Batiste v. State

In Batiste v. State, 464 S.W.2d 149, 151 (Tex. Crim. App. 1971), the complainant testified he was walking down a street at about 12:50 a.m. when two Black men robbed him at knifepoint of his eyeglasses, transistor radio, and wallet. Id at 150. The complainant heard one of the men say, "Come on, the cops," and further observed the men run away. Id. However, because of poor eyesight, the complainant was unable to identify either of the robbers. Id. at 150-51. Approximately five minutes later, a police officer observed two men behind a closed business. Id. at 150. When the officer illuminated the area, the men fled. The two men were apprehended a short time later and a knife was found on one of the men, later identified as the defendant. Id. The defendant was arrested and, while seated in the patrol vehicle, was observed by another officer trying to gain access to his own pant's pocket. When the officer checked the pocket, a pair of eyeglasses, later identified by the complainant as the glasses taken by the robbers, was found. Id. The defendant in Batiste was convicted and raised insufficient evidence on appeal. Id. at 150. The Court analyzed the issue in the following manner: In Edmonds v. State, Tex. Cr. App., 407 S.W.2d 783, this Court reiterated the rule that 'proof of appellant's unexplained possession of the property recently stolen from the house, together with proof that the house had been burglarized by someone, was sufficient to support the conviction.' Unexplained possession of recently stolen goods has been held to support a conviction for theft in numerous cases. English v. State, Tex. Cr. App., 441 S.W.2d 195; Stubblefield v. State, Tex. Cr. App., 372 S.W.2d 539. 'This court has frequently said that robbery is an aggravated case of theft because in each instance the fraudulent taking of property with intent to appropriate it is the gravamen of the offense. The distinction between the two offenses lies in the antecedent assault or violence or putting in fear of life or bodily injury necessary to constitute the offense of robbery.' Alaniz v. State, 147 Tex. Cr. R. 1, 177 S.W.2d 965. 'As in cases of burglary and theft, it would seem that a conviction of the defendant for robbery could well rest upon the fact that he was in possession of the loot which had recently been taken from the injured party.' 5 Branch's P.C. 2d, Sec. 2596, pp. 29--30.Under the circumstances of this case, where a robbery has occurred at a location near the arrest and very close to the time of the arrest, and where the victim is unable to identify the robber, appellant's unexplained possession of the victim's eyeglasses at the time of his arrest is sufficient to sustain his conviction for the robbery by assault. (Batiste, 464 S.W.2d at 151.) In Batiste v. State, the Court found the evidence to be sufficient to sustain the conviction absent a positive identification by the complainant because the defendant's personal possession of the complainant's property taken in the robbery was also recent, and unexplained. Id. at 151.