for
psilocybin mushrooms and acid is a street name for LSD. The
State offered into evidence a Controlled Substance Analysis
Laboratory Report of a substance found with Borne, and the
report described the substance as 277 squares of paper
containing LSD. Trooper Olvera testified that the amount of
LSD found was "a very large amount[, ] . . . way more
than a personal use amount" and the Trooper believed
that Borne possessed the drugs with the intent to deliver.
did not dispute the facts at trial. The jury found Borne
guilty, and after a hearing on punishment, the trial court
sentenced Borne to ten years' imprisonment probated for
summarizes his issues on appeal as follows:
I submit this appeal to this Honorable Court as the law in
which the trial court has jurisdiction over me, a man, was
not proven on the record, I was denied due process of law, a
right protected by the Texas and United States Constitutions,
and other constitutionally protected rights that were
appeared pro se at trial and on appeal. A pro se litigant
must comply with the rules of evidence and procedure and is
not to be granted any special treatment because he has
asserted his pro se rights. Johnson v. State, 760
S.W.2d 277, 279 (Tex. Crim. App. 1988); Griffis v.
State, 441 S.W.3d 599, 612 (Tex. App.- San Antonio 2014,
pet. ref'd). Although we construe pro se arguments
"with patience and liberality[, ]" Borne, as a pro
se appellant, is not entitled to any special treatment and is
held to the same standards as licensed attorneys. See
Grubbs v. State, 440 S.W.3d 130, 133 n.1 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, pet. ref'd); Barnes
v. State, 832 S.W.2d 424, 426 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st
Dist.] 1992, orig. proceeding).
preserve error for review, a litigant must timely object to
the alleged error and state the grounds for the ruling sought
from the trial court with sufficient specificity to make the
trial court aware of the complaint, unless the specific
grounds were apparent from the context of the objection.
See Tex. R. App. P. 33.1(a)(1)(A); Dixon v.
State, 2 S.W.3d 263, 265 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998). The
purposes of requiring a timely, specific objection are (1) to
inform the judge of the basis of the objection and give him
the chance to make a ruling on it, and (2) to give opposing
counsel the chance to remove the objection or provide other
testimony. Garza v. State, 126 S.W.3d 79, 82 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2004) (citing Zillender v. State, 557
S.W.2d 515, 517 (Tex. Crim. App. 1977)).
appellate brief must state all issues presented for review
clearly and concisely and include appropriate citations to
authorities and to the record. See Tex. R. App. P.
38.1(f), (i). Borne's brief raises sub-issues within each
main issue. When an appellant raises multiple issues in a
single point of error, the point of error is multifarious,
and an appellate court may decline to address those matters.
See Mays v. State, 318 S.W.3d 368, 390 n.82 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2010) (citing Wood v. State, 18 S.W.3d
642, 649 n.6 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000). However, we may address
the issue in the interest of justice if we can determine,
with reasonable certainty, the alleged error about which a
complaint is made. See Davidson v. State, 249 S.W.3d
709, 717 n.2 (Tex. App.-Austin 2008, pet. ref'd);
Marcum v. State, 983 S.W.2d 762, 767 n.1 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1998, pet. ref'd); Barnes
v. State, 634 S.W.2d 25, 26 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 1982, no
argues that the State did not prove that the trial court had
"subject matter jurisdiction" over him for numerous
reasons. Although Borne presents a multifarious issue, in the
interest of justice we address arguments that can be
sufficiently identified. See Barnes, 634 S.W.2d at
and "Proven on the Record"
argues that he did not consent to the trial court's
jurisdiction over him and jurisdiction was not proven on the
record. Borne presents no legal authority that his consent
was required for the district court to have jurisdiction over
him in a criminal proceeding, nor does he explain his
"proven on the record" complaint. See Tex.
R. App. P. 38.1(i).
Texas Constitution invests state district courts with
"exclusive, appellate, and original jurisdiction of all
actions, proceedings, and remedies[.]" See Tex.
Const. art. V, § 8. "The presentment of an
indictment or information to a court invests the court with
jurisdiction of the cause." Id. § 12. A
grand jury indicted Borne for an offense under section
481.1121 of the Health and Safety Code. See Tex.
Health & Safety Code Ann. § 481.1121. The
presentment of the grand jury's indictment invested the
district court with subject matter jurisdiction over the
case. See Tex. Const. art. V, § 12; see
also Thoman v. State, No. 07-11-0278-CR, 2013 Tex.App.
LEXIS 4413, at **8-9 (Tex. App.-Amarillo Apr. 4, 2013, pet.
ref'd) (mem. op., not designated for publication)
(rejecting a similar challenge to the district court's
jurisdiction where "the clerk's record contains an
information regular on its face . . . [and] [n]othing in the
clerk's record suggests the trial court lacked personal
or subject matter jurisdiction[.]").We find Borne's
argued that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over him
because he was a "living breathing, sovereign, flesh and
blood man" and not a "Legal Fiction Person[.]"
Borne also raises this argument on appeal. Borne filed a
"Non-Negotiable Notice of Acceptance" and a
"Notice of Dishonor" with the trial court that
I, a man called Ethan Watson Borne, reserve all my rights
without prejudice UCC 1-103 & 1-308. I am a moral man and
a Texas Citizen/National and not a citizen, resident, person,
individual or inhabitant of the corporate United States. I am
not a creature of THE STATE OF TEXAS, THE UNITED STATES, or
any other government.
also asserted that "The State of Texas is a
Fiction" unless the trial court and district attorney
could prove otherwise and that he is "a Texas
National[.]" In a "Judicial Notice" filed with
the trial court, Borne argued that
The "Texas Control Substances Act," which is
located in the Texas Health and Safety Code states that
statute 481.1121 only applies to a person which is defined as
"legal entities" and, as I have stated many times,
I am in fact a living man and NOT a legal entity[.]
the charge conference at trial, Borne requested that a
definition of "person" be added to the jury charge.
The court added the definition of "person" that is
contained in section 481.002 of the Controlled Substances Act
to the charge. Borne agreed on the record to the
definition of "person" under the Health and Safety
Code includes individuals. Id.; State v.
Morello, 547 S.W.3d 881, 886 (Tex. 2018). Because there
is no statutory definition excluding individuals from the
definition of person, we interpret the term as it applies in
common usage-to include individuals. See Morello,
547 S.W.3d at 886. Under the plain language of the Controlled
Substances Act, an individual may be charged with a felony
for manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance.
See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §
481.1121; cf. Morello, 547 S.W.3d at 886. Therefore,
Borne's argument lacks merit. UCC
understand Borne to argue that, because he signed documents
by writing "w/o prej. UCC 1-308[, ]" the trial
court lacked jurisdiction over him and the lack of
jurisdiction deprived him of due process. Borne filed a
document with the trial court styled "Response to and
Affidavit of Complaint[, ]" which stated, in relevant
The signature on the driver's license is below the words
that I wrote in: "Without Prejudice, U.C.C. 1-308."
(See Exhibit 1) I signed it this way because I was compelled
to get the driver's license by The State of Texas against
my will and I wanted to give notice and reserve my right to
travel freely and contract with who or ...