The case number under the consideration in the Texas Court (Harris County) was PD-0436-05. It is necessary to trace the progress and the real causes of the case, to understand the reason of it being submitted to the Supreme Court and to analyze if there were any mistakes performed legally by the preceding courts. The case started in 2002, when the grand jury of Harris County returned an indictment, and charging the defendant with the felony, which had been committed under the paragraphs 31.03(a) and 31.09 of the Texas Penalty Code. In 2003, August, the defendant (already being an appellant, as it will go further) appeared in trial for the plea of being non-guilty, and having presented eight witnesses. The State was able to establish, that through the period of 1997-2000, the appellant was working as a bookkeeper in a private residential community for mentally disordered children, called Hope Village. Among the duties which the appellant had at work was the responsibility for the finances together with the payroll. During the notified period, and using the opportunities which the appellant had due to her obligations, she had substantially raised her own salary without superior notification and permission, the numerous additional paychecks were found besides those which she was regularly receiving; she was also able to reimburse the expenditures which had never been made. The deductions for the health insurance and federal taxes were also improper. The total sum of damage for the Hope Village was about $50,000. The appellant was resisting to admitting her guilt, but failed to explain the bigger portion of evidence against her. The jury found the appellant guilty and assessed her punishment in nine years imprisonment and $2,500 fine. The appellant was sure that the Fourteenth Amendment had been violated through sustaining, which was conducted by the district criminal court in relation to the State's objection of the innocence presumption.
The Court of Appeals was in agreement with the appellant in terms of presumption of innocence used, but it found this error to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. It is stated, that 'any harm from the trial's error with regard to the presumption of innocence would have been lessened, if not altogether erased, both by the jury charge and by the presumption that the jury followed the instructions in the jury charge. Taking into account both the evidence presented and the fact that the jury had already been charged as to the presumption of innocence, we can say beyond a reasonable doubt that the error committed by the trial court did not contribute to the appellant's conviction.'
The appellant, on the other hand viewed the errors of the court of appeals in the following ways:
1. The error which the district court committed should not have been considered as harmless error, but was better related to the so-called 'structural defect';
2. The fact that the error was admitted to be harmless beyond reasonable limits was also erroneous for the fact that it had caused the jury not to suppose the appellant to be innocent anymore;
3. The court of appeals also failed to use the so-called 'totality of circumstances'.
The discussion of the utilized notions and the similar cases of use
Totality of circums