Branch v. State

In Branch v. State, 335 S.W.3d 893 (Tex. App.--Austin 2011, pet. ref'd), the court held that the defendant's trial counsel was ineffective by failing to object to the prosecutor's closing argument about parole. In Branch, the prosecutor stated that the defendant would "be done on life" in seven or eight years if he exhibited good conduct, that the defendant would "never" serve as many as fifteen or twenty years if given a life sentence, and that the defendant "would be out even quicker" if the jury gave him a thirty- or forty-year sentence. Branch, 335 S.W.3d at 907. The court concluded that the prosecutor's argument was improper because "the prosecutor did not state that the defendant would be eligible for parole in a certain number of years, but rather stated that he would be out of prison in that amount of time." Id. The court stated that "the prosecutor's statements were improper because they went beyond merely explaining the parole-law portion of the jury charge and because they were also an inaccurate statement of the law." Id.