Let’s say a prosecutor has a hunch your client might have something in his cell that could be used against him in his upcoming trial. Maybe a weapon, or drugs, or perhaps a journal in which he has written something that might incriminate him, or at least make him look bad.
On February 24, 2017, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the judgment and sentence of the district court, holding that government agents may influence where a federal crime occurs, and that there is no such thing as manufactured venue or venue entrapment. United States v. Valenzuela, ___F.3d___, 2017 WL 727553 (1st Cir., February 24, 2017) [The Panel: Chief Judge Howard, Associate Justice Souter (retired, sitting by designation), and Circuit Judge Stahl (Opinion by Stahl)].
This is an article written by Jim Skelton in 1985 with some very good information for us all. Jim left this world March 8, 2017. Jim had been the Significant Decisions Editor for the Voice and a longtime participant in the TCDLA Huntsville Trial College. Jim helped many lawyers and helped me come up with the idea for the Ethics Committee and hotline to help lawyers. In Jim’s honor, this will be the Ethics article for this issue. (Note: Judge McKay, from East Texas, was a Harris County judge for many years.)
From my perspective the criminal law defense profession continues to be a man’s world. Based on 25 years of observation, the number of women defense lawyers at the county courthouse continues to be a minority. It should not be so, however. There should be more of them in our courtrooms fighting for the rights of the citizen accused.
I have now been the editor of The Voice for one year. What a privilege it has been, what an opportunity. I have been fortunate to work with regular prominent contributors like Buck Files, Stephen Gustitis, and Robert Pelton, and TCDLA’s behind-the-scenes man, Craig Hattersley. We have added a standing Fourth Amendment column, published more from experts, and have heralded in a new SDR author, Michael Mowla.
Special thanks to Rick Wardroup, course director for our Capital Defense CLE held in Dallas in February. Thanks to his help and our speakers we had 39 attendees.
Special thanks to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law (Houston) and the Earl Carl Institute (Houston) for allowing us to co-sponsor the 6th Annual Hon. Craig Washington and Senator Rodney Ellis Excellence in Indigent Defense Series CLE held at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston in February. Thanks to everyone’s help and assistance we had 113 attendees.
You all might remember my President’s Message from last November, in which I shared information with you about our legislative efforts related to pretrial release. Since then, both Senator John Whitmire and Representative Andrew Murr filed identical bills, and it is expected that they will be heard very soon in both chambers. In the past four months, as negotiations have taken place, the bill has morphed, sometimes favorably and sometimes not.
21 | The Time Has Come to Tear Down the Iron Curtain Between the Constitution and Texas Prisons: How to Challenge a Warrantless Jail Cell Search - By Mark Stevens
26 | Flowchart on DPS Surcharges - By Ted Wood
37 | Status Update: The Fourth Amendment Is Unlikely to Protect Social Media Footprints - By Katherine Devlin
As we all know, there are instances when driving that individuals in the State of Texas actually do not use their signals. This includes at a time when a person of common intelligence can see that a turn will occur—e.g., in a center turn lane, in turn-only lanes, at a “T” intersection, etc.
As one can imagine, many criminal cases involve events that occur after a person becomes intoxicated. This is especially true for cases involving sexual offenses. In these alcohol-fueled incidents, the issue of memory can play a large part in the case.
Michael Thorvald Laursen was 45 years of age and having a sexual relationship with J.B., who was only 16. Because the age of consent is 16 in the State of Washington, Laursen was not in violation of state law. On occasion, Laursen and J.B. would take sexually explicit “selfie” photographs. It never occurred to Laursen that this could cause him to be a defendant in a federal criminal case.
The following comments are from Ethics Committee member Brent Mayr in response to last month’s column, “Don’t Act Ugly”:
My two cents to add to an already valuable article:
If confirmed by the United States Senate, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch would fill the SCOTUS vacancy left by Antonin Scalia. During his 30 years on the Court, Justice Scalia moved the law dramatically favoring criminal defendants in several areas. One example was Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 158 L.Ed. 2d 177 (2004), which held that live witness testimony was constitutionally required in criminal trials for all “testimonial” out-of-court statements. Another was Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27, 121 S.Ct.