Features

Attacking “False Evidence” and “Junk Science” in Wrongful Convictions
Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Preliminary Matters

Your convicted defendant may or may not have made an unsuccessful previous attempt to obtain post-conviction relief by way of an article 11.07 T.C.C.P. writ.

Shout Outs
Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Shout outs to TCDLA Director Frank Sellers and former Voice editor Greg Westfall for the big NG on some serious charges: Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, and Indecency with a Child. D, who had just started his job as a jailer in Dallas County, was accused of continuously having sexual contact with his then 6-year-old stepdaughter.

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are competing against each other in a turf battle and playing tug of war with our clients. DHS is tugging on one arm, seeking deportation. The Department of Justice is on the other arm, seeking prosecution. This is a fact situation we have seen recently in two cases: United States v. Boutin, ___F.Supp.3d___, 2017 WL 6611569 (E.D.N.Y. December 20, 2017) [Memorandum and Order, Chief United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry], and United States v.

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Stories are the vehicle through which criminal defense lawyers typically communicate with juries. Since the jury decides whether a defense case is persuasive or not, it must be built from their point of view. And since juries are people oriented, rather than law oriented, they use their feelings and emotions to make decisions more often than logic. That’s why the story is such an effective way to communicate with them. Juries determine how plausible a case is by placing the story next to their own ideas about how the world works.

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

As I write this column as editor of the Voice on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and following the latest racially charged comments from the president, it’s impossible not to think about voices and words. The ones that inspire us. The ones that outrage us. The ones that haunt us. The ones that torment us. The ones that help us. The ones that expose us. The ones that comfort us. The ones that save us. The ones that call us to action.

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Dear TCDLA Membership,

I have decided after 16 unforgettable outstanding years it is time for me to leave TCDLA as your executive director and begin the next phase in my life and enjoy retirement!

I express my sincere gratitude to David Moore, president, for his exceptional leadership over the last few years and more especially in this most recent eight months. Thanks to David, TCDLA is in the unique position of being one of the best, if not the best, state association for criminal defense lawyers in the nation.

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Robert Louis Stevenson’s family were all engineers. Both of his grandfathers, two of his uncles, and his father were all in the same profession. They were primarily known for lighthouse design. It was assumed that young Robert would follow in their footsteps.

January/February 2018 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Tuesday, February 6th, 2018
Features
24 | Attacking “False Evidence” and “Junk Science” in Wrongful Convictions - By Mike Ware
32 | Court-Funded Defense - By Scott Pawgan

Columns
6 | President's Message
9 | Executive Director's Perspective
10 | Editor's Comment
12 | Off the Back
Review of the Operations of State Counsel for Offenders
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

In December 2017, the State Bar of Texas’ Legal Services to the Poor in Criminal Matters Committee (LSPCM) published its Review of the Operations of State Counsel for Offenders. TCDLA’s 2014 resolution on SCFO served as an impetus for the research, along with a request from TCDLA’s Corrections and Parole Committee for LSPCM to

The Importance of the Presumption of Innocence
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Although Sam had been taken into custody well before noon, it was after six o’clock by the time his wife, Muriel, arrived at my office with Sam’s dad.

The State of Public Opinion vs. Public Defender
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

When one reads about public defender offices, topics tend to center around the problems that public defenders face. There are articles dedicated to the lack of appropriate funding, the often times unmanageable caseloads, and being short staffed. There are even pieces on public defender offices being disciplined for neglecting clients.

How Lubbock’s “Prairie Dog Lawyers” Seminar Got Its Name
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Your Honors, this case was tried before the Honorable James N. Browning, Judge of the 47th Judicial District, but that is not the only reason it should be reversed.

Alibi as a Defense
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, alibi is “a defense based on the physical impossibility of a defendant’s guilt by placing the defendant in a location other than the scene of the crime at the relevant time” and “the quality, state, or condition of having been elsewhere when an offense was committed.” Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).

File Safe
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

We, as defense attorneys, are quickly becoming inundated with data. The purpose of this article is to proffer some form of potential solution to the problem created by an increase in material we, presumably, are obligated to personally review.

Interpreting and Arguing the Scope of the Michael Morton Act: Defense Counsel Perspective on Scope of the Act
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

The Michael Morton Act was passed after its namesake was released from jail after serving nearly 25 years for a crime he did not commit.

Shout Outs
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

A big shout out to Facebook fave Casie Gotro for the recent mistrial declared in her Waco Twin Peaks case, following yet another release of discovery evidence not previously tendered—from both the city of Waco and the DPS. The jury in the case was deadlocked after more than 14 hours deliberating (according to a courthouse source, no more than six jurors favored a guilty verdict).

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

When I go to the doctor, I expect to get answers to my questions. What’s wrong with me? What do you need to do to make me feel better? How long will that take?

Ethics and the Law Dec17-1
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Another recent tragic event at the Harris County Jail makes it very clear the severity of mental illness. A defendant who was set to plead to life without parole hung himself with bed sheets. Where were the guards? What happened to this poor soul who chose death over prison? What happened to the family he left? What happened to the family that was set to confront him in court in the witness impact statements?

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

In this season of anticipation, the prominence of the “hurry up and wait” factor is ever-present and undeniable. It always exists in our profession—waiting on clients, waiting to get paid, waiting on judges, waiting on juries—and never seems to end. And the irony of all the waiting is that we are expected to be present, ready, and on time, every time. Consistently showing up ready, unafraid, and on time is half the battle of our profession.

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

As the holiday season approaches, we give thanks to our TCDLA members for their support over the past year. We know we are a stronger association because of you. We hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.

Special thanks to our course directors, Gary Trichter (Bandera), Bobby Barrera (San Antonio), and Michael Gross (San Antonio), for the 13th Annual DWI seminar held at the historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio. Thanks to their efforts we had 109 attendees.

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