What is the new merged legal/factual sufficiency standard you ask? Well, it is simply the standard as laid out in Jackson - "a reviewing court is required to defer to a jury’s credibility and weight determinations." No longer is there a factual sufficiency standard wherein the appellate court must view the evidence in a neutral light.What's more:
The dissent further points out that the "barely distinguishable" standard between the Clewis factual-sufficiency standard and the Jackson v. Virginia legal-sufficiency standard is that the former views the evidence in a "neutral" light, while the latter views the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict.That's a significant difference; it's hardly the case that it's "barely distinguishable." This was a plurality opinion (pdf), with Judge Cathy Cochran providing a concurrence (pdf) in addition to signing onto the majority opinion and Judge Womack - the swing vote - joining Cochran's concurrence. (Strangely, Womack is also listed as concurring with the dissent, but he's not listed among the judges signing onto the actual dissent.) Judge Price's dissent (pdf) argues that Brooks was an activist decision by the court that exceeded its authority:
as our opinion less than four years ago in Watson demonstrated, the authority to reverse a conviction on the basis of factual insufficiency has been recognized from the beginning to be inherent in the appellate jurisdiction of first-tier appellate courts in Texas. We cannot simply decide it need not be “retained” any longer absent a change in the constitutional and statutory provisions that confer that jurisdiction—or else a change in our own long-standing construction of those provisions.These issues had been decided in the past but the conservative wing of the court kept coming back for more bites at the apple. Price laments that: "only thing that arguably makes Clewis seem unworkable is this Court’s lamentable propensity to grant a State’s petition for discretionary review every three or four years to revisit the question whether it is unworkable. The arguments themselves are not new."
MORE: They're jumping for joy over at the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. Williamson County DA John Bradley suggests "Perhaps TDCAA could organize an honorary funeral" for the overturned case.