F. R. Buck Files, Jr.

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Buck Files, a member of TCDLA’s Hall of Fame and the President of the State Bar of Texas, practices in Tyler, Texas, with the law firm Bain, Files, Jarrett, Bain & Harrison, PC.

Stories from F. R. Buck Files, Jr.

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), is such a familiar case that judges writing on a peremptory challenge issue commonly refer to it as Batson without giving the full title of the case or the citation.

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

On January 13th, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [Circuit Judges Posner, Kanne, and Rovner (Opinion by Judge Posner)] handed down its opinion in four cases that had been consolidated for oral argument, United States v. Thompson v. Ortiz v. Bates v. Blount, ___F.3d___, 2015 WL 151609 (7th Cir. 2015). In each of the cases, the judgment of the district court was reversed and the case was remanded for resentencing.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Waldo Snerd’s lawyer, Herman Glertz, was plagued by nightmares. There was a common theme: A horde of federal agents in possession of a search warrant for Waldo’s home or business descended upon his residence. While there or at his place of business, they interrogated Waldo and obtained an inculpatory statement from him. After Waldo was indicted, Herman filed a motion to suppress the statement in each case, alleging that Waldo was in custody and that no Miranda warning was given to him.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Federal Defenders and State Public Defenders are often the unsung heroes of the criminal defense bar. In so many of their cases, both the law and the facts are against them, and they have, at best, an ungrateful client. Yet, these lawyers work hard trying to make chicken salad out of chicken feathers.

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

On the front page of the New York Times on September 2, 2014, was an article by Adam Liptak entitled “Seeking Facts, Justices Settle for What Briefs Tell Them.” From this article we learned that:

The Supreme Court received more than 80 friend-of-the-court briefs in the Hobby Lobby case. Most of these filings, also called amicus briefs, were dull and repetitive recitations of familiar legal arguments.

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

In the Democratic primary election of 1970, an East Texas county judge was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election—and, after hearing the results, he went to bed. A lawyer, who had represented many defendants in that judge’s court, was overjoyed when he learned of the judge’s defeat and began to celebrate. After consuming far too much of whatever it was that he was drinking, he called the judge—who was asleep—and said, “YOU AIN’T JUDGE NO MORE!” The judge responded, “I am until January 1, 1971.” At that moment, the lawyer learned of the heartbreak of premature celebration.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

On June 26, 2014, the headline in The New York Times read, “Justices, 9–0, Rule Cellphone Search Needs a Warrant.” The day before, the Supreme Court had announced its decision in Riley v. California, ___S.Ct.___, WL 2864483 (2014), holding that police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested. Chief Justice Roberts authored the opinion of the Court. All of the other Justices except for Justice Alito joined in the opinion.

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Prosecutorial discretion can be a wonderful thing. Over the years, Texas and federal prosecutors have listened to my pleas for leniency and—on a bunch of occasions—have chosen either not to indict or to charge my client with the commission of a lesser offense. Sometimes, though, prosecutorial discretion can go the other way and a client can receive a harsh sentence that is simply not appropriate under the facts of the case. We’ve all seen that.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Part Two: The Supreme Court’s Decision in Paroline

Introduction

In Part One, I discussed Paroline’s journey from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to the Supreme Court of the United States, and how Stanley Schneider, Casie Gotro, and I became Paroline’s Team. Now, we continue with the Supreme Court’s resolution of his case.

We Win the Causation Issue

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

On February 24, 2014, the Supreme Court, in a per curiam opinion, held that a defense counsel’s failure to request additional funds to replace an inadequate expert amounted to deficient performance. Hinton v. Alabama, 134 S. Ct. 1081 (2014). One sentence from that opinion leaped from the page and grabbed me by the throat: “Criminal cases will arise where the only reasonable and available defense strategy requires consultation with experts or introduction of expert evidence.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S.

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

On December 5, 2013, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit did not send Frank Caira an early Christmas present; instead, they affirmed his convictions for conspiracy to commit murder of a United States official and solicitation of a violent felony. United States. v. Caira, ___F3d___, 2013 WL 6326589 (7th Cir. 2013) [Panel: Chief Judge Wood and Circuit Judges Easterbrook and Hamilton. Opinion by Chief Judge Wood].

The Court held that:

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Interesting Fourth Amendment issues can occasionally be found in forfeiture cases; e.g., a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in a forfeiture case, recently held that:

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Law enforcement officers stopped Waldo. Law enforcement officers questioned Waldo. Law enforcement officers began to frisk Waldo. Waldo ran away. Law enforcement officers caught Waldo, searched Waldo, and found something that was illegal. Waldo was prosecuted and convicted and what did the appellate court probably write?

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

For this column, I decided that I would break my mold and try something different. For the past 170+ columns, I have focused on only one case per column, but I saw something in mid-August that was just too good to pass up. Lawyers in two cases were engaging in role reversals. In the Third Circuit, a defendant’s attorney complained of the district court’s refusal to grant use immunity to a defense witness. U.S. v. Quinn, ___F.3d___, 2013 WL 4504647 (3rd Cir.

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Unintended legal research almost always begins with my finding an article in the New York Times that peaks my interest and leads me into doing some structured WestLaw research. That happened on July 30th, as I was looking at the New York Times app on my iPad and saw an article entitled “Warrantless Cellphone Tracking Is Upheld” by Somini Sengupta that was to appear in the next morning’s edition of the Times. The article began with these two lead paragraphs:

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Scott Rothstein was a successful lawyer who became the Chairman and CEO of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, P.A. (RRA)—a Florida law firm with 70 lawyers. But that’s not the story.

Rothstein was charged in a five-count Information that alleged violations of the RICO statute: 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c). The charges were based on a common allegation that Rothstein operated a “Ponzi” scheme by

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

United States District Judge Karon Owen Bowdre of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Southern Division, recently authored a memorandum opinion having to do with the Crime Victims Right Act: 18 U.S.C. § 3771. United States of America v. Michael Heath Thetford, WL 1309851 (2013). The CVRA can be a pain for defense lawyers, prosecutors and the judges of the federal courts. Any defense lawyer who has been through a case involving a Ponzi scheme with multiple victims can attest to this.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

A conflict of interest between a lawyer and a client is a terrible thing. Even an allegation that such a conflict existed at the time of the lawyer’s representation of the client can haunt the lawyer for years to come. The safest course to take when there is such an allegation is for the lawyer to run away and fight another day.

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

On February 19, the Supreme Court held that the Summers rule, which allows officers executing a search warrant to detain the occupants of the premises, is spatially constrained and limited to the immediate vicinity of the premises to be searched. Bailey v. United States __S.Ct.__, 2013 WL 598438 (2013). KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. SCALIA, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which GINSBURG and KAGAN, JJ., joined.