Judge Wayne Patrick Priest

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Judge Wayne Patrick “Pat” Priest was a founding director of TCDLA. He received his JD from St. Mary’s University, where he served as an adjunct professor of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Trial Advocacy at its School of Law from 1979 through 1999. He has been on the bench since November 1980. As the senior District Judge of Bexar County in semi-retired status, he is called upon to preside over some big cases—including the Tom DeLay campaign finance trial, among others.

Stories from Judge Wayne Patrick Priest

Mental Illness and Criminal Defense
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Twice during my years practicing law, situations arose in other parts of the country, and were reported nationwide, in which it became public knowledge that a lawyer representing someone accused of abduction and murder knew quite literally where the body could be found and did not disclose it.

The Importance of the Presumption of Innocence
Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Although Sam had been taken into custody well before noon, it was after six o’clock by the time his wife, Muriel, arrived at my office with Sam’s dad.

The Ballad of Baldo Cortez and ‘Lefty’
Friday, September 1st, 2017

Lawyers realize the kind of personal physical courage required to see a good cop through a night-watch shift in a crime-infested neighborhood where few sympathize with the job he must do.

Jury Trials—Is It Witch Science?
Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Many of the Americans living in the Southwest are, of course, of Mexican descent. Though many families have lived in the United States for several generations, there is a continual influx of new immigrants from Mexico. As a result, many cultural phenomena brought from Mexico continue to thrive in the barrios (neighborhoods) of the Southwest.

The 10,000-Year Capital Case
Thursday, January 26th, 2017

I met the late Clarence Williams in 1972, when we were both involved as court-appointed lawyers for a defendant who was charged with the murder of a police officer.

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.

Misdemeanor Murder
Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Average Americans think of murder as the cold-blooded crime among all crimes, and the one that mandates sending the offender away for a long, long time.

Tribal Wars & Jail House Suicide
Saturday, June 11th, 2016

What Apache Medellin originally wanted was Necho Solis’ left eye. He wanted to make a ring out of it. It took some time to for his fellow gang members to convince him that it was going to be very hard to sell Necho’s death as a suicide if his left eye was missing.

The Kibitzer Case
Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Perhaps the most unusual appearance as attorney of record in a case I ever experienced occurred in a case in which the government had already rested its case before I became involved.

The Star Expert in the Pre-Columbian Artifacts Affair
Saturday, April 9th, 2016

The Pre-Columbian Artifacts case had already been tried and appealed once before I ever became involved in it. The Defendants had all been convicted, both of transporting the artifacts in international and interstate commerce and of conspiring to do so. The Fifth Circuit had sent the case back to Judge John H.

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.

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 Carving Doctrine and the Case of ‘Joe’ Friday
Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Every lawyer who has ever made a living defending criminal cases has been asked, not once but very often, how he or she is able to represent people who are known to be guilty.

The Case of Seduction
Saturday, November 21st, 2015

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.

Three Hots and a Cot
Saturday, October 10th, 2015

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.