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Shout Outs

Shout Outs

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Robert C. Hinton (left), Michael P. Heiskell (middle), and Ronald L. Goranson (right) at Baylor Lawyer of the Year Luncheon. Photo Courtesy of Nick Teixeira, Baylor Law.

Michael P. Heiskell grew up in the small central Texas community of Pelham. Formerly known as Forks of the Creek, Pelham was settled by ex-slaves in 1866 and had an estimated population of 75 families in the 1950s. He is a proud “Double Bear,” graduating from Baylor University in 1972 and Baylor Law in 1974. When he arrived at Baylor in the late sixties, he was one of just five Black students on campus. By the time he finished his undergraduate degree in 1972, that number had grown to nearly 100— largely due to his efforts. During his time at Baylor, Michael was the first president of Agiza Funika (“Blacks Involved,” in Swahili), a social-service club designed to give African-American students a social outlet while helping them become more deeply involved in campus and community life. Michael was also president of the political science club Pi Sigma Alpha, the Phi Alpha Delta Pre Law Society, and a member of both Baylor’s Student Foundation and Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society.

Following his graduation from Baylor, Heiskell enrolled at Baylor Law in 1972, was an active member of the Student Bar Association, and became the law school’s first Black graduate in 1974. Michael has remained an active Baylor alumnus and currently serves on the Baylor University Board of Regents.

“Michael exemplifies every quality of a Baylor Lawyer. He is a fierce yet compassionate advocate for his clients and has an unswerving dedication to improving the quality of our justice system while maintaining the highest ideals of the legal profession,” stated Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben. “He is an outstanding lawyer and a truly authentic person. His career and life bear testimony to his richly deserving this honor.”

Michael was one of the three founding partners of Johnson, Vaughn & Heiskell. He now serves as the firm’s senior attorney. Before founding the firm in 1984, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Galveston County from 1975 to 1980, and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Texas from 1980 to 1984.


A big round of applause for E.G “Gerry” Morris, of Austin, TX. He received the Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association’s annual meeting in Palm Beach, FL on August 13. The Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award is given annually to the criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession. Congratulations, Gerry!

Kudos to Allen Ross of Rusk, TX and Jeff Herrington of Palestine, TX. They received a NOT GUILTY on Capital and lesser included Murder. This case previously ended in a mistrial when evidence was not properly disclosed by the Sheriff’s Office. The State’s only evidence was an alleged confession of the then 17-year-old, in Sheriff’s custody. The Defense attacked this confession as involuntary and pointed out potential culprit for the murder. The client was 17 years old when he entered the jail, and 21 years old when he walked out with an acquittal thanks to Allen and Jeff. Outstanding job!

Shout Out to Mitch Adams who won his burglary of a building case in the 4th District Court. This case also ended in a mistrial because Mitch’s client was hospitalized. The State’s only piece of evidence was a traffic citation left in a car that was the alleged getaway vehicle. The citation listed demographic details contrary to an eyewitness’s description of the female suspect. Mitch pointed out the discrepancies and won the day for his client. Great job, Mitch!

Amazing work by attorney Beverly Melontree, who won her Assault Causing Bodily Injury juvenile case in CCL3. This was a bench trial in front of the County Court at Law No. 3 Judge Getz. Victories in front of that Court are very seldom, so she was advised not to move forward in this manner. They were proven wrong when the Judge found the assault not true and stated Beverly had proven self-defense for her juvenile client. Tremendous work, Beverly!

Congrats to Joseph Esparza, who won a general court martial for an USAF NCO client accused of multiple sex offenses, rape, sexual assault, and an assault and battery involving two alleged victims at JBSA Lackland in San Antonio. He prepped the case hard and was able to show in cross examination that both alleged victims had their own reasons to fabricate their claims against his client and that, further, they colluded to bring their accusations against his client. Client testified in his own defense and multiple character witnesses testified after him as to his excellent character for truthfulness. The verdict after a 4 day trial was NOT GUILTY on all charges. Amazing work!

Pat on the back to Mark Griffith for a Not Guilty charge Client was arrested for DWI and blood test procured that came back over the limit. At the scene, officers were made aware that client was on the Autism Spectrum but ignored the fact that he had a neurological disability on the scene and in their testimony. Expert for defense described behavioral and mental issues that can appear due to being on the spectrum. The defense empowered the jury to stop disregarding disabilities. The verdict was the beautiful two words. Way to go!

