Martin v. State, No. 37037

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtMORRISON
Citation395 S.W.2d 631,86 S.Ct. 307
Decision Date06 January 1965
Docket NumberNo. 37037
PartiesJames Bryson MARTIN, Appellant, v. The STATE of Texas, Appellee.

Page 631

395 S.W.2d 631
James Bryson MARTIN, Appellant,
v.
The STATE of Texas, Appellee.
No. 37037.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas.
Jan. 6, 1965.
Rehearing Denied Feb. 17, 1965.
Certiorari Denied Nov. 22, 1965.
See 86 S.Ct. 307.

Clyde W. Woody, Houston, for appellant.

Frank Briscoe, Dist. Atty., Samuel H. Robertson, Jr., Carl E. F. Dally and Gus J. Zgourdes, Asst. Dist. Attys., Houston, David Brooks Coffer, Jr., County Atty., Bryan, and Leon B. Douglas, State's Atty., Austin, for the State.

DICE, Commissioner.

The conviction is for bribery; the punishment, four years in the penitentiary and a fine of $2,500.

Appellant, James Bryson Martin, and Ross Evahn, David Hudson, E. R. Coffey, and R. M. Duren were jointly charged by indictment with the offense of bribery of one Clem McClelland, a probate judge of Harris County.

Motions for severance were filed in Criminal District Court No. 5 of Harris County, in which court the indictment was pending, by appellant and also by his four codefendants. The codefendants' motion was by the court granted and, the defendants being unable to agree upon the order of trial, appellant was ordered to be tried first.

After granting the severance, the court on his own motion ordered venue of the cause changed to Brazos County and trial in the 85th Judicial District Court of said county. In the order changing venue, the court found that a trial alike fair and impartial to the accused and the state could not be had in Harris County because of the existence in the county of such great prejudice against appellant.

This is an appeal from appellant's trial and conviction in Brazos County.

The indictment, omitting the formal parts, charged:

'* * * that on or about the 2nd day of December, A.D. 1960, in said County and State, Clem McClelland was then and there the Judge of the Probate Court of Harris County, Texas, a judicial officer, the said Clem McClelland having been duly elected and qualified as such officer and having entered upon the duties of said office, a part of said duties being the appointment of appraisers, administrators and guardians in matters, causes, and proceedings filed in the Probate Court; and ROSS EVAHN, DAVID HUDSON, E. R. COFFEY, R. M. DUREN, and JAMES BRYSON MARTIN did then and there unlawfully, wilfully, and corruptly bribe and offer to bribe the said Clem McClelland by giving him the sum of Twenty-Five Thousand Seven Hundred Eighty-Three Dollars and Ten Cents ($25,783.10) in money with the intent to influence the acts, decisions, judgments and recommendations of the said Clem McClelland in his judicial capacity to thereafter appoint them, the said ROSS EVAHN, DAVID HUDSON, E. R. COFFEY, R. M. DUREN, and JAMES BRYSON MARTIN as appraisers, administrators, and guardians in matters, causes, and proceedings then pending before the said Clem McClelland in his judicial capacity, and in matters, causes, and proceedings which would thereafter be brought before and come before the said Clem McClelland in his judicial capacity in violation of his duty as said officer.'

The state's evidence shows that on the dates in question, Clem McClelland was the duly elected and acting probate judge of Harris County.

As probate judge, it was Judge McClelland's duty to appoint administrators, guardians, and appraisers in cases filed in his court. During the period from January

Page 633

1, 1961, through May, 1962, Judge McClelland appointed the appellant and his codefendants, Ross Evahn, David Hudson, E. R. Coffey, and R. M. Duren, as appraisers in estates for a total of 3511 times. In this same period he appointed 257 other persons as appraisers in estates for a total of 2225 times. It was shown that until January 1, 1962, the appraisers in each estate received a fee of $5, which was charged as court costs, but that additional appraisal fees were paid the appellant and his codefendants in certain estates. In one estate, appellant and two of his coindictees received the sum of $1,200; in another estate appellant, together with one of his coindictees and another person, received $300; and in a third estate appellant received a fee of $50.

