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Goodman v. State

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
190 S.W.3d 823 (2006)


Louis Goodman (defendant) was a driller on an oil rig. Goodman had worked on rigs for 25 years and was in charge of a crew of three other workers. One of the crew members was Shawn Davis, who had recently joined the crew. It was common on oil rigs to initiate new crew members. Goodman and the other two crew members decided to initiate Davis by hoisting him up with a cat line—a chain with a hook. The crew members would attach a belt to Davis and then hook the cat line to the belt. Goodman and another crew member attached the belt to Davis. Goodman then hooked the line to Davis’s belt. Goodman testified that he immediately knew he should not have done so. Goodman also testified that he knew of previous accidents involving cat lines. (The prosecution’s expert testified that in his 45 years of experience, he had known approximately six people who had been injured by cat lines.) Goodman immediately tried to unhook the line but was unable to. The fourth crew member, who had a better vantage point, testified that the cat line appeared to have become caught in the kelly—a device that rotated at a high rate of speed. Davis was pulled toward the kelly and spun around numerous times, hitting several pieces of equipment. Paramedics found Davis dead. Goodman was convicted of manslaughter. Goodman appealed, contending that because he did not know that the line had been caught in the kelly, he was entitled to a jury instruction on the lesser-included offense of criminally negligent homicide. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals heard the appeal.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gardner, J.)

Dissent (Walker, J.)

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