Shout Out to Dean Watts for a case dismissal by reason of insanity for a felony evading case in Nacogdoches. Accomplished after 2 years and countless hours of hard work. Fantastic job!


Staff Highlights: The New Voice Behind the Voice

Alicia Thomas

Title: Communications Coordinator
Native State: South Dakota
Zodiac Sign: Leo
Favorite Color: Teal
Loves: Crafting & Exploring

Alicia Thomas started with TCDLA in March of 2021 as the Media Specialist and has recently been promoted to Communications Coordinator. In her time at TCDLA she has gotten to know many of the members and enjoyed working with the staff. Before TCDLA, Alicia has had a variety of jobs ranging from working at an ice cream shop to customer service in IT. She graduated from South Dakota State University with a BFA in Graphic Design in May of 2020. In June of the same year, she and her high school sweetheart, David, got married, packed up, and moved to Texas. In her free time, Alicia can be found doing a variety of graphic design projects, playing with her dogs, crafting, or watching The Office.

Shout Outs

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Shout-Out to Clay Steadman, who provided tremendous support on behalf of colleague, Kyle Therrian. After challenging a county court judge’s procedures for conducting bond violation hearings, he was denied renewal of his contract to receive misdemeanor appellate appointments. Once he filed a motion to recuse and subpoenaed several county judges to testify, Clay traveled to the DFW Metroplex to take on the task of questioning judges and sponsoring his testimony. Wonderful job, Clay!

Congratulations to Sarah Roland for her recent NOT GUILTY for an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon case! Way to go, Sarah!

A round of applause for Chuck Lanehart and his recent win on accusations of sexual assault and assault DV with strangulation in a Texas Tech Title IX hearing. Under new Title IX rules, Chuck was allowed to cross-examine the complainant. Even though there was some pretty concerning physical evidence in the case, the panel found his client “not responsible.” He stated that in the past, it was practically impossible to obtain a good result in a Title IX hearing, as the attorney could only act as an advisor, not an advocate. Congratulations, Chuck!

Kudos to Deandra Grant and her team, Debbie Girma, Douglas Huff, Clark Martin, Sorsha Huff, and Makenzie Zarate! They got a mistrial on a DWI case after the DA told them the police had arrest videos they failed to turn over.

Deandra then had a 3 year old DWI case. She advised the client trial chances did not look good. The wife of the defendant told her God would take care of it. Over lunch the judge discovered he has COVID. The arresting officer was unable to attend, also due to health concerns. The DA suggested a dismissal.

Shout-Out to Roberto Balli for his dismissal of a big Federal Drug case. His client came to him asserting his innocence just two weeks before his trial. Roberto spoke to the prosecutor and asked him to look at it from their perspective in order to see his clients innocence and told him they were taking it to trial. Just a few days later a motion to dismiss was filed by the government – doing the fair thing after reevaluating his case. After 5 years, it took just a few days of creating a bit of chaos to set things right. Outstanding job, Roberto!

Kudos to Tyler Flood on his NOT GUILTY verdict in a Failure to Stop and Render Aid (FSRA) Fatality charge. He caught the head detective both lying and laughing on the witness stand while under cross examination. With the help of Colton Rodriguez, their own investigation and reconstruction was able to devalidate what the state saw as evidence, a scratch mark on the curb. Using Google Earth, they were able to show that the scratch mark had been there six months prior to the incident. Tyler was happy to reunite his client with his seven children. Wonderful job, Tyler!

Shout-Out to Robert Fickman for his recent acquittal. His client was named in a multi-defendant (53 total, 40 of which pled guilty) indictment from Galveston, which the DEA named “Operation Wrecking Ball”. Three years later, five defendants remained, including his client who had seven counts: conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to engage in money laundering and 5 substantive counts alleging specific acts of cocaine distribution. He persuaded the Judge to grant four Rule 29s, and the jury acquitted his client on the remaining 3 charges. Robert’s client was the only acquittal out of the 53 defendants. Extraordinary work, Robert!


