CCA Overrules Clewis's Factual Sufficiency Review


In a splintered decision in Brooks v. State, 323 S.W.3d 893 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010), the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overruled Clewis v. State, 922 S.W.2d 126 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996), which provided for review of a jury verdict in a criminal case for factual sufficiency of the evidence. Judge Hervey wrote the plurality opinion announcing the judgment of the Court, joined by Presiding Judge Keller and Judges Keasler and Cochran. Despite joining the plurality, Judge Cochran also filed a concurring opinion, in which Judge Womack joined. Judge Price filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Judges Meyers, Johnson, and Holcomb.

Judge Hervey's opinion begins by stating that the Court was called to consider whether “there is any meaningful distinction between a legal-sufficiency standard under Jackson v. Virginia and a factual-sufficiency standard under Clewis v. State and whether there is a need to retain both standards.” Judge Hervey concluded that “these two standards have become essentially the same standard and that there is no meaningful distinction between them that would justify retaining them both.” Thus, the plurality would overrule Clewis and hold that “the Jackson v. Virginia legal-sufficiency standard is the only standard that a reviewing court should apply in determining whether the evidence is sufficient to support each element of a criminal offense that the State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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