On December 2, 1960, the appellant and two other persons obtained articles of incorporation from the secretary of state, authorizing the corporation to do business under the name of Tierra Grande, Inc. The appellant, acting as president of the corporation, on December 2, 1960, opened a bank account in the name of Tierra Grande, Inc., in the Citizens State Bank of Houston. The only two persons authorized to make withdrawals from the account were the appellant and Helen Smith, who had been Judge McClelland's secretary for a number of years. Beginning in December, 1960, and in each succeeding month through May, 1962, the appellant and his four coindictees made numerous deposits into the Tierra Grande, Inc. account. During such period, Evahn's deposits totaled $6,775; Hudson's totaled $4,750; Coffey's totaled $3,666.10; Duren's totaled $7,975; and those of the appellant were in the total sum of $558. During this same period of time numerous checks were drawn on the Tierra Grande account which were either payable to Judge McClelland or, from the notations thereon, were shown to be for his benefit. The total amount of checks payable to Judge McClelland or to cash and endorsed by him was in...

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5 practice notes
  • Martin v. Beto, No. 24672.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • August 14, 1968
    ...a basis for such finding, and no error is shown. Ross v. State, 153 Tex.Cr.R. 312, 220 S.W. 2d 137." Martin v. State, Tex.Crim.App.1965, 395 S.W.2d 631, As to this objection, the federal district court found as follows: "On the constitutionality of the change of venue from Harris County and......
  • Martin v. Beto, Civ. A. No. 65-H-849.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • August 22, 1966
    ...scene of the principal transaction. The conviction occurred in January of 1964. It was affirmed in Martin v. State of Texas, Tex.Cr.App., 395 S.W.2d 631 (January 6, 1965), and motion for rehearing was denied by the same Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas in Martin v. State of Texas, 395 S.W......
  • In re McClelland, Civ. A. No. 65-H-291
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • October 6, 1966
    ...v. Briscoe, 359 S.W.2d 640 (Tex.Civ.App.1962) ref.n.r.e.; O'Brien v. State, 376 S.W.2d 833 (Tex.Cr.App. 1964); Martin v. State, 395 S.W.2d 631 (Tex.Cr.App.1965); Martin v. Texas, 382 U.S. 928, 86 S.Ct. 307, 15 L.Ed.2d 340 (1965); Martin v. Beto, 260 F.Supp. 589 (S.D.Tex. Aug. 22, 4 Many est......
  • Parkview General Hospital, Inc. v. Ashmore, No. 534
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Civil Appeals of Texas
    • December 30, 1970
    ...Tex.Civ.App., 195 S.W.2d 181.' Also see Morgan v. Arnold, Tex.Civ.App., 441 S.W.2d 897, wr. ref. n.r.e.; Martin v. State, Tex.Cr.App., 395 S.W.2d 631, The questions of estoppel and waiver, raised by appellants in the trial court and on appeal, became fact issues which were decided by the tr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Martin v. Beto, No. 24672.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • August 14, 1968
    ...a basis for such finding, and no error is shown. Ross v. State, 153 Tex.Cr.R. 312, 220 S.W. 2d 137." Martin v. State, Tex.Crim.App.1965, 395 S.W.2d 631, As to this objection, the federal district court found as follows: "On the constitutionality of the change of venue from Harris County and......
  • Martin v. Beto, Civ. A. No. 65-H-849.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • August 22, 1966
    ...scene of the principal transaction. The conviction occurred in January of 1964. It was affirmed in Martin v. State of Texas, Tex.Cr.App., 395 S.W.2d 631 (January 6, 1965), and motion for rehearing was denied by the same Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas in Martin v. State of Texas, 395 S.W......
  • In re McClelland, Civ. A. No. 65-H-291
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • October 6, 1966
    ...v. Briscoe, 359 S.W.2d 640 (Tex.Civ.App.1962) ref.n.r.e.; O'Brien v. State, 376 S.W.2d 833 (Tex.Cr.App. 1964); Martin v. State, 395 S.W.2d 631 (Tex.Cr.App.1965); Martin v. Texas, 382 U.S. 928, 86 S.Ct. 307, 15 L.Ed.2d 340 (1965); Martin v. Beto, 260 F.Supp. 589 (S.D.Tex. Aug. 22, 4 Many est......
  • Parkview General Hospital, Inc. v. Ashmore, No. 534
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Civil Appeals of Texas
    • December 30, 1970
    ...Tex.Civ.App., 195 S.W.2d 181.' Also see Morgan v. Arnold, Tex.Civ.App., 441 S.W.2d 897, wr. ref. n.r.e.; Martin v. State, Tex.Cr.App., 395 S.W.2d 631, The questions of estoppel and waiver, raised by appellants in the trial court and on appeal, became fact issues which were decided by the tr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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