Gonzalez v. Texas

Appellant Juan Gonzalez was charged with capital murder of a police officer. The jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of murder and sentenced him to fifty years’ imprisonment. During the trial, the State introduced evidence that Appellant had taken ecstasy earlier in the day while at school and that he had additional ecstasy pills in his possession when he committed the offense. The court of appeals reversed, holding the admission of the drug evidence was erroneous and harmful. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted review to determine whether the court of appeals erred in its analysis regarding the admission of the drug evidence and its harm. While the Court agreed that the evidence was erroneously admitted, it disagreed the admission of the evidence was harmful. "The low probative value of Appellant’s Facebook messages concerning his drug use six-to-seven hours prior to the offense was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. Consequently, the trial court abused its discretion in admitting these Facebook messages. However, given the nature of the evidence of guilt and the State’s lack of emphasis on the evidence, we have fair assurance that the admission of this evidence did not affect Appellant’s substantial rights. The judgment of the court of appeals is reversed and the case is remanded for consideration of Appellant’s remaining grounds of error." View "Gonzalez v. Texas" on Justia Law