A fingerprint makes all the difference.

Hack v. State (Unpublished Memo): A wrinkle in the habitual offender law.  Hack was charged with sexual assault of a minor, which carries a two to twenty year sentence.  But the State said Hack had previously been convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child.  If that’s true, Hack gets a mandatory life sentence on each of the present sexual assault charges (there were four counts).

Hack denied any prior conviction.  So the State had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Hack did indeed have a prior conviction.  According to prior cases, one way the State can do that is to match the defendant’s fingerprint to the fingerprint from the prior judgment of conviction.

The prior judgment of conviction in this case was from 1993.  Apparently, the judgment itself didn’t have Hack’s fingerprint on it.  As a result, Hack contends that the State didn’t offer sufficient proof of the prior conviction.

But there was another order in the 1993 case file that had Hack’s fingerprint.  The Tyler court said that was enough.  The life sentences are affirmed. 

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