Features

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.

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

You better watch out!
You better not cry!
You better not pout!
I’m telling you why,
Santa Claus is coming to town!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, December is usually a slow month insofar as new clients coming through the door. In most years, I can’t wait for mid-January to roll around to get back in the flow. I typically view anything new that comes in from mid-December on as a gift.

December 2017 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Thursday, December 14th, 2017
Features
22 | Interpreting and Arguing the Scope of the Michael Morton Act: Defense Counsel Perspective on Scope of the Act - By Jason Niehaus & Sarah Pierce
27 | File Safe - By Chris Raesz
30 | Alibi as a Defense - By Jonathan Hyatt
32 | How Lubbock’s “Prairie Dog Lawyers” Seminar Got Its Name - By Chuck Lanehart
Private Investigators: How to Choose One, and How to Use One—Effectively
Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Attorney F. Lee Bailey began his career as an investigator. Undoubtedly, that experience helped him succeed in his more noteworthy vocation. Most lawyers realize the need for superior investigation.

Court Costs
Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

More than 50 years after Gideon v. Wainwright, Texas courts continue to subvert indigent defendants’ right to appointed counsel by imposing attorney’s fees post-conviction.

Statutory Changes Regarding Mentally Ill Defendants
Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Overview

In the following, I will review selected changes to Chapter 46B, Tex. Code Crim. Proc., as a result of SB 1326, signed by the governor on 6/12/2017 and effective on 9/1/2017.

Shout Outs
Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

A big shout out to Randy Schaffer of Houston, at whose behest the State Bar of Texas is pursuing disciplinary action against a former Harris County assistant district attorney—who allegedly struck deals with three jailhouse informants in exchange for testimony in a capital murder trial without notifying the defense.

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

For those of us who live and practice law in cities near interstate highways, it is common for us to represent clients who have been stopped by law enforcement officers while they were driving rental cars and transporting drugs. In each of these cases, we consider filing a motion to suppress the evidence discovered and seized by the officers. Often, there is an issue as to whether our clients have standing to challenge the search of their vehicles and the seizure of the drugs.

Gavel Icon
Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Last month six defendants litigated a group suppression hearing that raised the issue of a warrantless search of a constitutionally protected space. The warrantless search resulted in the police observing contraband in plain view. A search warrant was subsequently secured alleging that plain view contraband created probable cause to search the space. Below is a summary of our collective research. It may give defense lawyers a place to begin when challenging their own warrantless entry/search cases. Further, I cannot take full credit for this research.

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

It’s that time of year again. The beginning of holiday season. The time when family gatherings—whether dreaded or welcomed—become commonplace. The time of year when we get to see those relatives whom we haven’t seen or talked to since the year before. And let’s just go ahead and acknowledge it: We all have one—at least one—“crazy” relative. And as the joke goes, if you don’t know who that person is in your family, it’s probably you!

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

The following motions were voted on by the TCDLA Board at the September 9, 2016, Board meeting held in Fort Worth.

MOTION: Minutes, June 23, 2017
Motion to adopt the minutes from the TCDLA Annual Board Meeting in San Antonio on June 23, 2017, made by David Botsford, seconded by Michael Gross—motion carries.

MOTION: FY18 TCDLA Budget
Motion to approve the FY18 TCDLA Budget made by Russell Gunter, seconded by Roberto Balli—motion carries.

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