Ash v. Texas

The issue presented for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in this case was whether the court of appeals erred when it held that a witness could not be an accomplice as a matter of law unless the witness was charged with the same offense as the defendant or a lesser-included offense. Police pulled a Suburban over driving with its high beams on. Five people were in the car; the smell of marijuana emanated from an open window. Everyone was removed from the car. Seeing one occupant wipe a green substance off her clothing, everyone was detained and police conducted a search of the vehicle. Cocaine was found in a door panel. Though everyone was arrested, only Appellant Andre Ash was convicted of possession of cocaine, for which he received a 30-year sentence and a $5,000 fine. Ash appealed, arguing he was entitled to accomplice-as-a-matter-of-law jury instructions as to each passenger at trial, or at least accomplice-as-a-matter-of-fact instructions. The court of appeals affirmed. The Court of Criminal Appeals found that because the witnesses in this case were not charged with the same offense as Ash or a lesser-included offense, and the evidence was not uncontradicted or so one-sided that a rational jury would have had to believe that the witnesses were accomplices, it agreed with the court of appeals that Ash was not entitled to accomplice-as-a-matter-of-law instructions. View "Ash v. Texas" on Justia Law