Features

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

The world of defending a criminal case used to be simpler. As I look around my office at lawyers who have practiced in excess of 50 years, I realize how much the landscape has changed in just a generation or two. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the increasing number of civil proceedings that accompany even a misdemeanor criminal case today. What is relatively new as well is the new landscape on college campuses of Title IX requirements in cases where sexual misconduct is alleged.

April 2016 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Saturday, April 9th, 2016
Features
21 | The 40th Annual Texas Criminal Trial College
25 | Between a Reversal at the Court of Appeals and Discretionary Review: What Are Appointed Counsel’s Duties? - By John Bennett
29 | Successfully Suppressing a Search Warrant in Federal Court - By Mary Beth Harrell
A Lesson in Double Jeopardy
Saturday, March 12th, 2016

The first felony jury trial I participated in was what was then called a robbery by assault with a firearm. I had been licensed to practice for almost exactly one year, and had gone to Judge Archie Brown, one of two felony judges in the county at that time, and asked to be appointed to some cases that were going to trial to gain experience.

If All You Got Is Reasonable Doubt to Rely On, You’re Screwed
Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Michael Morton is probably the most well-known example, at least in Texas, of an innocent person spending decades in prison for a crime he did not commit. As we all know, in that case, there was a significant amount of prosecutorial misconduct—i.e., hiding favorable evidence—that led to the wrongful conviction.

Procedural Choke Points in 46B Competency Issues
Saturday, March 12th, 2016

In this brief article, I am going to focus quickly upon some fundamentals as may appertain to the issue of raising the issue of competency in criminal matters, interweaving special problems, or choke points in the process, of which there are a finite number, but at least ten.

Said & Done New
Saturday, March 12th, 2016
Saturday, March 12th, 2016

On January 29, 2016, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that as matter of first impression, where officers have summoned a defendant to the door of his house, they may not effect a warrantless “across the threshold” arrest in the absence of exigent circumstances; and, that a warrantless “across the threshold” arrest of a defendant, who was summoned to door of his home for such purpose, violated the Fourth Amendment. United States v. Allen, ___ F.3d ___, 2016 WL 362570 (2016).

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

In Brazos County the Department of Public Safety has been using sleight-of-hand to prove up blood test results in ALR failure cases. Their conjuring attempts to correct an evidentiary deficiency in their blood test proof. Specifically, the Department tries to argue these blood test failures resulted from the suspect’s “express consent” to provide a blood sample, rather than “implied consent” under Chapter 724 of the Texas Transportation Code.

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Acknowledgments to lawyers and law students who shall remain nameless . . .

Tiptoe through the window
By the window, that is where I’ll be
Come tiptoe through the tulips with me...

Editor's Comment: The New Sheriff-1
Saturday, March 12th, 2016

It is quite a humbling honor and responsibility to serve as your new editor. I am thankful to the leadership for allowing me this opportunity to continue to serve TCDLA in a new way. Many thanks to Michael Gross for his tireless service to TCDLA as editor for the past 2½ years and guidance to me as I step into this new role. His are indeed large shoes to fill. It also cannot be said often enough how fortunate we are to have the staff that we do working for us.

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Special thanks to Dan Hurley (Lubbock), Stan Schneider (Houston), and John Convery (San Antonio), course directors for our TCDLA Federal Law CLE held in New Orleans in February. During the event, Past President Scrappy Holmes (Longview) was crowned TCDLA Dean Emeritus, accompanied by a New Orleans Jazz Band. Thanks to everyone’s help we had 68 attendees and a fun time in New Orleans.

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

 I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book—David and Goliath. Most of us are familiar with the Old Testament story of the shepherd who slays the Philistine giant who was physically imposing, coated with armor and equipped with the best weapons of the time. How did David win? Simple—David was prepared for a different fight than Goliath. Goliath expected hand-to-hand combat while David came with a stone and a sling.

March 2016 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Saturday, March 12th, 2016
Features
25 | Procedural Choke Points in 46B Competency Issues - By Floyd L. Jennings
33 | "If All You Got Is Reasonable Doubt to Rely On, You’re Screwed" - By Susan Schoon
37 | A Lesson in Double Jeopardy - By Judge Wayne Patrick Priest

Columns
7 | President's Message
Do Not Mess With Papa’s Daughter
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

As the father of a young family, in the early years of my practice, I did not have a lot of time to devote to pro bono work. A sole practitioner with relatively short roots in the community (five years, when I began my practice, nearly four of which were spent in night law school) has to keep the nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel.

The Michael Morton Act’s Undiscovered Country
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Remember those relics of a cat-and-mouse system of revelation? Today’s young lawyers and prosecutors and future judges will never have known it.

Said & Done New
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Kudos

Kudos to TCDLA members recently certified in criminal law by the Board of Legal Specialization: Jonathan Hyatt (Longview), Justin Nimz (Wichita Falls), Richard Oliver (Houston), and Jed Silverman (Houston). Congratulations, fellow warriors.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

A prosecutor who is overly aggressive can introduce error into the trial of a case. A defense lawyer who sits on his hands and does not object can limit the appellate court’s consideration of an issue to a plain error standard. A trial judge who considers testimony im­properly adduced by an aggressive prosecutor in determining what sentence to impose can make the case difficult for an appellate court to affirm. That is the conduct of the district judge and the two lawyers in United States v. Moreno, ___F.3d___, 2016 WL 53796 (3rd Cir. 2016).

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

I’ve been remiss. Like my fellow defense attorneys, I habitually keep my head buried in court appearances, case law and statutes, cross-examination preparation, closing arguments, and customer service. I’ve been remiss because the daily grind has so easily diverted me from reflecting on a deeper meaning in this work. Namely, safeguarding the great American experiment. We protect individual liberty and freedom. Values our founding fathers determined were most vital to a free society.

Ethics and the Law: Don’t Take Your Guns to Town-1
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

If Wild Bill Hickok were walking down the streets of Houston or Abilene or any other place in Texas with his guns today, he would probably be approached by the police and arrested. Wild Bill has a concealed handgun license, but Wild Bill doesn’t carry his pistols in a holster; he carries them stuck in a sash wrapped around his waist. Too bad he didn’t understand the nuances of the new open carry law. But then, who does?

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