Ballard v. State (2005)

In Ballard v. State, 161 S.W.3d 269 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 2005), aff'd, 193 S.W.3d 916 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006), the defendant kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, and forced her, at gunpoint, "to accompany him to his house, had admittedly consensual sex with her, and then asked her to accompany him in a car on a local bill-paying trip--even leaving her alone in the passenger seat of the car two times during the trip while he went into businesses to pay bills." Id. at 270. The two later returned to the defendant's house, where the police eventually arrived. Id. at 275. On appeal, the defendant argued that he was entitled to the safe release defense because "he voluntarily released the victim in a safe place within the meaning of the statute because he left her alone in the car, twice, giving her the power to escape." Id. at 272. The Ballard court noted that even though the victim could have safely driven away, the evidence indicated that the defendant intended to return to the car momentarily, that he knew how to find the victim later had she driven off, and that the defendant had some continuing power over the victim during the time he left to run his errands. Id. at 276. Further, the kidnapping did not cease until the police intervened, meaning that the defendant did not commit an overt and affirmative act to release the victim. Id. at 275.