Texas Murder Conviction Overturned on Appeal

In a rare decision a Texas Murder Conviction was overturned on appeal. The 2nd Court of Appeals reversed the murder conviction of Charles Stobaugh and rendered a judgement of acquittal. Mr Stobaugh had been convicted in 2011 in Denton County for the murder of his wife who disappeared in 2004. Stobaugh’s wife’s body was never recovered and that was the primary point of Stobaughs appeal. The Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to establish murder. The evidence at trial did not show a motive for murder such as a mistress or any evidence of crime scene staging or possession of a weapon by Stobaugh. The evidence showed Stobaugh had always cooperated with the police and had never threatened any witnesses.

The State can convict a citizen of murder without producing a dead body but they must have some evidence that a murder occurred and they must have evidence that the accused committed the crime. Apparently here there was only a missing person with out any real evidence to tie the defendant to a crime. Such reversals are extremely rare. One has to wonder if the Michael Morton case was in the back of the Judges mind when they were deciding this case.

The next move will be up to the Denton County District Attorney’s Office. They can decide if they want to appeal that decision to the Court of Criminal Appeals. Since it is a murder case I am almost sure that they will choose to go that route. This  trial well covered in the press and the victim’s family will want this case appealed.

Kudos should go out to criminal lawyer and blogger Barry Green who predicted this very outcome in 2011. I first read about this case on Mr Green’s blog and recalled his prediction that this conviction would not hold up on appeal. I stumbled across Liberally Lean several years ago when I had a criminal case up in Wise County. I wanted to get the pulse of the county in case I had to try that case and Green’s blog provided me a lot of insight. It also has provided me a lot of entertainment over the years because Green has a great sense of humour and blogs on many other interesting subject’s other than the law.

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