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
We have been privileged to have many authors take part as continuing contributors to Voice for the Defense. Buck Files has done yeoman’s work with his “Federal Corner,” Kathleen Nacozy and Tim Crooks have been steadfast with their “Significant Decisions Report,” and Stephen Gustitis has been wonderful with his “Off the Back” articles.
Recently, I had a Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child case in County A, Texas, which was outside of my home base in Austin, Texas. In the first of the “Sexual Abuse” allegations (as defined by Tex. Penal Code Ann. §21.02) in the indictment, (Exhibit A), it was undisputed that the alleged act was for an offense that occurred wholly in County B.
President Sam Bassett extends special thanks to Robb Fickmann for his assistance in drafting the complaint against McLennan County Justice of the Peace Peterson on behalf of TCDLA’s Judicial Integrity Committee. A host of members posted on the listserve expressing similar feelings of gratitude.
More than forty years ago, United States District Judge William Wayne Justice appointed me to represent a pro se petitioner who was seeking habeas relief in his court. This petitioner had also appeared pro se in a divorce proceeding and had been called to the stand by his wife’s lawyer. While testifying, he admitted to many acts of sexual intercourse with his young daughter. After that case was concluded, the trial judge had a statement of facts prepared and sent it to the local district attorney.
Batson v. Kentucky is again front and center in the United States Supreme Court. On May 26, 2015 the Court granted certiorari in Foster v. Chatman (No. 14-8349, 2015 Term). The case is currently set for argument on November 2, 2015. In Foster, Georgia prosecutors struck all four African-American prospective jurors from the death penalty venire and provided roughly a dozen “race-neutral” reasons for their peremptory strikes.
Keep your mouth shut. Don’t tell anyone else about it. It is part of an old proverb: “Speech is silver and silence is golden. Often the best choice is to say nothing.”
When your clients are the subject of criminal investigations, ethically you should warn them to keep their mouths shut and remain silent.
The TCDLA board of directors met in Dallas on September 12, 2015. Sam Bassett, president, announced the following informational items:
President Announcements: Sam welcomed everyone to the board meeting and stated how excited he is to be here.
Recognitions, Sam Bassett: Sam gave recognition to Robb Fickman (Houston) for all his organization and work for the Declaration of Independence Readings.
The tragic death of Deputy Goforth in Houston has again brought to the forefront the issue of law enforcement’s changing relationship with segments of our society. It is on my mind as I write this column in the days following his funeral, attended and watched by thousands in our state and in our country. It was shocking to learn that this father and husband senselessly lost his life simply for wearing the uniform.