Features

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.

December 2016 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Features
21 | DWI Jury Punishment - By John Gioffredi
25 | The Roles of Forensic Mental Health Experts in the Legal System: What Practitioners of Law May Need to Know - By M. K. Hamza
33 | Suppressing Evidence Obtained From Proactive Drug Interdiction Speeding Stop - By Robert Eutsler
The Long Hot Summer—Dilley Style
Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Careful observers of the criminal justice scene in my part of the world note that Federal prosecutors file and pursue a lot more conspiracy prosecutions than do their State court counterparts. Many assume, I believe, that this is because conspiracy prosecutions require special investigative talents found only in the Justice Department and the various Federal investigative agencies.

Avoiding the One-Eyed Expert and Handling the Others
Saturday, November 5th, 2016

In the early 1990s, when I was a law student, I worked on an appeal from the re-sentencing trial of a Travis County capital murder case, that of David Lee Powell.

Receipt of Incriminating Evidence and the Need for Protection
Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Texas criminal defense lawyers who have received physical evidence incriminating their clients are in an ethical no-man’s-land and vulnerable to prosecution. There is currently no clear ethical rule to guide the defense lawyer and no real protection from being used as a law enforcement tool against your own client.

Shout Outs
Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Kudos to Jim Huggler of Tyler on a big win in the CCA, gaining a reversal in the Walker v. State case.

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Like the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote, those who would watch child pornography and those who would prosecute them for doing so continue to try to outwit each other. In the real world, though, it is Mr. Coyote (the Government) who often prevails. Recently, I learned about the child pornographers’ use of The onion router (“Tor”) and the Government’s use of a Network Investigative Technique (“NIT”). United States v. Croghan, ___F.Supp.3d___, 2016 WL 4992105 (S.D. Iowa Sept. 19, 2016), and United States v.

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Metrology is the science of measurement. The State often relies upon measurements to prove allegations against our clients. For example, the determination of breath and blood alcohol concentrations in a DWI trial involve measurement. The weight of a controlled substance, and its identity, involves measurement. Other examples may include DNA and radar speed detection. Essentially, a forensic science implicating physics, chemistry, toxicology, engineering, psychology, or medicine may also implicate the science of measurement.

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