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Facebook Photo Causes Mistrial

September 26, 2012

The Miami Herald reports on a mistrial which came about as a result of attorney misconduct.  As a Texas criminal appeals lawyer and Texas habeas corpus lawyer, I am generally on the lookout for instances of prosecutorial misconduct.  Sometimes the misconduct can come from the defendant’s own lawyer. The Back Story The defendant’s family brought [...]

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Lawyer Goes to Jail Rather Than to Trial

June 15, 2012

I once worked on a case in which the prosecutor approached a defendant during trial and said: “You’re drowning and your lifeguard doesn’t know how to swim.”  That incident resulted in a reversal of the conviction on criminal appeal.  Had the criminal appeal not be successful, it would have been a strong ground on habeas [...]

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A Criminal Judge

April 5, 2012

As a Texas criminal appeals lawyer and habeas corpus lawyer, I always enjoy stories which fall into the “truth can be stranger than fiction” category.  A recent story from the Associated Press is a good example. “Let’s take a 10 minute recess.” A Knoxville, Tennessee, judge was so addicted to prescription drugs during his final [...]

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NO DA Busted for Brady Violation

January 13, 2012

For the second time in two years, the Supreme Court considered the issue of prosecutorial misconduct involving the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office.  This week, in Smith v. Cain, the Court overturned Juan Smith’s five murder convictions because the prosecutor cheated before trial. The facts Smith was charged with killing five people during an armed [...]

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Criminal Appellate Law Certification

January 3, 2012

Last year the Texas Board of Legal Specialization recognized a new board specialization in criminal appellate law.  The Board recently notified me that I am in the first group of Texas attorneys to be board certified in criminal appellate law.  The practice of criminal appellate law includes: appeals in state and federal courts; original filings [...]

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Mistrial Declared Following Juror’s Suicide Threat

November 23, 2011

The San Antonio Express-News reports a jury hearing a murder case against a San Antonio mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter sent three notes to the judge yesterday.  All of the notes indicated that the jury was hung, 11-1.  It wasn’t clear from the first two notes whether the majority wanted to acquit, convict [...]

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Don’t I know you?

September 5, 2011

The Chicago Tribune reports a mistrial was declared last week in a federal sex-trafficking case because a prosecution witness told authorities that the defense attorney was once one of her massage clients. The witness, a masseuse, told prosecutors that she believed she knew the defense attorney. As it turns out, the defense lawyer had been [...]

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How About a Week in Cabo for a Death Penalty?

April 1, 2011

As a criminal appeals lawyer, I have noticed a disturbing trend developing in a number of prosecutor offices around the country.  Supervisors and elected prosecutors are offering prosecutors in their offices bonuses based on their conviction rates or number of cases tried in a given year resulting in criminal convictions.  The bonuses have taken the [...]

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I’ll Be Watching You

January 27, 2011

An article in the Austin American Statesman this week indicated the Austin Police Department will soon provide patrol officers head mounted cameras.  The camera is capable of recording everything the officer sees while performing policing duties. Everybody Is Watching Surveillance cameras at airports, subways, banks and other public venues are not the only devices tracking [...]

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When Lawyers Become Criminals

December 1, 2010

Over the last year, I have worked on two cases in which trial lawyers engaged in criminal conduct related to the crimes for which their former clients were convicted.  This is a fertile area for both appeal and habeas corpus challenges to my client’s conviction. Conflict Of Interest When a lawyer commits a crime related [...]

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