Former Beaumont police officer Todd Burke had his oppression conviction overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday.
Burke was one of five officers involved with the Aug. 24, 2007, beating of Derrick Newman. Court records show Burke struck Newman 13 times with a baton. He was charged with official oppression and first tried in Jefferson County.
After a mistrial in April 2010, the case was transferred to San Antonio. A jury there found Burke guilty of official oppression and he was sentenced to 90 days probation and a $350 fine.
Burke appealed the conviction on Oct. 12, 2010, arguing that the trial court erred in denying juror challenges during voir dire.
Burke's attorney, Brian Wice of Houston, filed a petition for review with the Court of Criminal Appeals on Sept. 20, court records show. The petition to review was granted Nov. 16.
Wice argued the defense was forced to use one of its peremptory strikes to eliminate a potential juror who indicated that he could not be fair or impartial because of a past experience with police.
He contended the defense should have been granted an additional strike.
On June 27 the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the Ninth Court of Appeal's Aug. 24, 2011, remanding the case to the trial court for a new trial.
"Appellant has shown that he was harmed by the trial court's erroneous denial of appellant's challenge for cause," the opinion states. "Appellant is entitled to a new trial."
Trial Case No. 09-07066
Ninth Court case No. 09-10-00456-C
Criminal Appeals case No. PD-1398-11