Robert Pelton

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Robert Pelton is the former President of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (HCCLA), Associate Director for TCDLA, and Feature Articles Editor of the Voice, as well as serving as editor and assistant editor of Docket Call. Among his many honors, Robert was named by H Texas magazine as one of the top criminal lawyers in Harris County (2004–2010) and one of Houston’s Top Lawyers for the People in criminal law (2004–2010), and he is listed in the Martindale Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Robert has offices in Abilene and Houston.

Stories from Robert Pelton

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

One of my lawyer friends sent me the question: “What is ethics?” I wrote him an essay on what Aristotle, Socrates, Confucius, and even Gene Autry wrote about ethics, and that response will be presented in a future article. It sounds like an easy question to answer, but in reality it is not. Joe Connors sent me his ideas on the subject, which will be displayed later. The following response is from Raymond Fuchs, one of the Ethics Committee members.

Twas the Week Before Christmas 12-2014
Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

In the spirit of the Christmas season and to remind our members never to give up on any motion, we want to share this motion with you and discuss some points on Motions for Continuances in State court. In the case of this motion, three other motions had already been filed and denied. In an act of frustration and desperation, we filed this one below, which was granted. In the motion, only the defendant names and case number have been changed.

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

In the spirit of the Christmas season and to remind our members never to give up on any motion, we want to share this motion with you and discuss some points on Motions for Continuances in State court. In the case of this motion, three other motions had already been filed and denied. In an act of frustration and desperation, we filed this one below, which was granted. In the motion, only the defendant names and case number have been changed.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Many stores and service businesses have signs that read “In God We Trust—All Others Cash.” This was a common phrase used by merchants in the early decades of the 20th century. It was the title of a book written in 1966. Growing up in Abilene, which had many small businesses, I often saw this sign in the window and by the cash register. These business owners had been the victims of bad checks, people who refused to pay their bill, phony money orders, cashier’s checks, and other deceptive ways of not paying their bill for goods or services.

HONORING OUR VETERANS 11-11-14
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Anns Lee Pelton, 7 year old granddaughter of Robert Pelton, this week won 1st place at her school for her sketch honoring women veterans and and all women supporting veterans.  Anns Lee comes from a long line of veterans, including her dad, both granddads and great great granddads all the way back to the ones who fought in the Civil War.  Her great great granddad was named Robert E Lee Cox.  Her great great great great granddad Abraham George Washington Cox enlisted in the Confederate army at age 15 with his dad Abraham Cox, who was 51.

Ethics and the Law Oct14-1
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

My cousin, Joe Hood, recently died after living his entire life in Cooke County, Texas. Cooke County was, and remains to this day, a rough area for law breakers—or outsiders, for that matter. During the Civil War, Cooke County dealt with many a Union sympathizer by the end of a hangman’s noose.

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Toby Boyer, Houston lawyer, told me he wanted to leave this world with a clean slate. Toby knew the end was near, and we tried to help him get his affairs in order. He continued going to court to take care of his clients almost to the day he left this world. A case I was helping him with in another county could not be resolved easily, so Toby said he wanted to give back the fee. I tried to get Toby to keep part of the fee and he said, “No, I want to leave this world with a clean slate.” Not many would have done that, but the client got all his money back.

May 2014 Pelton Figure 1
Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

These as we all know are the last words to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Those who deny freedom to others do not deserve it for themselves. Lawyers continue to get into trouble. One former lawyer in Houston was sentenced to 40 years for stealing $9 million from his employer, and a lawyer in San Antonio was sentenced to 10 years for padding her pay vouchers. The DA investigator in the Houston case was caught selling the contraband involved and was prosecuted. The fox was guarding the henhouse.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

            If you think that you are having a bad day because your TV or phone or computer is not working, then get in your car and go to the nearest VA hospital and see real problems.  People bitch and complain and gossip about bullshit all the time.  In the hospital you will see men and women of the "Greatest Generation" suffering and coping with things most people can not comprehend.  When my family members joined the army in WWII, they signed up for the duration of the war, not for two years or three years.  They went over the pond as my uncle used to say and did not come back for over

Jan 2014 Fallen Hero
Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Since the beginning of time, leaders and scholars have tried to encourage people to get along and cooperate with each other for the common good. As we all know, there have been wars and rumors of war since the beginning of mankind. We supposedly live in a sophisticated society, but things have changed little. Lawyers were once leaders and role models for the citizenry but now have digressed in to what some people think are nothing but shysters preying on clients.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

I’ve labored long and hard for bread,
For honor, and for riches,
But on my corns too long you’ve tread,
You fine-haired sons of bitches.

