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Ramirez v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

January 15, 2020

Humberto RAMIREZ, Appellant
v.
The STATE of Texas, Appellee

         DO NOT PUBISH

          From the 379th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial Court Nos. 2017CR11793 & 2017CR11790 Honorable Ron Rangel, Judge Presiding

          Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice, Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice, Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          REBECA C. MARTINEZ, JUSTICE.

         AFFIRMED.

         A jury convicted Humberto Ramirez of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. On appeal, Ramirez contends the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm.

         Background

         On May 27, 2017, Ramirez attended a family party at which a fight broke out. In connection with the fight, Ramirez was charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly stabbing with a knife: Gabriela Ramirez ("Gabriela"), his wife; Eleazar Rios, Ramirez's father-in-law; David Bonds, Ramirez's son-in-law; and Raymond Deleon, Ramirez's brother-in-law. A jury found Ramirez guilty on two counts for the aggravated assaults of Rios and Bonds and acquitted Ramirez on two counts for the alleged assaults of Gabriela and Deleon. Ramirez was sentenced to a term of two years' confinement and now appeals.

         Ramirez contends in a single issue that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support his convictions.[1] He argues that the "inconsistent verdicts" "shed light" on the insufficiency of the evidence. According to Ramirez, the jury, in finding Ramirez guilty on two counts and acquitting him on two other counts, must have believed either: (1) Ramirez did not use a deadly weapon, or (2) he acted in self-defense.

         Standard of Review and Applicable Law

         Legal Sufficiency

         The standard for reviewing sufficiency of the evidence in a criminal appeal is the Jackson v. Virginia legal sufficiency standard. See Braughton v. State, 569 S.W.3d 592, 607-08 (Tex. Crim. App. 2018); see also Brooks, 323 S.W.3d at 895 (citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979)). Under this standard, we examine the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict to determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319; Brooks, 323 S.W.3d at 899. We consider only whether or not the fact finder reached a rational conclusion. See Morgan v. State, 501 S.W.3d 84, 89 (Tex. Crim. App. 2016) (noting that the appellate court's role "is restricted to guarding against the rare occurrence when a fact finder does not act rationally") (quoting Isassi v. State, 330 S.W.3d 633, 638 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010)).

         The legal sufficiency standard "recognizes the trier of fact's role as the sole judge of the weight and credibility of the evidence." Adames v. State, 353 S.W.3d 854, 861 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011). We may not reweigh the evidence or substitute our judgment for that of the jury. Orellana v. State, 381 S.W.3d 645, 653 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2012, pet. ref'd) (citing King v. State, 29 S.W.3d 556, 562 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000)). We also must give deference to the jury's ability "to draw reasonable inferences from basic facts to ultimate facts." Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319. "Each fact need not point directly and independently to the guilt of the appellant, as long as the cumulative force of all the incriminating circumstances is sufficient to support the conviction." Hooper v. State, 214 S.W.3d 9, 13 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007) (citing Johnson v. State, 871 S.W.2d 183, 186 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993)). "Circumstantial evidence is as probative as direct evidence in establishing the guilt of an actor, and circumstantial evidence alone can be sufficient to establish guilt." Id. (citing Guevara v. State, 152 S.W.3d 45, 49 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004)). Any inconsistencies in the evidence must be resolved in favor of the jury's verdict. Gonzales v. State, 330 S.W.3d 691, 694 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2010, no pet.) (citing Curry v. State, 30 S.W.3d 394, 406 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000)).

         Aggravated Assault ...


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