Ashley v. State

In Ashley v. State, 362 S.W.2d 847 (Tex. Crim. App. 1962), the deceased's widow cried out during the defense counsel's closing argument in a murder trial. The substance of the outburst was that the deceased was with his wife at a certain time on the evening when he was killed. The defense moved for a mistrial which was overruled. The trial court, without request from the defendant, instructed the jury to disregard the remark. The widow was immediately removed from the courtroom. On appeal, the defendant argued the outburst warranted reversal. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the defendant's conviction. The court discussed the outburst in the context of defendant's trial strategy and emphasized that the outburst did not contradict the appellant's testimony regarding his whereabouts at the time of the crime. Further, the court stressed the instruction to the jury to disregard the outburst further mitigated the statement's impact, to the point no reasonable probability of injury to the defendant existed. See Ashley, 362 S.W.2d at 851.