Staff Highlights: Director of CLE

Grace Works

Title: Director of CLE
Native State: Kansas
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Favorite Color: Blue
Loves: Travel, books, and theme parks

Grace Works started with TCDLA in April of 2022 serving as the Director of CLE. In her brief time with the company, her love of food and anything sweet has been made known to all. Before her time with TCDLA, she was an elementary school science teacher with Teach for America. She also has worked many years in the customer service industry and was a Guest Relations Director at a science museum. Grace is a proud alumnus of Kansas State University where she studied Criminology, Non-Profit Leadership Studies, and Conflict Analysis Trauma Studies. Grace comes from a long line of criminal defense attorneys, her grandfather, dad, uncle, and cousin all practice law in Kansas. She and her husband Jay, who met at Kansas State, have been together for 8 years and have traveled the world together. They have an adorable mini Australian Shepard named Tad. Grace has a love for 90’s rap/R&B music, live theater, comedy shows, coffee, and Harry Potter.

Shout Outs

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Kudos to Laura McCoy and her co-counsel, Jeff Harrelson, whose client was found NOT GUILTY of capital murder in Titus County. It was a tough case, but an amazing outcome. Way to go!

Congratulations to Alex Bunin, who was awarded the 2022 Patrick Wiseman Award for Civil Rights, by the Civil Liberties & Civil Rights Section of the State Bar of Texas. The Wiseman Award is intended for lawyers who have made a lifetime commitment to civil liberties and civil rights in Texas. Tremendous, Alex!

A round of applause for Taly Thiessen, who fought victoriously on a difficult DWI motion to suppress. She won in the trial court that was just affirmed in the Fourteenth Court of Appeals! Great work, Taly!

Shout-Out to Wilvin Carter for receiving a NOT GUILTY verdict after a long fought battle with the court. His client was facing 25 years to life. Way to go, Wilvin!

Kudos to Drew Carroll who received multiple NOT GUILTY verdicts for his client, including murder, voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder, use of a weapon during a crime of violence. Outstanding job, Drew!

Congratulations to Angelica Cogliano who is thrilled to have won two for two in the 5th circuit, with the help of her co-counsel, Deniz!

A round of applause for Richard Banks whose DWI case dismissed! Great job, Richard!

Shout-Out to both Mike Head and Justin Weiner, whose client was facing a 25-life aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge on a jury trial. Their client had been to TDCJ numerous times and had multiple allegations and instances of alleged violence. After two days of trial, Mike and Justin were able to use a self-defense issue and to expose the alleged victim’s lies to the prosecutor. They were able to negotiate the case to a time served Class A Misdemeanor plea. Previously, the only offer ever made was 20 years on the aggravated charge. Great work, Mike and Justin!

Kudos to Joseph Esparza and his co-counsel, Orlando Castanon, whose capital murder case in Maywas dismissed. They were able to find an independent witness the State was unaware of, who confirmed it was an act of self defense. Great work, Joseph and Orlando!

In the same month, Joseph defended a Senior NCO Drill Instructor who was being court-martialed for hazing, cruelty and maltreatment of junior soldiers, and violation of Army regulations. Ultimately, a trial with facts reminiscent of Full Metal Jacket, with both sides calling numerous witnesses, the jury members returned a big “NOT GUILTY” on all charges after 4 hours of deliberation.

Congratulations to John Convery, who was recognized with the first Lucien Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership and Enrichment of the Criminal Justice Act Panel, the legal profession, and the public over a lifetime, presented by the CJA Panel Selection Committee at the SABA Federal Courts Committee Dinner. Tremendous job, John!

A round of applause for Leslie Bollier and her team, Gina Schroeder and Katherine Obando, on their recent win in a hard fought case. A deserving father was awarded primary custody by a jury, ruling in his favor on significant financial issues. Way to go, Ladies!

Shout-Out to Chad Hughes and Sarah Duncan Jacobs on a NOT GUILTY verdict. Way to go!

Kudos to Ryan Gertz who was honored with the Best Feature/Human Interest Story Award for “The Death of Insanity in Texas.” Great job, Ryan!

Congratulations are in order for Novert Mo Morales, who was sworn in as Chair of Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas. Congratulations, Novert!

Shout-Out to Patty Tress who received a NOT GUILTY verdict in a Denton County jury trial! Despite the challenges she faced, justice prevailed. Great work, Patty!

Shout Outs

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Kudos to Robert Pelton for his interview with CBS News, an article titled “Journalist Seeks Answers from a One Time Texas Attorney with ties to five Dead Men”, which was published this past
April. The article can be found online at cbsnews.com. Congrats, Robert!

