Features

The “Business Duty” Rule for Business and Public Records
Friday, March 9th, 2018

The prosecution often seeks to introduce business records at trial to prove relevant evidentiary points contained within those records. Often times, whether in state or federal court, the prosecution will attach a business records affidavit to the exhibit to overcome any hearsay objection.

Not Guilty v. Cerberus: Winning Intoxicated Manslaughter Trials
Friday, March 9th, 2018

“Ma’am, we regret to inform you, but your son was killed by a drunk driver.”

“Ma’am, we regret to inform you, but your son has been arrested for killing someone while driving intoxicated.”

Shout Outs
Friday, March 9th, 2018

Kudos to TCDLA Director Keith Hampton for his big save in front of the parole board. For the first time since 2007, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to recommend a lesser sentence for a death row inmate. The board voted unanimously in favor of clemency for Thomas Bartlett Whitaker, halting a scheduled execution. Gov. Greg Abbott then approved the recommendation, the first such approval after 30 denied.

Friday, March 9th, 2018

It must be such an irritation for a judge to have folks wander into the courtroom when the lawyers are conducting their voir dire examinations of the jury panel. In response to this irritation, some judges began to close their courtrooms during the voir dire—even in the trials of criminal cases. Then the Supreme Court held that a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a public trial was violated when the trial court excluded the public from the voir dire examination of prospective jurors—and courtrooms began to remain open. Presley v. Georgia, 130 S.Ct.

Ethics and the Law Mar18-1
Friday, March 9th, 2018

To ethically represent an accused citizen, you must be sure they know the consequences of a plea or finding of guilt. Judge Herb Ritchie, formerly a partner in the law firm of Ritchie and Glass, recently was a guest speaker at the Wednesday Appellate Update class in Houston. Greg Glass shared some of the forms and agreements used by the law firm. They are included in this article. In the law practice these days it is very important to correspond in person, by phone, by letter, or in a jail visit. Failure to communicate is one of the leading causes of a grievance.

Friday, March 9th, 2018

The best part of your story is when it changes.
—Bella Bloom

As I reflect on the last 13 years, I want to thank Joseph Martinez for sharing his wealth of knowledge and allowing me to gain all the experience that has prepared me for this moment. I have some very large shoes to fill, but thanks to Joseph’s guidance—as well as our leadership, members, and staff—the transition will be smooth.

President's Message: Remembering the Lawyers at the Alamo
Friday, March 9th, 2018

I can still remember my first trip as a child to the Alamo. I was probably five years old, a tow-headed, crewcut kid, and it didn’t matter to me if it was broiling that summer day in San Antonio. My coonskin cap was not coming off my head regardless of my level of dehydration as the beads of perspiration rolled down my face.

March 2018 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Friday, March 9th, 2018
Features
23 | Not Guilty v. Cerberus: Winning Intoxicated Manslaughter Trials - By Mark Thiessen
29 | The “Business Duty” Rule for Business and Public Records - By Clint Broden

Columns
6 | President's Message
10 | Interim Executive Director's Perspective
12 | Ethics and the Law
Court-Funded Defense
Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Introduction

You have a client charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. There is DNA evidence, a SANE nurse exam, and a forensic interview of the child at the child assessment center.

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.

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