Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,300+ case briefs...

Dowden v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
758 S.W.2d 264 (1988)


Dowden’s (defendant) brother was arrested and held in the city jail at the police station. Dowden decided to help his brother escape and went with his sister-in-law and a friend, Clifford Blansett, to the police station with a rifle and a pistol. Upon entering, Dowden slammed open the door, pointed the automatic gun at two officers, and said he was there to get his brother. One of the officers, Captain Gray, lunged at Dowden, grabbing him and forcing him into the hallway. The door closed behind them. Officer Windham and a dispatcher, Denton, were in the office and could not see what was happening, but they heard a shot fired. Windham and Denton assumed Dowden had killed Captain Gray, because they could no longer see the officer. Windham and Denton then exchanged gunfire with Dowden. Windham heard movement in the hallway, and Denton yelled, “[h]e’s coming through the door.” After another gunshot, the door flung open, and Windham immediately shot three times while on his knees. Windham admitted that he did not look before he fired, because he thought it could only be Dowden coming through the door. It was soon discovered that the man lying in the doorway was not Dowden, but Captain Gray. Examination of the bullets indicated that Windham had killed Captain Gray. Dowden confessed to the events, stating that he opened the door to the office and started shooting after an officer lunged at him. Dowden was convicted of capital murder for the death of Captain Gray and sentenced to life in prison. Dowden appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in not granting his motion for a directed not-guilty verdict, because the evidence clearly showed that Officer Windham shot and killed Captain Gray. Dowden also complained that the court misinterpreted Texas’s penal code § 6.04(a), which states that a person is responsible if the result would not have occurred but for his conduct, either alone or together with another cause, unless the other cause was clearly sufficient to produce the result and the actor’s conduct clearly insufficient.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Onion, J.)

Dissent (Clinton, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 457,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 457,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,300 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial