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Schaffer v. State
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
777 S.W.2d 111 (1989)
Michael Schaffer (defendant) was arrested in south Texas in a stolen van with 1,700 grams of peyote. Schaffer was charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance. At trial, Schaffer took the stand and admitted being in the van with the drugs. However, Schaffer also testified that he had been acting as a police informant for a north Texas police officer named Jimmy Seals and that he had been an informant for Seals for the past two years. Schaffer claimed that he had asked Seals to be a trial witness, but that Seals was unable to make the long trip across Texas on short notice. Manuel Segovia, a local sheriff’s investigator, phoned Seals outside the jury’s presence. Segovia then took the stand to testify about the call. Segovia was never asked to directly repeat what Seals had said on the phone. Instead, Segovia was asked whether he would want the charges against Schaffer dropped based on what Seals said in the call. Segovia responded with a no. Seals was never subpoenaed to testify at the trial. Schaffer was convicted and appealed, arguing that the question to Segovia about dropping the charges indirectly introduced an inadmissible hearsay statement by Seals. The Corpus Christi Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the conviction. The case was appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McCormick, J.)
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