Features

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Voice for the Defense Volume 48, No. 4 Edition

Editor: Michael Mowla

From Editor Michael Mowla:

        1. I summarize each opinion in a manner that allows readers to generally use this SDR instead of reading every opinion.

        2. If you determine that a summarized opinion is relevant to one of your cases, I urge you to read the opinion and not rely solely upon these summaries.

Where in Hell Did J. Ray Go? A War Story
Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Now, in talking with the older lawyers around the courthouse, you hear a lot of tales from the old days at the Carroll Courts Building. But those are really not the old days at all. The “old days” are those in the storied old courthouse on the square, what my contemporaries call “the Court House” as opposed to the Carroll Court House or New Courthouse.

The Right to a Speedy Trial
Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Recently, some fellow defense counsels and I discussed how the case law regarding the right to a speedy trial applied to our cases. In our speedy trial motions, we have cited cases regarding post-accusation delay of 8 months or longer having been found to be “presumptively prejudicial.” Clarke v. State, 928 S.W.2d 709, 713 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996).

Representing the Mentally Ill on the Road to Recovery and Victory
Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Why must we learn mental illness? Because we represent the citizen (and non-citizen) accused of crime. Consequently, we often represent the mentally ill, the addicted, the intellectually disabled, and the mentally impaired. Statistics show a supermajority of our clients have never finished high school, for whatever reason.

Shout Outs
Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Kudos to the dynamic duo of John Hunter Smith and Thomas Wynne of Sherman for their recent wins. TCLDA Secretary John Hunter and Thomas represented a mother charged with Assault Causing Bodily Injury–Family/Household (Impeding Breath) of her 17-year-old daughter in the 336th District Court in Fannin County. After 4½ days of trial, the jury returned a Not Guilty verdict.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

In the olde days, I believed that taking a common sense and fair play approach to any criminal law issue would give you the correct answer. Then, I realized that this did not always work.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Who among us has been interrogated by their 4-year-old child or grandchild about what lawyers do? Unfortunately, we do not make our living playing Pet Bingo, Llama Spit Spit, or Toca Kitchen on a tablet. For most of us, at the end of the day, all of our time is spent TALKING, and our currency is information: Whether it be privileged, non-privileged, helpful, or harmful, we process A LOT of it. Gone are the days of Atticus Finch and Perry Mason. Simple letters couriered by the mailman and telephone calls from a land line and consultations only in the office are dead.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

As criminal defense lawyers, we all talk about the presumption of innocence. We hear judges talk about the presumption of innocence. We explain it to juries. It appears in every jury charge. We all agree with it, and in large part, our jury panels do, too. They nod along in silent agreement when we talk about the presumption of innocence and answer affirmatively when asked whether they can apply it to the case at hand. But, are they really understanding and applying it or are they just going along to get along, so to speak?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and, most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

—Pele

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

It is hard to believe that the time has come to write my last TCDLA President’s message. I would say it is also a little bit sad to be writing this last message, but I am guessing that would only apply to me and not to the good folks who have had to read these columns for the last year. Those of you who know me and have read these columns know that I try not to take myself too seriously. I try to live by the philosophy I stole from Willie Nelson—if the sun don’t come up tomorrow, roll over and turn on the light.

May 2019 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
Features
20 | Pictures From the 43rd Annual Tim Evans Texas Criminal Trial College - By Keri Steen
24 | Representing the Mentally Ill on the Road to Recovery and Victory - By Micah Belden
28 | The Right to a Speedy Trial - By Michael Gross
What Do You Mean the  Courthouse Is in the Wrong Place? A War Story
Thursday, March 28th, 2019

One of the most ingenious, albeit unsuccessful, collateral attacks upon a capital murder indictment occurred in Denton County in 1980.

Get Involved in TCDLA’s Declaration Readings
Thursday, March 28th, 2019

July 3 marks the date this year TCDLA members will appear at courthouses across the Lone Star State to recite the Declaration of Independence. The traditional presentations have become TCDLA’s biggest public relations effort.

Enlisting With a Juvenile Record: A Texas Roadmap
Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Texas Law

The general rule in Texas is that a child’s record is confidential and may not be shared or inspected unless specifically authorized by law.

Shout Outs
Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Dan Carney of Weatherford sends a big shout out to former TCDLA president Mark Daniel of Fort Worth: “Mark accepted appointment to represent a mother accused in the murder of her own child. The indictment charged her with two counts of Capital Murder and one of SBI Injury to Child by striking her child against a hard surface.

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

As we used to say in the Marine Corps: “Listen up. This is the word.” Ignore it at your own peril!

In every case, state or federal, a lawyer representing a defendant in a criminal case is required to give notice of appeal if the client requests it—even if the court has followed a plea recommendation and the defendant has signed a waiver of appeal.

[Background]

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Trying to love two women is like a ball and chain.
Trying to love two women is like a ball and chain.
Sometimes the pleasure ain’t worth the strain.
It’s a long old grind and it tires your mind.

                                —“Trying to Love Two Women,” Sonny Throckmorton

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