Outstanding job to Roberto Balli, who had four Federal Cases dismissed in the first four months of 2022! Alien smuggling, gun smuggling, assault on a federal officer, and serious drugs. The
Government takes crime very seriously, but they will step back if the lawyer can show them that the evidence is not there! None of these cases were easy. Roberto stated that he is truly happy for his clients. Kudos to you, Robert!

Great work to JW Martin Hill for verdict in Madison County! The charge was aggravated sexual assault on an older white woman by a young black man. Ultimately, the outcome was NOT GUILTY! Hats off to you, JW!

A job well done to Danny Easterling, of Houston. He earned a victorious win at his murder jury trial, arguing self-defense. After his NOT GUILTY, he spent some time relaxing in the country.
Super work, Danny!

Congratulations to Mike Ware for being named as the 2022 recipient of the Frank J. Scurlock Award from the State Bar of Texas. This award honors an attorney who has provided outstanding pro bono work. This award recognizes Mike’s outstanding work leading the Innocence Project of Texas. Mike will receive the award at the Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon on June 9th.

Good work to Bobby Mims and his partner, Mishae Boren, who received a 1-hour NOT GUILTY verdict! The bailiff told Boren that all of the women on the jury were against the state. They thought that the wife had started it and then caused the police to become involved. Their client is a noncitizen, but is a Legal Permanent Resident, so they felt they had to go to the mat for him. Fortune was in their favor.

Shout Outs

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Shout‑out to local Tyler attorney Brett Harrison of Files Harrison, P.C. for his big NOT GUILTY in Anderson County last month. Brett’s client was indicted on two counts of aggravated sexual assault. Outstanding work, Brett! Congratulations!

Kudos to TCDLA Law School Committee Member, Jeff Shearer, who hosted a law school training session at Texas A&M School of Law, in Fort Worth. Thanks for representing TCDLA, Jeff!

Congratulations to Danny Easterling for his recent win on a murder case. The jury deliberated for 3 hours before determining their verdict of NOT GUILTY. Way to go, Danny!


Staff Highlights: Chief Financial Officer

Mari Flores

Title: Chief Financial Officer
Native State: Texas
Zodiac Sign: Libra
Favorite Color: Pink
Loves: Going on vacation

Mari Flores has been with TCDLA for 10 years serving as the Chief Financial Officer. Her 20+ years of financial experience has been in the nonprofit sector. She graduated from St. Edwards University in Austin, TX with a BBA in Finance and later with an MBA in accounting. She is married to her college sweetheart, Pepe Flores. They have four children, two girls ages 10 and 11, and two boys ages 15 and 26. They also have two miniature schnauzers, King and Bella. They keep busy with their children’s sporting events and vacationing when they can fit in the time!

Shout Outs

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Kudos to Joseph Esparza who litigated from February 28th to March 6th, then received a NOT GUILTY verdict after a long fought battle in a general court‑martial at JBSA‑Randolph in San Antonio. The client fired his first defense team, who wanted him to plead guilty. He faced two sex charges involving his teenage, adopted daughter and two computer charges involving his ex‑wife, soliciting men online to have sex with her and posting intimate visual images of her online. But, pretrial motions filed got the defense some relief, the most important being the defense could elicit and admit evidence of the client and complainant’s cuckold lifestyle, which had defense implications for the offenses involving the ex‑wife. Great job!

Amazing work to Mike Ware, who was recently honored for his devotion to the Innocence Project of Texas. He and his freed client, Jason Hernandez, who is now an advocate and community leader, came together with NACDL and TCDLA to raise funds for both organizations. Way to go, Mike!

A metaphorical round of applause for Cynthia Eva Hujar Orr, who is the 2021 recipient of the Charles R. English award, given by the American Bar Association. Charles English was a California trial attorney who specialized in criminal defense cases. He was an active member of the American Bar Association, having served as a member of the Criminal Justice Section Council and Chairperson of the Section’s Committee on the Association Standards for Criminal Justice. He was well respected by members of the bench, and both prosecutors and defense bar. In 1998 he was named Outstanding Defense Attorney by the Los Angeles Bar Association. Congratulations on your merited accolade!

