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State v. Arizmendi - What are the limits of a Motion for New Trial?

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May 17, 2017, 13:22
Brody V. Burks
State v. Arizmendi - What are the limits of a Motion for New Trial?
Some interesting opinions in Arizmendi today, 07-15-00238-CR. Arizmendi pled to a 25 year sentence on POCS, with a waiver of all appellate relief- including right to new trial.

Her Co-Def held a contested suppression hearing and the judge suppressed the stop. Co-Def gets off scot free. Arizmendi files a timely motion for new trial "in the interest of justice."

The majority doesn't touch the question of whether the waivers are valid, but says that the suppression hearing isn't "new evidence" since Arizmendi had the reports and video that were the subject of the suppression hearing.

What's MOST interesting are the concurrences. Judge Newell's concurrence does a great job neutering the idea that "in the interests of justice" means "it 'taint fair." A defendant must have a freestanding legal basis for relief. "In the interests of justice" is a rationale for granting that relief, not a ground in itself. A good opinion for the State.

Hervey's is a little more problematic from the State's perspective as it reinforces the idea that a bargained-for waiver of appellate rights might be unenforceable. He would hold that if the defendant didn't know about the grounds for new trial (or habeas) at the time of the waiver, that the waiver is unenforceable. It was joined by Keasler and Newell, so that's well on the way to establishing a majority on the issue.

Both concurrences bear watching, moreso than a rather fact-bound majority.