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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Possible Error in Allowing Testimony of Pretrial Services Held Harmless

In a kidnapping trial, the State called a pretrial services officer, a county employee who interviews criminal defendants to determine whether they should get a personal- free- bail bond to testify about what a defendant had told her about his alleged affirmative defense. The defendant had not been Mirandized. The Austin Court of Appeals analyzed the pretrial services officer's role, appearing to be heading toward the conclusion that since the defendant was in custody, was being interrogated after a fashion, he should have been Mirandized if his statements could have been used against him later. The court did not reach a conclusion one way or another because they found that even if the statements should not have come in, the error would have been harmless, given the rest of evidence properly admitted.
The Court also considered that the improper objection to a voir dire question was harmless, because all of the panelists impacted were struck, that the refusal of the court to strike a panelist for cause was proper, and that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that the kidnapping victim was not released in a safe place.

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