Features

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

 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.

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

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.

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

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.

April 2017 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Thursday, March 30th, 2017
Features
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
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.

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