Features

Back to Basics: Attack SFSTs, Not the Officer
Friday, February 14th, 2020

In the heat of trial, all trial attorneys fight vigorously for their DWI clients. In that fight, it’s understandable that you want to destroy the officer, destroy the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), and vindicate your client.

A Practical Guide for Reviewing Evidence in DWI/DUI Cases
Friday, February 14th, 2020

When evaluating drug testing evidence in any case, there are two important questions for the judge and jury to address. The first question is, “Was the drug test does correctly?

Protecting Your Client’s Conduct While Admitting the Accuser’s
Friday, February 14th, 2020

In sexual offense cases—particularly those involving an alleged crime against a child—the defense is almost always playing on an uneven field. Special rules of admissibility of evidence favor the prosecution. At trial, the defense often faces a critical challenge of trying to keep out evidence of a client’s extraneous conduct.

Shout Outs header 2
Friday, February 14th, 2020

A big shout out to ALLISON CLAYTON of Lubbock, whose sleuthing on an appointed case resulted in the reversal of a conviction just before Christmas. It seems that D was charged with failure to register as a sex offender based off a 2002 conviction in Oklahoma—for assault with intent to commit a felony (based on an allegation D, then 19 years old, had slept with a 14-year-old).

Friday, February 14th, 2020
On November 22, 2019, United States Magistrate Judge Sunil R. Harjani of the Eastern Division of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered an order holding that compelling the defendant to place his fingers and thumbs on his iPhone home button in an attempt to unlock the phone would not be testimonial and, therefore, would not violate the defendant’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Friday, February 14th, 2020
I can still hear my mother telling my brother and me to BE CAREFUL every time we left our house. As lawyers and in daily life, those words are very important. The following recent case is an example of not being careful. It is not wise to talk about cases in elevators or in the hallway. Terry Gaiser and I had a recent case where we had told our client to be careful—and be quiet. In the hallway he was cursing the officers who arrested him, the judge, and the prosecutor. He thought only his family and our witnesses were hearing this.
Friday, February 14th, 2020

A new year. Another fresh start. It is hard to believe it’s already 2020—nearly incomprehensible really. Everything happens so fast and yet also uncomfortably slow at times. We operate daily in a profession of “hurry up and wait.” But it’s the New Year that often helps us refocus on what is important in our lives, both professionally and personally. We all have new resolutions and goals for our lives. So, too, do our clients. So, we may be getting the phone calls about sealing and expunging records—so our clients can have a real fresh start.

Friday, February 14th, 2020

There is always strength in numbers. The more individuals or organizations that you can rally to your cause, the better.

—Mark Shields

Friday, February 14th, 2020

As I put pen to paper, it is a cold January day. The saving grace is that I know in just a few days we will be sailing the ocean blue with so many of my favorite people in the universe on my TCDLA President’s Cruise! We will have great CLE, beautiful beaches, and incredible fun!

January/February 2020 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Friday, February 14th, 2020

Features
22 | Protecting Your Client’s Conduct While Admitting the Accuser’s: Texas Rules of Evidence 403, 404, 412, and 609 - By Grant Scheiner & Will R. Vaughn
28 | A Practical Guide for Reviewing Evidence in DWI/DUI Cases - By Sol Bobst

Small-Town Advice for the Big-City Lawyer
Thursday, December 12th, 2019

As a solo practitioner in Nacogdoches, I always enjoy seeing fellow criminal defense lawyers from out of town travel to the courthouse and defend the innocent accused (and occasionally a few guilty ones). It can also be quite entertaining to see how they handle practicing in a small town.

Voir Dire: Method Follows Model
Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Imagine you are repairing a car. How you perform the task depends on your understanding of how the car works. If you think internal combustion is powered by magic hamsters, you’re going to do the job differently than if you understand the suck-squeeze-bang-blow of a four-stroke engine.

Memories of a Christmas in Vietnam
Thursday, December 12th, 2019

After 44 months as a Marine and 158 weeks as a prosecutor for Smith County, I became a Texas criminal defense lawyer on September 15, 1970, at the age of 32. Three months later, Christmas was approaching and the Vietnam war was escalating. By the end of the year, there would be 184,314 American troops in country and 1,928 Americans would have died there.

Coercive Interrogation and the Vulnerable Population
Thursday, December 12th, 2019

[A] system of criminal law enforcement which comes to depend on the “confession” will, in the long run, be less reliable and more subject to abuses than a system which depends on extrinsic evidence independently secured through skillful investigation.” Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 488-89 (1964).

Shout Outs
Thursday, December 12th, 2019

A big shout out to appellate adept Keith Hampton for his win in the long-running case of Greg Kelley—finally found innocent in the CCA. All the judges agreed he was innocent, and left undisturbed Judge King’s findings and conclusions regarding Kelley’s other claims of ineffective assistance and due process. His case was sent back to Williamson County, where DA Shawn Dick had no plans to further pursue charges against him.

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

What is a court to do with an inmate who was sentenced to life without parole for an offense that was committed when he was 16 years old and is now seeking habeas relief? A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit answered that question on October 24, 2019, in United States v. Sparks, ___F.3d___, 2019 WL 5445897 (5th Cir. 2019) [Panel: Circuit Judges Elrod, Graves, and Oldham. (Opinion by Oldham)].

In Sparks, the Court held, as to the life without parole issue, that

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

All of you have heard the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and are familiar with its main character, Rudolph. Rudolph was created in 1939 by Robert May, an employee of Montgomery Ward. Although sources vary as to whether May created the story of Rudolph to promote sales at the Christmas season or to give as a gift to his young daughter to bring her comfort, May was doing his best to keep his job and comfort his child because Ms. May was dying of cancer.

Editor's Comment: First and Last - 1
Thursday, December 12th, 2019

As criminal defense lawyers, we are uniquely positioned.

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Join the next generation of Texas Defenders by applying to become a mentor or mentee through the Future Indigent Defense Leaders Program (FIDL). Together the Texas Indigent Task Force, Harris County Public Defenders Office, and TCDLA are starting their second year of the program.

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

I admit it—I am a summer person. I LOVE the sunshine and the warm weather. Then it gets close to Christmas and I quit complaining about the cold! What a great time of year—spending time with family and friends and celebrating (for me) the birth of Christ!

 I LOVE trying to find the perfect gift for those I love! Don’t you love receiving Christmas cards from people far and near showing their precious families?

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