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"Did the 13th Court of Appeals err in the analysis of 'harm' in this case and in finding any error harmless?"
The trial court denied Rogers’ request that the jury be instructed on self-defense and necessity, and Rogers challenged that ruling on appeal. The court of appeals assumed it was error but held Rogers did not suffer “some harm.” It noted that, because Rogers admitted he committed the offense, the only contested issues involved a defense. However, it went on to state that Rogers’ trial strategy did not invoke any defensive issue. Further, the evidence contradicted Rogers’ version of the events and, the evidence, though not overwhelming, was significant enough to suggest that a jury would reject any defense. The jury’s forty-year sentence also reflects its judgment that Rogers was “significantly blameworthy.”
Rogers first argues that the court of appeals should have considered the importance of the defensive issue in his favor. And, contrary to the court’s reading of the record, he tried to assert the defensive issues but was shut down by the trial court. Next, the court erred to assess the credibility of the evidence supporting the defensive issues and, thus, its analysis of the probative evidence is speculative. Lastly, the court’s consideration of the punishment assessed was improper because the issues considered at punishment extend beyond his guilt.