Sufficiency of the Evidence for a Criminal Conviction In Texas

In Clewis v. State, 922 S.W.2d 126, 129 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996), the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals announced the general standard for reviewing the factual sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction. Under the general standard, we must view all the evidence without the prism of "in the light most favorable to the prosecution" and set aside the verdict only if it is so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence as to be clearly wrong and unjust. Id. The Court later explained that three major principles guide us in conducting this review. Cain v. State, 958 S.W.2d 404, 407 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997). First, we review the jury's weighing of the evidence in a deferential manner to avoid substituting our judgment for that of the jury. See id. Our evaluation must not substantially intrude upon the jury's role as the sole judge of the weight and credibility of witness testimony. Santellan v. State, 939 S.W.2d 155, 164 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997). The weight to be given contradictory testimonial evidence is within the sole province of the jury, because it turns on an evaluation of credibility and demeanor. Cain, 958 S.W.2d at 408-09. The jury is also entitled to draw reasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence to ultimate facts. Kelley v. State, 968 S.W.2d 395, 398 (Tex. App.--Tyler 1998, no pet.). Where conflicting evidence is presented, the jury's verdict is generally regarded as conclusive unless the verdict is "manifestly unjust," "shocks the conscience, " or "clearly demonstrates bias." Santellan, 939 S.W.2d at 165. Second, we must support a finding of factual insufficiency with a detailed explanation so the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals can ensure that we accorded proper deference to the jury's findings. Cain, 958 S.W.2d at 408-09. In the event we reverse a lower court's decision, we must state in what regard the contrary evidence greatly outweighs the evidence in support of the verdict. See id. Third, we must review all of the evidence without viewing it in the light most favorable to the verdict. See Cain, 958 S.W.2d at 408.