Features

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 However, that 11.073 exists is never an excuse for bad and/or outdated science to be presented in a courtroom.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.

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.

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