State v. Groves

Decision Date03 June 1992
Docket NumberNo. 291-91,291-91
Citation837 S.W.2d 103
PartiesThe STATE of Texas, Appellant, v. James Olen GROVES, Appellee. 1
CourtTexas Court of Criminal Appeals

Douglas M. O'Brien, Houston, for appellee.

John B. Holmes, Jr., Dist. Atty., and Alna Curry, Stephanie Stephens and Brigitte Peters, Asst. Dist. Attys., Houston, Robert Huttash, State's Atty., Austin, for the State.

Before the court en banc.

OPINION ON APPELLEE'S PETITION FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW

OVERSTREET, Judge.

Appellee was charged by information with the misdemeanor offense of driving while intoxicated (hereinafter referred to as DWI), alleged to have been committed on or about August 6, 1988. On June 11, 1990 in the County Criminal Court at Law

                Number Eleven of Harris County, Texas, the trial court granted appellee's motion to suppress evidence, thus ordering that "all evidence seized as a result of [appellee]'s arrest on August 6, 1988 be suppressed."   The State appealed that ruling.  The court of appeals reversed the trial court's suppression order.  807 S.W.2d 775.   We granted appellee's sole ground for review which challenged the court of appeals' ruling
                
I. APPELLEE'S CLAIM BEFORE TRIAL COURT

Appellee filed a "Motion to Suppress Evidence." That motion alleged that a justice court, after holding a hearing "to determine whether [appellee]'s license should be suspended for failing to submit a specimen of breath or blood for a determination of alcohol concentration upon his arrest[,]" made a "negative finding upon the question whether probable cause existed that [he] was driving while intoxicated." The motion further averred that since the ultimate issue of fact concerning the issue of probable cause at the time of arrest had already been resolved by the justice court's "finding of no probable cause[,]" "collateral estoppel requires no further litigation of th[e] issue." Thus appellee sought suppression of all evidence obtained as a result of his arrest because the justice court had purportedly previously found that there was no probable cause for his arrest for DWI. It was undisputed that the justice court's proceedings concerned the same arrest as was the subject of the instant cause. The trial court granted appellee's motion and "therefore ordered that all evidence seized as a result of [his] arrest on August 6, 1988 be suppressed." 2 The State appealed that order.

II. COURT OF APPEALS' RULING

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals found that the trial court "abused its discretion in granting appellee's motion to suppress on the basis of the collateral estoppel doctrine." State v. Groves, 807 S.W.2d 775, 776 (Tex.App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1991). Relying upon this Court's opinion in Neaves v. State, 767 S.W.2d 784 (Tex.Cr.App.1989), it then held that "the doctrine of collateral estoppel does not bar the State's subsequent prosecution of appellee for [DWI] [,]" and "[a]ccordingly ... reverse[d] the order of the trial court granting appellee's motion to suppress[.]" Id. Appellee now claims that the court of appeals erred in so holding.

III. MERITS OF APPELLEE'S CLAIM

Specifically, appellee's ground for review avers that the trial court properly granted his motion based upon a prior determination of lack of probable cause. The record reflects that at the hearing on the motion to suppress the only evidence presented was an exhibit consisting of certified copies of Texas Department of Public Safety (hereinafter referred to as DPS) records. Those records included, among other things, a warning form which indicated that the arrestee (which it is not disputed was appellee) refused the arresting officer's request to give a specimen of breath after being informed of the consequences of not giving such a specimen. These records also included an affidavit from the arresting officer that he had reasonable ground to believe that the arrestee (appellee) was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon a public highway/beach in Texas while intoxicated. The affidavit delineated six specific facts in support of that belief. 3 Also included in Appellee claims that because of that finding and decree the justice court necessarily concluded that there was an absence of probable cause to arrest him. As noted above, the only evidence presented at the suppression hearing consisted of the above-described DPS records. Thus, there was no testimony regarding the particulars of the justice court hearing or the basis of the negative finding made therein. Both appellee and the State agree that the justice court's "negative finding" ruling was based upon DPS actions pursuant to Article 6701l-5, § 2(f), V.A.C.S.

the records was a DPS Petition for Administrative Hearing which sought an affirmative finding and judgment authorizing the DPS to suspend or deny appellee's license and driving privilege. That petition indicates that on December 1, 1988 a justice court made a negative finding and decreed that neither said license nor privilege be suspended/denied based upon the DPS petition.

Article 6701l-5, § 2(f), V.A.C.S., provides for the relief which the DPS sought in its petition before the justice court upon findings:

"(1) that probable cause existed that such person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on the highway or upon a public beach while intoxicated, (2) that the person was placed under arrest by the officer and was offered an opportunity to give a specimen under the provisions of th[e] Act, and (3) that such person refused to give a specimen upon request of the officer[.]"

However, "[i]f ... the court finds in the negative one of the issues required by [Subsection (f), above]," the relief which the DPS sought against appellee is to be denied. Article 6701l-5, § 2(g), V.A.C.S. As the justice court did make a negative finding and deny such relief, apparently it "f[ound] in the negative one of the issues" described above. There is nothing in the record to indicate that that finding specifically related to the presence or absence of probable cause to arrest appellee. 4

The record reflects that, at the hearing on appellee's motion to suppress, the trial court explicitly stated, among other things, that it found that in light of "the six factors that were submitted to the [justice court] judge in that hearing to determine whether or not there was probable cause, and the [justice court] [judge], based upon those six factors, determined ... that there was not and made a negative finding." In other words, the trial court found that the justice court had found an absence of probable cause. 5 The trial court then added that it thought that it could consider appellee's Special Plea of Double Jeopardy which was sworn to by appellee, and "in that connection" appellee had sworn "that...

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28 cases
  • State v. Brabson
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
    • February 25, 1998
    ...provisions of the Act, and (3) whether such person refused to give a specimen upon the request of the officer. See State v. Groves, 837 S.W.2d 103, 105 (Tex.Cr.App.1992). Article 6701l-5, Section 2(f), does not authorize the administrative judge to make findings on the issue of probable cau......
  • State v. Brabson
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
    • February 25, 1998
    ...provisions of the Act, and (3) whether such person refused to give a specimen upon the request of the officer. See State v. Groves, 837 S.W.2d 103, 105 (Tex.Cr.App.1992). Article 6701l-5, Section 2(f), does not authorize the administrative judge to make findings on the issue of probable cau......
  • Flores v. State
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • August 16, 1995
    ...and final judgment so as to prevent the State from relitigating that issue. See Shaffer, 477 S.W.2d at 875; see also State v. Groves, 837 S.W.2d 103, 106 (Tex.Crim.App.1992); Nash, 817 S.W.2d at 841. The burden is on appellant to see that a sufficient record is presented to show error requi......
  • State v. Smiley
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • March 31, 1997
    ...whether collateral estoppel can, in the proper circumstances, arise from a license suspension, the court's opinion in State v. Groves, 837 S.W.2d 103 (Tex.Crim.App.1992) is instructive. That case also involved the application of collateral estoppel to prevent relitigation of probable cause ......
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