Law School Case Brief
Marles v. State - 919 S.W.2d 669 (Tex. App. 1996)
Improper admission of evidence is harmless and not reversible error when the same facts are proven by the defendant or other unobjected-to testimony.
Defendant James Michael Marles was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. During the trial in Texas state court, the arresting officer testified that when she informed Marles of the charge, he defecated in his pants. Marles objected that the comment was extremely prejudicial, and the trial court sustained the objection on grounds of relevancy. The trial court instructed the jury to disregard the comment, but refused to grant Marles' motion for a mistrial. Marles was subsequently convicted of the charge. Marles appealed contending that the trial court erred in refusing to grant a mistrial after it sustained his objection to the arresting officer's testimony, and in failing to submit his requested charge on the lesser-included offense of indecency with a child.
Was Marles entitled to a mistrial?
The court affirmed Marles' conviction for aggravated sexual assault of a child and found that the trial court did not err in refusing to grant a mistrial after it sustained his objections to admission of certain testimony. The court held that the trial court's instruction to the jury to disregard the comment by the arresting officer was cured of any possible error. The court found that the comment was not calculated to inflame the minds of the jury. The court also found that an instruction to the jury to disregard statements of the arresting officer concerning the truthfulness of statements made by complainants cured any reversible error. The court rejected Marles' argument that the trial court erred in failing to charge the jury on a lesser-included offense because there was no evidence that Marles was only guilty of the lesser offense.
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