Congratulations to Jeff Kearney and David Gerger who won a rocket docket in Fort Worth. They got a one hour NOT GUILTY verdict in the Boeing federal fraud trial. The pilot was the only on tried for the Boeing crashes associated with new planes equipped with a MCAS system. Amazing job!

Congratulations to Eddie Cortes for his acquittal on maximum charges. His client will serve 15 years TDC with the possibility of parole at 50%, while the original anticipated outcome was 25 to life without the possibility of parole. Great work! Kudos, Eddie!

Shout Outs

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Congratulations to Mark G. Daniel for his reappointment to the Texas Forensic Science Commission! TCDLA is proud to have one of our own serve the great state of Texas! Exceptional work, Mark!

Outstanding work to Angelica Cogliano who won her case, challenging the constitutionality of Operation Lone Star. Ultimately, the state agreed that her client (therefore all 2,000 defendants) deserve relief. Amazing work, Angelica!

Kudos to David Lee Botsford on a recent 5th Circuit victory! It deals with the affirmative defense of the statute of limitations. Argued on December 8th, reversal and remand: to determine which of the 4 counts may be barred by statute of limitations, and new trial on any of the 4 counts that are not barred. Great work, David!

Amazing work to Kathy Ehmann-Clardy and Sean Bajuk who heard the sweetest words ever spoken – NOT GUILTY, not once, not twice, but FIVE times. They tried five cases to a jury in Somervell County, working for three days on ABIFV, interfere 911 call, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and theft. Kudos, Kathy and Sean!

A job well done to appellate counsel, Alan Bennett, for winning his trial in a Waco District Court. Opinion affirmed the exclusion of evidence that was not turned over by the State “as soon as practical”. Evidence produced on the eve of trial was excluded… and his ruling affirmed. Way to go, Alan!


Staff Highlights: Seminar Clerk

Jessica Steen

Title: Seminar Clerk
Native State: Texas
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Favorite Color: Sea-foam Green
Loves: hiking nature trails and quilting
Interesting Fact: She has had pet reptiles since age six

Jessica Steen is currently studying at ACC for general studies, with the hope to transfer to a university in order to continue her studies in forest and wildlife management. She has participated and staffed countless Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts events, holding a variety of positions, which include secretary work, accounting, administration, and training. At TCDLA, Jessica works on mailing publications and merchandise to members, and packs materials for seminars. In her downtime, she can be found chilling with her animals or starting a new quilting project.

Shout Outs

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Shout Out to Emily Miller who received a NOT GUILTY verdict after a three day trial in Mills county on retaliation against a Peace Officer. Emily referenced information found on the listserv. Way to be resourceful! Amazing work, Emily!

Kudos to Steven Green, who celebrated two NOT GUILTY verdicts on a sexual assault of a child case in Van Zandt county. Way to go, Steven!

Great work to Srav Muralindhar, who received a NOT GUILTY in Van Zandt County on an atypical felony stalking case. The alleged victim was the county court at law judge,  and involved facts that included a randy bull and the judge’s harlot cow, cutting barbed wire fences, and courthouse confrontations. And all of this while Srav coped with a hostile visiting judge who denied his request for a jury shuffle and gave the incorrect information to the jury. Congratulations Srav!

Congratulations to Will Vaughn! He received a NOT GUILTY verdict on a continuous family violence felony case, plus three lesser misdemeanors in Washington county. Great job, Will!

Shout Outs

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Clint Broden had a client charged in federal court for failure to register as a sex offender in the Northern District of Texas based upon an Illinois Child Pornography conviction. The case was dismissed on the eve of trial through a motion in limine based on the argument that the Illinois child pornography law had a broader mens rea element (should have known child was under 18) than the federal law (knew child was under 18). Because the Illinois statute “swept more broadly” than the federal SORNA statute, Broden argued that the Illinois could not form the basis of a federal failure to register charge and therefore was inadmissible at trial and need to be excluded in limine. Without the admissibility of that conviction, the government had to dismiss the case because it was the only basis for the federal failure to register charge. Congratulations, Clint!

Congratulations to Heather Barbieri, who got a NOT GUILTY on false allegations of continuous sexual assault of a child, last week in Collin county. Amazing work, Heather!

Mark Griffith received a verdict of NOT GUILTY on a DWI case. His client’s blood test was suppressed prior to trial. After a full investigation and a two day jury trial, “Sweet Justice” was served. Congratulations, Mark!

The Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously decided Ex Parte Clinton Lee Young, No. WR-65,137-05 (unpublished) granting a new trial on September 22, 2021. Young had been on death row since 2003, and had three previous writs failed. The Los Angeles Federal Defenders, Capital Habeas Unit, took on the case and found records that the district judges had paid Assistant District Attorney Ralph Petty $16,000 for working for the judges on Young’s case, while drawing a salary from the District Attorney’s office. The DA self-recused and a neighboring County’s DA was appointed to represent the State. Allison Clayton was enlisted to assist with FOIA requests and other investigation of Midland County records. Ultimately, Petty double-dipped repeatedly, getting paid by several judges as their “law clerk”, from around 2000-2016, on top of a base annual salary of about $151,950. At least $262,650, in addition to his salary, was paid by the judges. Petty retired in lieu of State Bar discipline. In response to discovery efforts, Petty asserted his Fifth Amendment rights. This throws into doubt the validity of about 450 convictions in Midland County. TCDLA has filed Complaints with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, reporting record facts on all the offending judges. Outstanding job to Allison Clayton, and all who contributed!

Kudos to T.W. Davidson, who represented a client on trial for murder in Cherokee county. After a nine day trial and six hour jury deliberation, they received a NOT GUILTY verdict. Great work, T.W.!

Shout-Out to Mark Thiessen, Amanda Culbertson, and Kacie Penman, who were able to achieve a NOT GUILTY on a .146 suppressed breath test DWI case. They were able to prove that the 15 minute required observation period for the breath testing was violated by the arresting officer by checking the DPS computer logs. Kudos to all!


Staff Highlights: TCDLA’s Seminar Associate

Desirae Esquivel

Title: Seminar Associate
Native State: Texas
Zodiac Sign: Libra
Favorite Color: Lime Green
Loves: to be creative
Interesting Fact: She cannot wink, snap or whistle.

Desirae Esquivel has six years of service industry experience and has been a bookkeeper for over two years. At TCDLA, she prepares registration forms, agendas and evaluations. She also applies for the CLE credit and maintains the online CLE. In her spare time, she likes to draw, paint, craft and sew. In addition, she volunteers at dog adoption events and enjoys the great outdoors.

Shout Outs

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Kudos to Mark Thiessen, Amanda Culbertson, and Andrew Gendi, who received a verdict of Not Guilty on a DWI charge after the officer failed to ask the client if they had anything in their mouth (gum/bite guard for migraines), which invalidated the intoxilyzer test. Congratulations to all!

Amazing work to T.W. Davidson who gave his client her life back. The 55 year old Defendant with a first degree felony charge and $243,000+ due was facing life in prison. Ultimately, the court ruled that his client was in a situation where, through no fault or action of her own, it was “legally and factually impossible” for her to pay the outstanding restitution. With tears of joy flowing, the client and counsel hugged in victory. The case was DISMISSED.

Ervette Sims received a NOT GUILTY on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Denton County recently. This was a self-defense case full of missing evidence that just so happened to be favorable to the Accused – her 911 call for instance. The jurors were educated, some wore masks, and some stayed around after the NG verdict to hug the newly-acquitted Accused. Outstanding job, Ervette!

Shout-Out to Paul Morgan for passionately defending his client, who was only 17 years old at the time of the alleged offense. Paul suffered personal attacks from the State’s counsel, but ended up with a Capital Murder Reversal! Way to go, Paul!

In September, Westerners International awarded Chuck Lanehart the Coke Wood award for best published article of 2020, “Custer, Captive Girls and the Cheyenne on Sweetwater Creek,” originally published by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. The story is also a part of Chuck’s book, Tragedy and Triumph on the Texas Plains, published in May 2021 by the History Press and available at booksellers everywhere. Congratulations, Chuck!


Staff Highlights: TCDLA’s Accountant

Cris Abascal

Title: Accountant
Native State: Texas
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Favorite Color: Turquoise
Loves to: Spend time with her grandson
Interesting Fact: She has a plate and 12 screws in her ankle from an accident when she was young.  

Cristina Abascal has been with TCDLA for thirteen years. She has twelve years of nonprofit experience in accounting and auditing. Her hard work, dedication, efficiency and ability to adapt to change are her greatest strengths. When she is not at work she is enjoying spending time with her first and only grandson Elijah.

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