Court of Appeals of Texas,
Charles Anthony ALLEN, Sr., Appellant,
The STATE of Texas, Appellee.
Nos. 05–01–00812–CR, 05–01–00813–CR.
June 12, 2002.
*1 Appellant appeals his jury conviction for robbery and a judgment adjudicating him guilty of violation of a protective order. Appellant’s first two points of error attack his conviction for robbery. Appellant asserts the trial court erred in (1) admitting his written confession, and (2) denying him the right to cross-examine a witness. Appellant’s final point of error attacks the judgment adjudicating his guilt for violation of a protective order. In this point, appellant asserts the trial court erred in adjudicating him guilty because the record does not contain a written order placing him on deferred adjudication probation. For the following reasons, we affirm appellant’s robbery conviction and dismiss appellant’s appeal from the judgment adjudicating his guilt for violation of a protective order.
The grand jury indicted appellant for robbery. The indictment alleged appellant, in the course of committing theft of Ibrahim Mansaray’s automobile, caused bodily injury to Mansaray. At trial, Mansaray testified he is a security guard at a movie theater. On the night of the offense, Mansaray left work at about one o’clock in the morning and drove to his apartment complex. When he was getting out of his car, appellant and another man approached him and tried to sell him something. Mansaray told the men he was not interested and began walking toward his apartment. The men then attacked Mansaray and stole his car. After the men left, Mansaray ran to a nearby convenience store and called police. When police arrived, Mansaray gave them a description of the two men and his car.
At about 10:00 p.m. the following day, appellant was arrested in Mansaray’s car. Appellant was questioned at the police station and gave a statement admitting he committed the offense. Specifically, appellant admitted he “tussled” with Mansaray, took his keys, and drove off in his car.
After hearing the evidence, the jury found appellant guilty of robbery. Following a punishment hearing, the jury sentenced appellant to fifteen years’ confinement. This appeal followed.
In his first point of error, appellant contends the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his confession. In his motion to suppress, appellant asserted his confession was involuntary because he was intoxicated at the time he gave the confession. At a hearing on the motion, Detective Brent D. Maudlin testified appellant gave a written statement after having been read his Miranda rights. According to Maudlin, appellant gave the statement freely and voluntarily. Maudlin did not coerce appellant or make him any promises in exchange for the statement. Moreover, Maudlin testified that appellant did not appear intoxicated or under the influence of any type of drug. Appellant was coherent, did not act unusually, and did not seem agitated or excessively groggy.
Appellant testified at the hearing. Appellant claimed that when he was arrested he had not slept in two weeks and was intoxicated on cocaine and alcohol. Appellant only vaguely remembers his arrest and has no memory of giving a statement to police. After hearing the evidence, the trial court found the confession was voluntary and denied the motion to suppress.
*2 In this point, appellant asserts the trial court erred in admitting the confession because it was involuntary due to his intoxication. In reviewing a trial court’s voluntariness determination, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the trial court ruling. State v. Hardy, 963 S.W.2d 516, 523 (Tex.Crim.App.1997).
The State has the burden of proof to show by a preponderance of the evidence that a confession was freely and voluntarily made. Jones v. State, 944 S.W.2d 642, 650 (Tex.Crim.App.1996). Instead, the issue is whether the defendant’s intoxication rendered him incapable of making an independent, informed decision to confess. Id.
Appellant asserts his intoxication rendered his confession involuntary. To show he was intoxicated, appellant relies entirely on his own self-serving testimony. However, Detective Maudlin testified appellant was coherent and did not appear intoxicated. We conclude the record supports the trial court’s finding that appellant’s confession was voluntary. We overrule appellant’s first point of error.
In his second point of error, appellant contends the trial court erred in excluding evidence showing the bias of the complaining witness. Specifically, appellant complains the trial court erred in sustaining the State’s relevancy objection when he attempted to elicit testimony that Mansaray had attempted to file a worker’s compensation claim with respect to the injuries he sustained in the robbery. At trial, Mansaray claimed he sustained a serious contusion to his elbow. Appellant then attempted to show Mansaray had a motive to exaggerate his injuries by presenting evidence Mansaray had attempted to file a worker’s compensation claim for the injuries he sustained in the robbery. Appellant asserts the trial court’s refusal to allow him to cross-examine Mansaray on this issue violated his rights under the confrontation clause of the United States Constitution.
The confrontation clause of the Unites States Constitution guarantees a defendant the right to cross-examine the witnesses against him. See Deloney v. State, 734 S.W.2d 6, 9 (Tex.App.-Dallas 1987, pet. ref’d). Therefore, we concluded the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow appellant to elicit testimony concerning the victim’s worker’s compensation claim.
*3 In this case, appellant sought to show the victim had a motive to testify falsely because he had filed a worker’s compensation claim. However, as we noted in Deloney, appellant’s guilt or innocence for the offense is not related to whether the victim would prevail in his worker’s compensation claim. Moreover, the record in this case shows that at the time of trial, the victim’s claim had already been denied and there is nothing to suggest the claim remained pending. Thus, appellant has not shown how the victim might stand to benefit from testifying falsely. We conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sustaining the State’s objection to the cross-examination. See id.
Assuming arguendo the trial court erred in sustaining the State’s objection, we conclude the error was harmless. We must reverse for violation of a defendant’s rights under the confrontation clause unless we determine the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. See Shelby, 819 S.W.2d at 547. We then review the error in light of (1) the importance of the witness’s testimony in the State’s case, (2) the cumulative nature of the testimony, (3) the presence or absence of evidence corroborating or contradicting the testimony of the witness on material points, (4) the extent of cross-examination otherwise permitted, and (5) the overall strength of the State’s case. Id.
In this case, had the cross-examination been “fully realized,” appellant, at most, would have shown the victim had a motive to exaggerate his injuries. However, appellant presented other evidence that the victim did in fact exaggerate his injuries. Specifically, the victim claimed his TEX. PEN.CODE ANN. § 1.07(8) (Vernon 1994). Thus, it was not material whether the victim suffered a fracture, a break, or only a contusion. Further, while the victim was the only eyewitness, the State presented evidence that appellant confessed to the crime and was found in the victim’s automobile less than twenty-four hours after the offense. Therefore, while the victim’s testimony was important to the State’s case, the victim’s testimony was well corroborated and the evidence against appellant was overwhelming. We conclude the alleged error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. We overrule appellant’s second point of error.
PROTECTIVE ORDER CASE
*4 In the violation of a protective order case, appellant was initially placed on deferred adjudication following a negotiated guilty plea. Appellant was subsequently indicted for the above robbery offense and the State filed a motion to adjudicate. Following appellant’s conviction for robbery, the trial court held a hearing on the State’s motion, found appellant violated the conditions of his deferred adjudication probation, and adjudicated appellant guilty. The trial court assessed punishment at ten years’ confinement.
In his third point of error, appellant contends the trial court erred in adjudicating his guilt because the appellate record does not contain a written order placing him on deferred adjudication probation. The record has since been supplemented with the order placing appellant on deferred adjudication probation. The record thus shows appellant was placed on deferred adjudication probation pursuant to a plea bargain agreement. Because appellant received deferred adjudication probation pursuant to a plea bargain agreement, appellant was required to file a special notice of appeal to attack his conviction in that case. See Woods, 68 S.W.3d at 670.
We affirm the trial court’s judgment in the robbery case. We dismiss appellant’s appeal from the judgment adjudicating his guilt in the violation of a protective order case.