Features

Traffic Stops Without a Left Turn Signal
Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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.

“Pass Out” vs. “Blackout”: How Alcohol Can Affect Memory (And Why It Matters)
Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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.

Can the Ails of the Cross-Race Effect on Eyewitness Testimony Be Cured?
Thursday, March 9th, 2017

In 1984, a man broke into Jennifer Thomson’s home, where he raped her (“The Story of Ronald Cotton,” retrieved from www.innocenceproject.org/cases/ronald-cotton/). At trial, Thompson reported having made considerable effort to memorize her attacker’s face.

Shout Outs
Thursday, March 9th, 2017

A shout out to Cory Roth of Houston for his recent success in an extremely convoluted case (assault family violence). D, a 57-year-old Navy vet who accumulated some wealth and property, was accused by the half-sister of one of his kids.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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:

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

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.

Editor's Comment: Science Is Golden-1
Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Law lags science. Forensic sciences are a regular and reoccurring part of criminal cases. Jurors overwhelmingly tend to give scientific evidence more weight than other evidence presented in court. Our system is about seeking justice and finding the truth. With the passage of Article 11.073 back in 2013, our legislature recognized this, too. However, that 11.073 exists is never an excuse for bad and/or outdated science to be presented in a courtroom.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Special thanks to our course directors, Clay Steadman (Kerrville) and Paul Tu (Houston), for the Beating the Drum for Justice Seminar held in Sugarland in January. Thanks to them and our speakers, we had 40 attendees.

Special thanks to our course directors, Scott Edgett (Plano) and John Hunter Smith (Sherman), for the Beating the Drum for Justice Seminar held in McKinney in January. Thanks to them and our speakers we had 42 attendees.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Ahoy, friends! We just returned from the TCDLA President’s Retreat and had a great time. The 7-day cruise took us to Mexico, the Grand Caymans, and Jamaica. It was a good opportunity for rest and relaxation, combined with high-quality CLE presentations, fellowship, and friendship. And we had a nice turnout—more than 60 TCDLA members and their families joined us on the Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston. Members spent time together on a beautiful beach in Jamaica and at a delicious steak dinner aboard ship.

March 2017 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Thursday, March 9th, 2017
Features
22 | If You’re Going to Rusty Duncan... What you’re going to need to know before heading out to Rusty this year
25 | Can the Ails of the Cross-Race Effect on Eyewitness Testimony Be Cured? - By Kristin R. Brown
Look Here: 4th Amendment Musings - Jan2017
Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Our ever-growing digital society has made non-reliance on technology almost impossible. There is an application that applies to every facet of life. With one swipe, a person can access millions of photos, bank information, years of dialogue, and so much more.

The 10,000-Year Capital Case
Thursday, January 26th, 2017

I met the late Clarence Williams in 1972, when we were both involved as court-appointed lawyers for a defendant who was charged with the murder of a police officer.

Who Killed These Girls? Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders
Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Who Killed These Girls? is a true story about Austin criminal defense lawyers fighting to save three defendants—Robert Springsteen Jr., Michael Scott, and Maurice Pierce—from death sentences resulting from false confessions.

Lawyers Look Out: Judge May Not Pay for Your Work
Thursday, January 26th, 2017

If you take court-appointed cases, you know how to turn in a voucher requesting funds for your work. How often do you feel the pay you receive is adequate compensation for your work?

A Thorn in the Side of Forensic DNA: Complex Mixtures
Thursday, January 26th, 2017

The consultants are discussing your case. They are vigorously proclaiming how the case falls short, and you are feeling like a sure win is in the bag. Then you ask them how should we go at them in trial. It’s then that you hear things in a deflated tone like, “Well, what they did isn’t wrong, just not how I would have done it.” What happened to the fervor?

Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: The PCAST Report
Thursday, January 26th, 2017

In 2015 President Obama tasked his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST with the job of reviewing the forensic sciences, and determining if there were areas that could be improved. In October of this year they released their report—which has surprisingly generated little press.

Shout Outs
Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Kudos to Lubbock’s David Guinn on a big win in the toughest of cases. Defendant, who became U.S. citizen in 2013, faced dual charges of Super Agg Sexual Assault of Child < 6 and Agg Sexual Assault of a Child > 6.

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