Features

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.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Last June, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a non-citizen defendant could not establish prejudice resulting from his lawyer’s deficient performance in advising him that he would not be subject to deportation if he pleaded guilty to a drug offense and affirmed the district court’s denial of Lee’s § 2255 motion to vacate his conviction and sentence. Lee v. United States, 825 F.3d 311 (6th Cir. 2016) [Circuit Judges Norris, Batchelder and Sutton (Opinion by Batchelder)]. See also Lee v.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Over the past 10 years many Houston lawyers have become friends with several homeless people who hang around the courthouse. One recently died and several lawyers helped provide shelter, food, and medical care for “Rick.” Rick always had a positive attitude and was upbeat and would tell all the accused citizens standing in line to get in the building “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” or “I Love You” to all the women, lawyers, and citizens. He was like a street preacher trying to spread some cheer around a depressing building.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Last month we introduced the toxicological aspects of cross-examining the retrograde extrapolation expert in DWI trials. Now, an understanding of toxicology will promote our error preservation before the State’s expert attempts to bamboozle the jury with opinions about the client’s driving time BAC.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The holidays are over. All has returned to normal. Almost. There is a new presence and a new voice in the heart of many homes. An instantly recognizable, mundanely pleasant voice that responds to anything and seemingly knows everything. A voice that is always listening. Alexa.

Indeed, Alexa’s presence inside our homes is growing: Many of us may have given, or received, the Echo or Echo Dot (the physical embodiment of Alexa) this Christmas, and Amazon lists the Echo as one of the best-selling products of the holiday season.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The 85th Texas Legislature has started. Our legislative team is monitoring, testifying, and advocating for TCDLA members at the Capital. If you are a member, you are automatically enrolled in our Legislative Listserve. The legislative team: Andrea Keilen, Allen Place, David Gonzalez, Shea Place, Bill Harris, Mark Daniel, Susan Kelly, and Bobby Mims will be posting periodically to keep you informed of TCDLA’s position and activities. The listserve is for informational purposes only and cannot receive responses.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Well, it is official! The legislative session began on January 10, and there is already a flurry of activity in the Capitol as hundreds of bills have already been filed. As you know, TCDLA invests significant time, energy, and staff in legislative efforts. TCDLA pursues reform to criminal justice issues to ensure that our clients are protected from efforts to diminish their constitutional and statutory rights.

January/February 2017 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
Features
27 | Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: The PCAST Report - By Walter Reaves
31 | A Thorn in the Side of Forensic DNA: Complex Mixtures - By Lydia McCoy
33 | Lawyers Look Out: Judge May Not Pay for Your Work - By Drew Willey
Look Here: 4th Amendment Musings - Dec2016
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Increasingly, police are using the “imminent destruction of evidence” justification for warrantless entry into residences in drug cases.1 At the outset, it is important to remember that in order to rely on this exception, the police first must have probable cause—no PC, no exception.2 If probable cause exists

Suppressing Evidence Obtained From Proactive Drug  Interdiction Speeding Stops
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

On November 4, 2016, the government timely filed a Petition for Discretionary Review in Ramirez-Tamayo v. State, No. 07-15-00419-CR, 2016 WL 5874327 (Tex. App.—Amarillo, October 5, 2016, pet. filed), a 2–1 decision.

The Roles of Forensic Mental Health Experts  in the Legal System: What Practitioners  of Law May Need to Know
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Abstract

Forensic mental health is the crossroads that lies between the criminal justice system and the science of mental health.

DWI Jury Punishment
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Overview

This article is primarily about jury punishment for DWI first offense misdemeanors. Some of the information applies to other jury punishment situations as well, but please keep the scope of this material in mind as you consider these suggestions and strategies.

Shout Outs
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Kudos, congratulations, and plaudits to Mike Ware, Gary Udashen, Walter Reaves, Casie Gotro, and Keith Hampton, as the Court of Criminal Appeals declared their clients, the San Antonio 4, actually innocent.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Robert M. Parker was a great federal judge. Before he served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, he sat in Tyler as the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. He could make any appearance before him interesting, challenging—and even fun. One year, he spoke on the topic of “Departures” at the Advanced Criminal Law Course of the State Bar of Texas. His thesis was simple: Defense lawyers win few jury trials.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Prosecutors like to use it. Occasionally, we may like it, too. Retrograde extrapolation is the method by which one estimates a person’s BAC at the time of driving based upon a chemical test result later in time. Swedish physician Erik M. P. Widmark first calculated absorption and elimination rates of alcohol in the body.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

It’s an understatement to say that a lot has happened in the last month. There’s been a lot to absorb no matter your walk in life. A tremendous Fall Classic and a jaw-dropping presidential election. History has been made, but to call either event groundbreaking doesn’t come close to estimating their impacts or importance in the world of sports and around the world. Whatever the allegiance—whether Cub or Indian, Trump or Clinton—people have been instantly divided. Either a new dawn is breaking or the sun is setting.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

As of November 1, 2016, I have had the privilege and honor to serve the membership of TCDLA for 15 years. In that time I have spoken and written of the TCDLA family. I have come to a profound understanding of what that meant in the last four months.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

While writing this, it struck me that the holidays are upon us. Neighborhoods are starting to sparkle with green and red lights. Christmas music is playing everywhere. I always find that the end of a year is a good time to reflect on the past year, both personally and professionally, the good and the bad, the joyous and the heartbreaking. I recognize the things that I am grateful for, and know that I am blessed with much more than anyone deserves.

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