Jacobs v. State

Citation594 S.W.3d 377
Decision Date12 June 2019
Docket NumberNo. 04-18-00750-CR,04-18-00750-CR
Parties Allison Michelle JACOBS, Appellant v. The STATE of Texas, Appellee
CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas

594 S.W.3d 377

Allison Michelle JACOBS, Appellant
The STATE of Texas, Appellee

No. 04-18-00750-CR

Court of Appeals of Texas, San Antonio.

Delivered and Filed: June 12, 2019

Opinion by: Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice

Allison Jacobs appeals a judgment revoking her community supervision. Jacobs argues the trial court abused its discretion when it found alleged violations of the terms of Jacobs's community supervision to be "true" because: (1) the evidence is legally insufficient to support the judgment; and (2) Jacobs was denied due process when she was not allowed to call witnesses in her defense. In a case that presents review of an unsuitable practice by a county court at law judge in Bexar County, the State concedes error.


On August 8, 2018, Jacobs pled no contest to the offense of driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to fourteen months of community supervision. On September 13, 2018, the State filed a motion to revoke Jacobs's community supervision, and later amended the motion to add a third violation of a condition of probation. A hearing was scheduled on the State's amended motion for October 1, 2018, before Judge Wayne Christian in County Court at Law No. 6. Judge Christian called Jacobs and her attorney up to the bench, along with Susan Gross, the Chief Liaison Officer ("CLO"), a representative of the probation department. The State admits, "[a]s is customary in Judge Christian's court, no representative of the State came to the bench." According to both Jacobs and the State, it is the customary practice of Judge Christian to consider and determine the merits of a motion to revoke without the presence of the State or the proper admission of evidence. Here, the State was not present at the "hearing" and was offered no opportunity to present evidence supporting its motion to revoke. From the bench, the judge asked how Jacobs pled to the allegations in the motion to revoke, to which Jacobs's attorney responded, "not true." The judge then asked the CLO for an update on Jacobs. The CLO told the court Jacobs was nearing the end of her probation period and had substantially complied with the terms of her community supervision but failed three drug tests. The CLO was not a sworn witness and offered nothing into evidence. Jacobs's counsel was not permitted to cross examine the CLO and was denied a request to present evidence contesting the alleged drug test results. Jacobs's attorney advised the trial court she wanted to present evidence that Jacobs was taking a diet pill that had been shown to cause false positives. The CLO then stated one of the tests was confirmed as being positive for methamphetamines, and the trial court immediately granted the

594 S.W.3d 380

State's motion to revoke. Jacobs's counsel asked the trial court for a contested hearing, and the trial court responded: "It's a little late for the contested hearing." Over repeated objections from defense counsel, the trial judge found all allegations "true," revoked Jacobs's probation, and sentenced her to one year in jail. Jacob's motion for new trial1 was summarily denied without a hearing.


Standards of Review

We review the trial court's order revoking community supervision for an abuse of discretion. Hacker v. State , 389 S.W.3d 860, 865 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013). A trial court abuses its discretion when it acts without reference to any guiding rules or principles. State v. Thomas , 428 S.W.3d 99, 103 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014). The trial court is vested with discretion to decide whether a defendant will continue community supervision, or have it revoked. DeGay v. State , 741 S.W.2d 445, 449 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987). However, the trial court does not have absolute discretion in the decision to revoke community supervision. Id. Once a defendant is on community supervision, it should not be arbitrarily withdrawn by the court, and the court is not authorized to revoke without a showing that the defendant violated a condition of the community supervision imposed by the court. Leonard v. State , 385 S.W.3d 570, 576 (Tex. Crim. App. 2012).

When evaluating a legal sufficiency challenge, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the factfinder to determine whether it could make the findings that were returned. Brooks v. State , 323 S.W.3d 893, 899 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010) (plurality op.). A preponderance of the evidence is the evidentiary standard in a motion to revoke hearing. Rickels v. State , 202 S.W.3d 759, 763 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006). "Preponderance of the evidence means ‘that greater weight of the credible evidence which would create a reasonable belief that the defendant has violated a condition’ of his [or her] community supervision." Carreon v. State , 548 S.W.3d 71, 77 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2018, no pet.) (citing Rickels , 202 S.W.3d at 763–64 ). "When the State has failed to meet its burden of proof, the trial [court] abuses [its] discretion in issuing an order to revoke [community supervision]." Cardona v. State , 665 S.W.2d 492, 493–94 (Tex. Crim. App. 1984).

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4 cases
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    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 22 Mayo 2020
    ...in how they conduct business in their courtroom and control their docket. Clanton v. Clark, 639 S.W.2d 929, 931 (Tex. 1982); Jacobs v. State, 594 S.W.3d 377, 382 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2019, no pet.). Nevertheless, this discretion is not unlimited, and the trial court has a duty to schedule......
  • Garcia-Avila v. Garland
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • 16 Mayo 2022
    ... ... probation revocation. Specifically, Garcia-Avila pointed to a ... decision from the Texas Court of Appeals, Jacobs v ... Texas , 594 S.W.3d 377, 382 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2019, ... no pet.), which overturned the probation revocation of a ... case. The landscape surrounding our jurisdiction over certain ... BIA decisions has recently been thrown into a state of flux ... by the Supreme Court's holding in Guerrero-Lasprilla ... v. Barr , 140 S.Ct. 1062 (2020). Before that decision, we ... ...
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    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 4 Enero 2022
    ... ... including the trial court's actual knowledge of the ... motion, its overt refusal to act, the state of the ... court's docket, and the existence of other judicial and ... administrative matters which must be addressed first. See ... their courtroom and control their docket. Clanton v ... Clark, 639 S.W.2d 929, 931 (Tex. 1982); Jacobs v ... State, 594 S.W.3d 377, 382 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2019, ... no pet.). Nevertheless, this discretion is not unlimited, and ... ...
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    ...King Fisher Marine Serv., L.P. v. Tamez, 443 S.W.3d 838, 843 (Tex. 2014); Clanton v. Clark, 639 S.W.2d 929, 931 (Tex. 1982); Jacobs v. State, 594 S.W.3d 377, 382 App.- San Antonio 2019, no pet.). Nevertheless, this discretion is not unlimited, and the trial court has a duty to schedule its ......

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