Anderson v. State (1984)

In Anderson v. State, 672 S.W.2d 14 (Tex. App.--Houston 14th Dist. 1984, no pet.), the victim was sexually assaulted by a man she could not identify. See Anderson, 672 S.W.2d at 14-15. The victim testified that her assailant entered her house through the window. Id. at 15. The only evidence introduced at trial that tended to connect the appellant to the crime was a single fingerprint that was found on an outside window pane of the house. Id. Following the court of criminal appeals' analysis in Phelps v. State, 594 S.W.2d 434 (Tex. Crim. App. 1980), the court of appeals noted that there was a screen ordinarily covering the window on which the appellant's fingerprints were found, and that screen was found bent and unhooked the day after the crime occurred. See Anderson, 672 S.W.2d at 15. The court further noted that these screens diminished the general public's access to the windows. Id. The police officer who lifted the fingerprint from the glass testified that the print was found in the upper left hand corner of the lower pane, the place where a person ordinarily would place his fingers to lift the window. Id. The court concluded that: (1) although the outside of a window may be a place generally accessible to the public, a window covered by a screen is not; (2) the appellant could not have placed his fingerprint in that location had he not first removed the screen; (3) the appellant had never been on the premises before. Id. Accordingly, the court held that there was sufficient evidence to support the element of the appellant's identity. Id. at 15-16.