Ramjattansingh v. Texas

The State alleged appellant Jason Ramjattansingh had committed the offense of driving while intoxicated. It also alleged that he had an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more “at the time the analysis was performed,” a Class A DWI. But the information went further, alleging that Ramjattansingh also had this alcohol concentration level “at or near the time of the commission of the offense,” which the statute did not require. The jury charge tracked the information, requiring the jury to find this extra element. The jury convicted Appellant, but the court of appeals reversed. The court, measuring the sufficiency of the evidence under the charge given, found the evidence insufficient to prove the extra element. Under Texas case law, when a jury instruction sets forth all the elements of the charged crime but incorrectly adds an extra element, a sufficiency challenge is assessed against the elements of the charged crime, not against “the erroneously heightened command in the jury instruction.” The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals not only found the jury charge in this case added the extra element, the State failed to object to the erroneously heightened jury instruction. The Court reversed the court of appeals' judgment and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Ramjattansingh v. Texas" on Justia Law