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Hopson v. Texas

Texas Court of Appeals
2009 WL 1124389 (2009)


Facts

Karissa Lou Hopson (defendant) was arrested after police found her standing on the front porch of a house holding a television. When the police arrived, they saw that the house’s windows were broken and that Hopson had blood on her shirt and hand. There was also damage to the inside of the house. The owners of the house said that they did not know Hopson and did not give her permission to be in their house or to remove their television from the house. Hopson was subsequently charged with burglary. At trial, Hopson testified that she picked up the television because she believed she was stopping a burglary in progress, not because she intended to commit a burglary. Hopson said that she was friends with the owners of the house and had gone to the house to visit them. However, when she arrived, she found a man taking things out of the house. Hopson testified that the man left after she confronted him and that she then found the television sitting outside. Believing that the man had taken the television out of the house as part of a burglary, Hopson picked up the television to put it back in the house. Hopson maintained that her intention was not to commit a burglary, but to prevent one. Hopson asked the trial court to give the jury a mistake-of-fact instruction stating that if the jury believed that Hopson reasonably believed she was acting to prevent a burglary, the jury must find Hopson not guilty. The trial court refused to give Hopson's requested instruction. Instead, the court instructed the jury that in order to convict Hopson, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Hopson entered the house without the owners' effective consent and with the intent to commit theft. The court further instructed the jury that the jury must acquit Hopson if the State of Texas (plaintiff) failed to prove every element of the crime, including the intent to commit theft. The jury convicted Hopson. Hopson appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial court erred when it refused to offer the mistake-of-fact instruction to the jury.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sullivan, J.)

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