Texas Stamp


PD-0822-23 02/21/2024

“When two officers both testify about one joint pursuit of an individual after that individual evaded them in a motor vehicle, is there no double jeopardy violation when the individual is charged and convicted of evading from both officers simply because the individual gives a different account of the chase to a third party?”

Priest was convicted of two counts of evading arrest. Each count named a different officer. For the first time on appeal, Priest alleged a violation of his double jeopardy right against multiple punishments because, he claimed, both officers participated in a single pursuit from which he escaped. The court of appeals rejected his unpreserved claim by holding that the record was unclear whether there was a single pursuit or two pursuits. See Gonzalez v. State, 8 S.W.3d 640, 643 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000) (“a double jeopardy claim may be raised for the first time on appeal . . . when [inter alia] the undisputed facts show the double jeopardy violation is clearly apparent on the face of the record[.]”). It based this on a statement made by Priest to a physician that described what could be construed as a separate departure from the scene. Its holding assumed that evading arrest—typically considered a continuing offense—can give rise to two evasions if police terminate the initial pursuit. See Hobbs v. State, 175 S.W.3d 777, 780 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005) (entertaining the idea but holding the pursuit in that case “was temporarily suspended and resumed several hours later when it was feasible for the officers to effectively search for the appellant.”).

Priest argues in his petition that the court of appeals’s reading of the record strains credulity. Regardless of any statement he made that characterized the pursuit differently, there is no testimony from the officers that they participated in two separate pursuits.

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