Prichard v. State

533 S.W.3d 315 (2017)

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Prichard v. State

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
533 S.W.3d 315 (2017)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

Robert Monte Prichard (defendant) killed his dog by hitting her with a shovel and drowning her. Prichard was convicted of violating the state’s animal-anticruelty statute, which prohibited the nonlawful killing of or causing serious bodily injury to an animal. A jury found that the state’s deadly weapon statute also applied, which imposed harsher punishments on felons who used deadly weapons during their crimes. The statute defined a deadly weapon as anything able to cause death or serious bodily injury. The legislature enacted the deadly weapon statute based on the recognition that the use of a deadly weapon increased the likelihood that the victim of the crime would feel threatened and therefore led to an increased risk of violence. Prichard appealed the deadly weapon finding on the ground that the statute required the victim to be human. The State of Texas (plaintiff) argued that the deadly weapon statute applied to cases of animal cruelty because both statutes used the phrase “serious bodily injury.” The state also reasoned that the deadly weapon statute was applicable to an act of animal cruelty because killing an animal or causing it serious bodily injury required a weapon. The court of appeals upheld the deadly weapon finding. Prichard appealed again.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alcala, J.)

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