On August 12, 2014, I underwent open heart surgery at East Texas Medical Center Hospital in Tyler in order to relieve the 95 percent blockage in my widow maker and the significant blockage in two of my other coronary arteries. During my first conversation with my surgeon after I left the intensive care unit, I heard him say: “You were a ticking time bomb.
Like more than a few of my court-appointed felony clients, Julius was angry, offensive, demanding, and adamantly refused any plea deal. He was 43 years old but looked 60, African-American, unemployed, short, stocky, dark-skinned with very short black hair. Julius was a career felon who was bad at his job.
This “right to present a defense” is a broad right that can allow you to present important, helpful material or exculpatory evidence to the jury when other more specific rules, like the hearsay rule or other state evidentiary laws, would seem to prevent you from presenting such evidence.
Perhaps it is because La Cosa Nostra cases have never been prosecuted in the Tyler division of the Eastern District of Texas that I usually enjoy reading the opinions in LCN cases, both as to the facts and the legal issues. And, I was not disappointed in my reading of U.S. v. Messina, __ F.3d ___, 2015 WL 7005546 (2nd Cir. 2015) [Panel: Circuit Judges Calabresi, Cabranes, and Raggi (Opinion by Raggi)].
In a contested bond revocation hearing, not long ago, the State attempted to admit evidence our client violated a restricted zone using global positioning system (GPS) evidence. They further sought to admit evidence from a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) device that she inappropriately consumed alcohol while on bond.
All of you have heard the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and are familiar with its main character, Rudolph. Rudolph was created in 1939 by Robert May, an employee of Montgomery Ward. Although sources vary as to whether May created the story of Rudolph to promote sales at the Christmas season, or to give as a gift to his young daughter to bring her comfort, May was doing his best to keep his job and comfort his child because Ms. May was dying of cancer.
We hope all of our members and Voice recipients had a wonderful Holiday Season. We look forward to a very prosperous New Year.
Thanks to our course director, Rick Wardroup (Lubbock), for the CDLP Capital Litigation/Mental Health CLE in South Padre Island in November. Thanks to everyone’s help we had 77 attendees.
Thanks to our course directors, Tim James (Nacogdoches) and Jani Maselli (Houston), for the Upholding Justice One Client at a Time held in Nacogdoches in November. Thanks to everyone’s help we had 30 attendees.
One challenge of life is to grapple with the reality that your time on Earth will pass, sooner or later. As the saying goes, “None of us are getting out of here alive!” In the context of our professional lives, this is also true even if we go on to other things after we leave the practice of law.
The first case I ever handled in which a stranger actually paid me money to represent him was a criminal case in which the charge against the client was seduction.
No, it was not 1668, it was 1968. Seduction was an offense in the state of Texas until 1973, when we adopted what I still think of as the “new” penal code.
The right to a speedy trial is a constitutionally guaranteed right that is so accepted and recognized that many courts easily force or grant dismissals in cases almost automatically under certain circumstances. For example, in Bexar County there is a tradition that a second State’s continuance will automatically be denied.
The sweet acrid smell of a freshly lit cigarette danced inside his nostrils, seeping into his unconscious brain, waking him. His eyelids twitched and tremored, but did not open. It was an auto somatic response; like a mother drawn to her crying babe. Not something sought out. It was more a keening allure; an impulse impossible to ignore. Vices. Lovely reliable vices.
Sometimes words don’t mean what they should. Consider, for example, the words “border search.” Where would a border search be conducted? At the border. Wrong. If you go to WestLaw’s ALLFEDS database and type in the query “international airport” & “border search,” you will see that there have been 337 cases that arose out of border searches conducted at international airports.
When I was prosecuting habitually barking dog cases on a 3rd-year bar card, I wondered when my fear of jury trials would ever end. That was 1989. To this day I remain uneasy and agitated the morning a trial begins. In fact, I’m miserable. Until I speak my first words during voir dire, I’m frightened. I fear the beginning of my opening statement. I fear an imminent cross-examination for which I am properly prepared. I fear the start of a closing argument. I fear receiving a verdict. For the most part, I fear every aspect of a trial.
November 11, 1918, marked the end of World War I. History books tell us that the bells rang and the “war to end all wars” ended. No veterans of that war are living today, and there are very few civilians who were alive on the 11th month of the 11th day at the 11th hour of 1918. In 1938, legislation was passed in the United States declaring November 11 to be “Armistice Day,” set aside to honor those who served in World War I. Since 1954, November 11th is known as Veterans Day.
In less than 50 days TCDLA and CDLP have put on and/or co-sponsored nine quality CLE seminars. This would not be possible without the support of the course directors and speakers who donate their time to training lawyers across the state.
TCDLA was created by our founding mothers and fathers to do three specific activities: 1) lobby before the Texas Legislature, 2) write legal publications, and 3) put on quality continuing legal education. TCDLA is now in its 44th year. Thanks to our members whose generous support makes all of this possible.
As criminal defense lawyers, we find ourselves in the midst of tragedies of life that redefine families, futures, and perspectives. How we learn to handle the emotions and practical effects of this aspect of our work can make all the difference in our effectiveness, our happiness, and our contribution to those we represent.
20 | Fear and Loathing in South Texas: If Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Got a DWI in Texas in 2015 - By Mark Thiessen and Rick Oliver
30 | The Right to a Speedy Trial: Punishing the System for Making Us Wait - Article & Motion by Joseph Hoelscher II
37 | The Case of Seduction - By Judge Wayne Patrick Priest