Features

June 2018 SDR-1
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Voice for the Defense Volume 47, No. 5 Edition

Editor: Michael Mowla

From Editor Michael Mowla:

        1. I summarize each opinion in a manner that allows readers to generally use this SDR instead of reading every opinion.

        2. If you determine that a summarized opinion is relevant to one of your cases, I urge you to read the opinion and not rely solely upon these summaries.

Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Every case a criminal defense attorney takes on has the potential to become a gunfight, with the dramatic showdown coming to a head in front of a judge and jury. The defendant faces significant consequences if his attorney has not properly prepared, and unfortunately, this is the reality in many criminal defense cases.

Appear Weak When You Are Strong
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

When we are able to attack we must seem unable, when using our forces, we must seem inactive, when we are near we must appear far away, when we are far away we must make the opponent believe we are near. Humble words and increased preparations are signs that your opponent is about to advance.

Political Trends, Sentencing, Classification, Designation & Program Practice in Federal Prison
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

President Trump has charged his closest advisor, son-in-law Jared Kushner, to lead prison reform. People may ask why Kushner? He has no background in criminal justice or prison reform. Nor is he a former felon.

Traveling on a Known Drug Corridor: Who Knew?
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Assume that you are a hard-working drug courier just trying to make an illegal living. You have been hired to haul a load of merchandise from Harlingen to Dallas, or El Paso to Longview.

Shout Outs
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Kudos to Mark Griffith of Waxahachie for a recent win in an agg assault case, wherein D was confronted by an inebriated dude in McDonald’s. Client said they should go outside and talk—where dude pulled knives on him. D put a whupping on him but was charged in the fracas.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Since I have a dislike for the conducting of judicial proceedings by videoconference, I was pleased to read the opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in United States v. Bethea, ___F.3d___, 2018 WL 1959638 (April 26, 2018). A panel of the Circuit held that a defendant (Bethea) could not affirmatively consent to a felony plea by videoconference—and, that the error was per se prejudicial error, warranting automatic reversal. [Panel: Circuit Judges Bauer, Flaum, and Manion. Opinion by Judge Flaum.]

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

All the rules and information in this article require some careful study, as there may be some duplication. The bottom line: Follow the rules before you put your Superman ad on TV, the internet, Facebook, or other social media. An ad picturing you stopping an 18-wheeler or jumping on cars or trucks may be something only Superman could do, but even Superman may not be able to save you from a grievance if you don’t get it approved by the State Bar.

Executive Director's Perspective: Where Heroes Come From - By Melissa J. Schank
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

That’s where I’ll get the love in my heart: from, the fact that little young guys can look at the obstacles that I had to go through to become a Hall of Famer and know it’s not so bad when it comes to them trying to accomplish the same goal.

—Allen Iverson

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

As I sit at my desk writing this first President’s Message column for TCDLA, I cannot help but think of a cold winter day when my son Luke was about five years old. The two of us were driving down a dirt road, and we passed by a flat rock perched on top of a fence post. Luke glanced at me in with a look of wonder in his eye and asked, “Dad, how did that rock get there?” Over the next mile or two, he came up with several theories on his own, each a little more grandiose than the previous, before finally asking the question again.

June 2018 Complete Issue - PDF Download
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
Features
21 | Traveling on a Known Drug Corridor: Who Knew? - By Todd Duncan
27 | Political Trends, Sentencing, Classification, Designation & Program Practice in Federal Prison - By Bruce Cameron, Jose Santana & Ralph Miller
30 | Appear Weak When You Are Strong - By Tyler Flood
33 | Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight - By Daryl Parker
There Won’t Be Blood
Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Evidence obtained from the defendant’s blood is often the lynchpin in a Texas criminal case. And since the analysis of blood is such an intensely scientific process, no wonder the State (and often the Defense) employs an expert to testify about it.

Nondisclosures & Expunctions
Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Nondisclosures

Deferred Adjudication Nondisclosure

Section 411 of the Government Code was created to allow an “Order for Nondisclosure” in certain cases when a deferred adjudication has been completed.

Shout Outs
Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Shout out to Drew Willey of Galveston, written up in the New York Times after a judge allegedly took away some of his indigent clients and refused to appoint him new ones because he “worked too hard.” His offense? The judge said he was “the only attorney” who routinely asked for a paid investigator, complaining that cases resulting in guilty pleas should generally take more than three hours of work.

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

I have vivid memories of the trial of a conspiracy case that took place 40 years ago. There were seven of us sitting at the defense table representing our clients. Early on, it became obvious that we had almost as much to worry about from one of our brethren as we did from the Government.

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I’ve often wondered what month is National Exoneree Recognition Month (or some other synonymous title). Make no mistake, child abuse, in any and every form, is wrong and despicable. But what happens when an innocent parent or caregiver is wrongly accused, prosecuted, and convicted? We know it happens. It especially happens in the context of child abuse when everyone’s emotions naturally tend to outweigh reason, facts, and logic.

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.’”

—Maya Angelou

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

It’s hard for me to imagine that my year as TCDLA president is coming to a close. In many ways it seems like it’s just been minutes . . . (underwater!!!). But seriously, I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated this opportunity of service.

Through the years, some of my predecessors have been lucky enough to have the kind of terms where the stars are aligned, and they are somehow able to skate through the calendar without any issues or drama. I will spare you the details, but this has certainly not been one of those years.

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