Smith v. Texas

At the punishment-phase of trial for aggravated robbery, Appellant Joseph Smith presented evidence he suffered from a severe drug addiction. The State asked for, and received, an instruction stating that “[v]oluntary intoxication does not constitute a defense to the commission of a crime.” Smith argues that such an instruction is never appropriate in the punishment phase of trial. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that although it is within a trial judge’s discretion to give a voluntary-intoxication instruction in the punishment phase, its application must be expressly limited to extraneous offenses. The Court "defined with greater particularity" the way in which it thought the charge was erroneous, the Court remanded this case to the court of appeals to decide whether that error was preserved, which of "Almanza’s" harm analyses ought to apply, and ultimately whether the error was harmful. Smith’s remaining issues were dismissed as improvidently granted. View "Smith v. Texas" on Justia Law