Ex parte Hector Macias

The trial court granted a motion to suppress evidence, and the State appealed. Appellant Hector Macias was charged with committing family-violence assault. The State filed a motion to stay further trial court proceedings, which the court of appeals granted. Then on October 16, 2013, the court of appeals handed down an opinion reversing the trial court. The opinion made no explicit statement about the stay that the court of appeals had earlier granted. The trial court called the case for trial on January 16, 2014. The jury was chosen and sworn, the parties presented their evidence, and the guilt-phase jury charge was read to the jury. At that point, a prosecutor in the appellate section of the district attorney’s office approached the trial court with the information that the appellate mandate had not yet issued. Concluding that trial proceedings were a nullity and that it could not even declare a mistrial, the trial court dismissed the jury. The appellate mandate issued on January 30, 2014. Appellant subsequently filed a pretrial habeas application, alleging that any future trial on the charged offense would violate double jeopardy. The trial court denied the application, and Appellant appealed. The court of appeals determined that the question before it was whether jeopardy had attached to the trial proceedings that occurred. The court concluded that, if it had, then, absent manifest necessity to terminate that trial, any future trial would violate Appellant’s constitutional right against double jeopardy. The court of appeals further decided that jeopardy had attached unless the trial court lacked jurisdiction to conduct the trial. The question before the Court of Criminal Appeals was: Did the trial court have jurisdiction to conduct the trial? The Court answered that question “no,” because the appellate mandate had not yet issued. The Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals. View "Ex parte Hector Macias" on Justia Law