CHRISTOPHER HARDEN v. STATE OF TEXAS

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Court of Appeals of Texas, Beaumont.

CHRISTOPHER S. HARDEN, Appellant v. STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

NO. 09-15-00145-CR

Decided: January 25, 2017

Before McKeithen, C.J., Kreger and Horton, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

On August 20, 2014, Christopher S. Harden was indicted for evading arrest or detention with a vehicle, a third degree felony which was enhanced to a first degree felony due to previous felony convictions. See Tex. Penal Code § 38.04 (West Supp. 2016).1 Trial began in this case on January 20, 2015, but before all testimony was heard, a plea was negotiated between the State and Harden. As part of the plea, Harden waived his right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense of evading arrest or detention on foot with priors, a second degree felony. The trial court, having found the evidence sufficient to prove his guilt, found Harden guilty, but deferred sentencing until a presentence investigation could be provided to the court. At the punishment hearing, the trial court sentenced Harden to twelve years of confinement. Harden timely filed a notice of appeal.

Harden's appellate counsel filed a brief that presents counsel's professional evaluation of the record and concludes the appeal is frivolous. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967); High v. State, 573 S.W.2d 807 (Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1978). On June 1, 2016, we notified Harden that a pro se brief was due on or before August 1, 2016, and on July 14, 2016, Harden filed a hand-written pro se brief. In response, the State filed a brief arguing that while Harden responded and raised issues, the pro se brief does not identify any arguable points for appeal.

In addressing an Anders brief and pro se response, a court of appeals may only determine (1) that the appeal is wholly frivolous and issue an opinion explaining that it has reviewed the record and finds no reversible error, or (2) that arguable grounds for appeal exist and remand the cause to the trial court so that new counsel may be appointed to brief the issues. Bledsoe v. State, 178 S.W.3d 824, 826-27 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005).

We have independently examined the entire appellate record in this matter as well as the pro se brief of Harden. In light of the plea agreement reached during trial, we find that appellant's pro se brief contains no cognizable appellate issues and have determined that this appeal is wholly frivolous. Therefore, we find it unnecessary to order appointment of new counsel to re-brief the appeal. Cf. Stafford v. State, 813 S.W.2d 503, 511 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). We affirm the trial court's judgment.2

AFFIRMED.

FOOTNOTES

1.   We cite to the current version of section 38.04 because the amendment does not affect the outcome of this appeal.

2.   Harden may challenge our decision in this case by filing a petition for discretionary review. See Tex. R. App. P. 68.

CHARLES KREGER Justice

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