Friday, November 15, 2013

Billingslea v. State case brief

Billingslea v. State case brief summary
780 S.W.2d 271 (1989)

CASE SYNOPSIS
The state filed a petition for discretionary review from the Fifth Court of Appeals, Dallas County (Texas). Defendant was charged with the offense of injury to an elderly individual pursuant to Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 22.04(a)(1). A jury found the defendant guilty as charged and assessed his punishment at 99 years in the Texas department of corrections, and the appellate court reversed the conviction and ordered acquittal.

CASE FACTS
Defendant was convicted of the offense of injury to an elderly individual pursuant to Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 22.04(a)(1) and sentenced to 99 years imprisonment. Defendant's conviction was reversed and his acquittal was ordered by the lower court.

DISCUSSION
  • On petition for discretionary review, the court examined whether the lower court erred in holding that the indictment was defective because it did not allege a statutory duty to act; and whether it erred in finding the evidence insufficient to support defendant's conviction because he had no statutory duty to act. 
  • The court found that the 1981 amendments to Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 22.04 reflected the legislature's intention to penalize omissions toward elderly persons, but the indictment was nevertheless fundamentally defective for failing to include a statutory duty imposing a punishable omission at the time defendant was convicted. 
  • The court found that the indictment alleged sufficient facts to imply both a duty to act and an omission under the common law, but affirmed the lower court because the indictment was fundamentally defective in the absence of an allegation reciting a concomitant statutory duty to care for an elderly person.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the lower court's judgment of reversal of defendant's conviction and an order for his acquittal because the indictment charging defendant was fundamentally defective for failing to include a statutory duty imposing a punishable omission at the time defendant was convicted.

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