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EVEN FOR THE DESPICABLE AMONG US: Rights and Due Process for Klansmen

The new novel, No Truth Left To Tell (Greenleaf Press 2020), by former federal prosecutor Michael McAuliffe poses important moral and ethical questions for lawyers and lay readers alike. The story, about the feds chasing the Klan in the Deep South, portrays a southern town still grappling with its history of racial violence. The Klan

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TCDLA Awards $5,000 Charlie Butts Scholarship to San Antonio Law Student

TCDLA awarded the annual Charlie Butts Memorial Scholarship worth $5,000 to a student at San Antonio’s St. Mary’s School of Law. The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Educational Institute (TCDLEI) administers the Charlie D. Butts Memorial Scholarship every year. The scholarship is named after Charles D. Butts, who practiced as an attorney in Texas for 63

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EXTRANEOUS CRIMES, WRONGS, AND ACTS: What are they and how can they impact your case?

I. Evolution of the Meaning of Extraneous Offense The definition of an extraneous offense has evolved in Texas jurisprudence. It was once defined as “one that is extra, beyond, or foreign to the offense for which the party is on trial.” Ridinger v. State, 174 S.W.2d 319, 320 (Tex. Crim. App. 1943). Later, several cases

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THE SAGA OF SLIPPERY SAM CATES, Crosby County’s Crafty Miscreant

Two shotgun blasts 100 years ago rocked Crosbyton, exposing the tiny Texas South Plains town as a seeming cauldron of sexual promiscuity, leading to death, scandal, and intrigue. Yet the compelling Roaring Twenties tale of Sam Cates, at the center of the drama, seems to have been forgotten. Until now… Cates and Burton Samuel Wavely

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A RACE HE COULD NOT WIN: The Case of All-American Swimmer Ryan Harty

Justice is not color blind. Somewhat paradoxically, it is to a large degree black and white, with blacks getting the short end of “equal treatment under the law.” The late African-American comedian Richard Pryor (1940-2005) pretty much nailed it when he said, “If you’re going downtown looking for justice, that’s just what you’ll find—just us.”

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Protecting Your Client’s Conduct While Admitting the Accuser’s: Texas Rules of Evidence 403, 404, 412, and 609

In sexual offense cases—particularly those involving an alleged crime against a child—the defense is almost always playing on an uneven field. Special rules of admissibility of evidence favor the prosecution. At trial, the defense often faces a critical challenge of trying to keep out evidence of a client’s extraneous conduct. In some cases, the defense

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Back to Basics: Attack SFSTs, Not the Officer

In the heat of trial, all trial attorneys fight vigorously for their DWI clients. In that fight, it’s understandable that you want to destroy the officer, destroy the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), and vindicate your client. Oftentimes, however, juries end up feeling sorry for the bumbling police officer and will hold it against the

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Coercive Interrogation and the Vulnerable Population

[A] system of criminal law enforcement which comes to depend on the “confession” will, in the long run, be less reliable and more subject to abuses than a system which depends on extrinsic evidence independently secured through skillful investigation.” Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 488-89 (1964). “[F]alse confessions are [a] leading cause of wrongful convictions[.]” State v.

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