Shout Outs

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Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
Shout Outs

Tip of the hat to Bill Mason of Cleburne, who last month secured the big NG on an Indictment for Aggravated Sexual Assault and an extraneous Indecency With a Child. D was a 55-year-old step-grandfather with no priors, and “victim” was “6 or 7” at the time of the alleged assault. Bill says the facts were the usual Children Advocacy Center interview, SANE report, and a failed police polygraph, but notes: “My client and his wife had a prior custody battle with the mother of the complainant over a grandchild. The complainant’s mother coming to court with orangey-red dyed hair, tattoos, and anger made her appear to have a motive to get the defendant sent to prison so the long-going custody battle would end in her favor.” The jury deliberated less than two hours before returning the verdict. Congratulations, Bill, on a big win in a tough case.
 Bill wanted to share in the kudos, sending along a shout out to TCDLA. Going right from Rusty to pick a jury on the Monday following, he says he utilized some of the new ideas he picked up there. According to Bill: “Words cannot express how thankful my client and I are for the techniques I learned at 2019 Rusty Duncan. My thanks to the whole organization, the seminar, and the speakers.
 “My NEW jury selection approach was a combination of Robert Hirschhorn, Troy McKinney, and Heather Barbieri. I added in a little ‘fire’ that I picked up from Sister Prejean and a little humor I picked up from Gerry Goldstein.”

Shout out to Jason Milam of Waco, partner in Sutton Milam & Fanning, for being named Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year by the McLennan County Young Lawyers Association in recognition of his excellence in practice and service to the community. Also honored by association President Stephen Rispoli, assistant dean at Baylor Law School, was Vic Feazell of Waco as an Outstanding Pro Bono Advocate. Congratulations, gentlemen, on the well-deserved honors.

Kudos to Nnamdi Ekeh of Dallas for his recent win in a case where D faced ten years in prison on a rather strange case. Alleged victim stabbed D with a knife, whereupon D called 911—and was arrested. D maintained his innocence through a variety of offers. He was first offered a misdemeanor A reduction, and he turned it down. He was then offered a conditional dismissal to take a battered intervention and prevention program, rejecting it as well. Class C misdemeanor? No. Class online and a certificate? No. He turned everything down and requested a jury trial. Before a trial date could even be set, though, he got an outright dismissal. Nnamdi passed this on: “Salute to citizens who stand up for their rights.” And to Nnamdi for sticking up for those rights.

Ethics Chair/Editor Robert Pelton sent along a shout out to ex-prez Betty Blackwell of Austin. Robert says that no sooner had she joined the Ethics Committee than she got a call to work on a problem coming in on the Ethics Hotline. Robert says, “Thanks again for joining us, Betty, and for handling the call.” Welcome aboard, Betty, and good work.
 And in somewhat of a departure here, kudos to Robert’s son, Robert Pelton, who recently used CPR training he received in the army to help resuscitate a maintenance worker in a parking lot. Robert Jr. works as an investigator in Houston and was eating lunch when he heard the commotion. And he appears to be a chip off the old block. Kudos to the Peltons.

Another member of the Ethics Committee, Ray Fuchs, and Joel Perez (both of San Antonio) got a big win for a D retried in a double murder. First go-around with a charge of capital murder ended in a mistrial, and DA retried on a straight murder charge. Ray and Joel argued that police conducted a “shabby” investigation, not following up on reports of an unidentified man seen running down the road after the incident. They also argued that testimony of a witness shouldn’t have been considered because she admitted to smoking crack that day. The jury deliberated for two days before arriving at the NG. Good work, team, on a tough case.

Shout out to Janet Prueitt of Gatesville, for the big NG on a charge of evading arrest. Janet remarked, “Law enforcement is not always careful about considering where it’s safe to pull over.” D traveled about ¾ of a mile before pulling off the road. Janet says he was trying to get to where there would be witnesses. In the course of the trial, the jury saw a video of D being slammed to the pavement by the officer. Turns out, the same officer had done that to him 4 months earlier—to which D testified. And . . . there was no speeding involved. Apparently the jury didn’t like the excessive force used. Congratulations, Janet, on a good win.

Shout out to Chuck Lanehart of Lubbock (right), co-chair of the TCDLA Declarations Readings each year. He has been awarded the James G. Denton Distinguished Lawyer Award at the Lubbock Area Bar Association’s Law Day Banquet, presented here by Justice Phil Johnson. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the bar, “in recognition of extraordinary contributions and exceptional service to the legal profession and the Lubbock community.”

Representative Senfronia Thompson was honored during the awards ceremony at Rusty Dun­can with the Senator Rodney Ellis Award, given to one with “exceptional commit­ment to advocacy, demonstration of specific endeavors related to criminal defense, spreading awareness of TCDLA initiatives and endeavors, and having a positive impact on criminal defense attorneys.” Awards Chairman David Botsford did the honors.

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