Ruffin v. State
Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
270 S.W.3d 586 (2008)
Ruffin (defendant) was shooting his gun on his property, prompting his neighbor to call the police. One of the officers who arrived on the scene was a woman who knew Ruffin personally for many years. She knew of Ruffin’s deteriorating mental condition. Ruffin shot at the officers who arrived on the scene to investigate the prior gunshots, yelling obscenities and other strange phrases at them in the process. SWAT team members and a negotiator finally got Ruffin out of the house and into police custody. Ruffin was charged with first-degree aggravated assault. At trial, many witnesses testified to Ruffin’s outlandish recent behavior and deteriorating mental health. Ruffin testified on his own behalf and told a similarly outlandish story to explain his actions, claiming he was shooting at Muslims, not police officers. The trial judge excluded expert testimony from a psychiatrist who attested to Ruffin’s deep depression and delusions. Ruffin was convicted of first-degree aggravated assault and appealed. On appeal, the court of appeals determined that evidence of a mental illness only negates the requisite state of mind in murder trials. The court of appeals upheld Ruffin’s conviction, and he appealed once again.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Cochran, J.)
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