Sudden Passion Defense In Texas
The existence of "sudden passion" is a mitigating factor relevant to punishment, and the burden of proving sudden passion by a preponderance of the evidence during the punishment phase rests with the defendant. Rainey s. State, 949 S.W.2d 537, 541 (Tex. App. - Austin 1997, pet. ref'd), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 880, 119 S. Ct. 186, 142 L. Ed. 2d 152 (1998).
It is an issue of fact to be determined by the jury.
Thus, even though a defendant may produce some evidence of sudden passion, the jury is still free to choose to ignore the defendant's testimony if some other evidence supports its conclusion. See Saxton v. State, 804 S.W.2d 910, 913 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991).
In Meraz v. State, 785 S.W.2d 146, 155 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990), the Court of Criminal Appeals set out the standard of review this court is to use when a defendant claims the jury's negative finding to an affirmative defense was not supported by the evidence:
When the courts of appeals are called upon to . . . examine whether the appellant proved his affirmative defense or other fact issue where the law has designated that the defendant has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, the correct standard of review is whether after considering all the evidence relevant to the issue at hand, the judgment is so against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence so as to be manifestly unjust. Id.