—Black Bart, 1877 California Stage Coach Bandit

Bart was one of those men who got fed up with crooked judges, sheriffs, lawyers, prosecutors, and other people who were supposed to be honorable.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Ex parte communications are out of hand. In response to many complaints about ex parte communications, the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (HCCLA) sent a letter to First Assistant District Attorney Belinda Hill (below). In response, she sent out a memo to all the prosecutors (following the letter). This is a first, and lawyers all over the state need to share this with other prosecutors and judges.

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Geoff Grubb, M.D., one of my childhood friends who I met at age seven in Abilene, Texas, became a psychiatrist. He finished high school at age 17, went to medical school, and then became a psychiatrist. He trained at Rusk State Hospital and at the end of his career did psychiatric work at state hospitals all over Texas.

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

As you get older, you realize no man is an island. This thought came to me at the Rusty Duncan award ceremony when I saw John Dietz, Bill White, John Boston, Ron Goranson, Scrappy Holmes, Tim Evans, and a few others. Travis Bryan was not there. Travis is now a District Court Judge in Bryan. Back then, he was like the rest of us, working as a defense lawyer. Rusty Duncan had also been part of our group at the Huntsville Trial College. We had many things in common and became fast friends.

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Make sure when you get a new case it is done in an ethical manner. Since the beginning of time, some lawyers have been dishonest. There are bad apples in every barrel. We must all pay attention and not violate the rules.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

“Cool Hand Luke” is a 1967 American prison drama film starring Paul Newman in the title role as Lucas “Luke” Jackson, a prisoner in a Florida prison camp who refuses to submit to the system and observe the established pecking order among prisoners. In a 1940s setting, Luke is arrested and sentenced to prison for two years after vandalizing parking meters. Luke’s resistance to observe the pecking order runs afoul with the prisoners’ leader, Dragline. Luke takes a beating from Dragline and eventually earns his respect and that of the other prisoners.

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Many times a lawyer’s business gets put on the streets when he posts a message on a listserv. Although information put on a listserv is supposed to be confidential, it gets leaked to the wrong person. The TCDLA Ethics Committee created the hotline specifically for criminal defense lawyers with criminal law issues. The messages we get are confidential to the caller. We may use the question only as an example in an article, but names and identifying information shall remain confidential. Lawyers continue to talk about their cases in the elevators at courthouses across the state.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

George Johnson was buried in Boot Hill graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1882. His tombstone reads:

HERE LIES GEORGE JOHNSON HANGED BY MISTAKE... HE WAS RIGHT WE WAS WRONG BUT WE STRUNG HIM UP AND NOW HE’S GONE

In 1882, justice was swift, but was not always fair. George Johnson had the misfortune of being hung after he was accused of stealing a horse. The good citizens of Tombstone learned too late that George unknowingly purchased the horse from the actual thief.

Ethics and the Law: Bubba Shot the Jukebox - By Robert Pelton
Friday, December 28th, 2012

We were all down at Margie’s bar
Telling stories if we had one
Someone fired the old jukebox up
The song sure was a sad one
A teardrop rolled down Bubba’s nose
From the pain the song was inflicting
And all at once he jumped to his feet
Just like somebody kicked him

Bubba shot the juke box last night
Said it played a sad song it made him cry
Went to his truck and got a forty five
Bubba shot the juke box last night

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Several calls to the hotline have concerned threats from prosecutors for interviewing witnesses. To properly do our job we must talk to or have someone else talk to witnesses. The better practice is to have an investigator talk and tape all interviews to keep you, the lawyer, from being accused of some impropriety. There are some very honorable prosecutors, but as we have seen, there are some who hide evidence and try to prevent justice.