Judge Wayne Patrick Priest
Stories from Judge Wayne Patrick Priest
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.