The Campaign For DA


The No Body Murder Case: An Update That Makes Me Crazy

I subscribe to The Texas Prosecutor which is published "through legislative appropriation." The new issue hit my desk this morning and look what is on the cover: A self promoting article about The Denton No Body case written by the prosecutors. Did they start writing the article the second the trial was over?

From a quick glance at the article (and after getting past a subheading of "Dismantling The Defense" -- sheesh), I did learn the jury quickly sent out a note to the judge right after deliberations began asking for the definition of "reasonable doubt."  Well, there's at least some proof they had no idea what that meant.

At least the appeal has now been filed.

Edit: Someone asked how often a case gets reversed for insufficient evidence. The answer is "very, very rarely." Of all appealed cases, I bet there are no more than one or two a year reversed on that ground-- and that may be a high estimate.  The standard is a tough one: Even with the appellate court assuming that every piece of evidence the State wanted the jury to believe to be true was in fact true,  no rational jury could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.   It takes a mind-boggling weak case to meet that criteria.

I once knew a prosecutor in the early 1990s who was ecstatic when his case was reversed for insufficient evidence because he believed it to be the ultimate compliment: "I was able to convince a jury to convict with legally insufficient evidence!" (Paraphrased: "I was able to do the impossible!")   I, on the other hand, considered it to be the ultimate slap in the face: If the case was so weak that  no rational jury could convict, then every prosecutor should have recognized that to begin with.