Said & Done



Thad Davidson and Norman Ladd were rewarded for outstanding efforts by a “not guilty” verdict in a Rusk County retaliation case. A woman who was taking pictures of their client’s son’s birthday party had an altercation with the client and called 911. The SO dispatched Deputy Reynolds, who arrived at the scene traveling at over 100 miles per hour.
                Reynolds drove into the client’s driveway and parked his cruiser. Audio-video was on, but the camera was angled such that much of what soon transpired was not visible. The audio was recorded. Reynolds sounded the air horn on his cruiser. The client, who was in his house, did not respond. Reynolds shouted “Hey!” in an aggressive tone. A few seconds later, the client and his wife left their residence and walked to their front gate, which was closed. Reynolds demanded to know (from the client) what had happened between the lady and him.
                The client began explaining. He thrust his hand in the direction of Reynolds—without ever striking him—demonstrating what the woman had done to him. Reynolds flipped out, seized the client’s wrist and began screaming at him, saying he was under arrest (without saying why). The client called Reynolds a stupid SOB and other choice (and possibly accurate) names. Reynolds threw the client to the ground and held him down by force, hurting the client, who has a crippled shoulder and a damaged hip. Reynolds accused the client of “retaliating” against him (Reynolds), allegedly for saying that if Reynolds would get off of his back, he would show Reynolds “resisting.”

At the jail the night of the arrest, the client reported that Reynolds came into the jail, strapped him into a chair, and struck him while jail personnel were present. (Two jail personnel later personally apologized to their client for what Reynolds did to him in the jail.)

When his wife bonded him out of jail, the client did not recognize his own wife and was dazed and confused. He was taken to the hospital, where it was discovered he had a broken neck.

The defense attorneys went to the Rusk County Sheriff Office a week or so before trial and talked to Reynolds’ superiors. They obtained a video, which they had previously been told didn’t exist by the DA’s office.

The jury deliberated for less than thirty minutes. Justice was done.

Chuck Lanehart prevailed on a Motion to Suppress blood evidence where the State issued a grand jury subpoena for his client’s medical records—even though there was no grand jury investigation into the client or offense. Chuck relied primarily on HIPPA as the basis of his client’s expectation of privacy. The State dismissed the case and obtained the records relating to the blood test using a legitimate grand jury subpoena and filed a second DWI case. Chuck filed a second motion to suppress, arguing the HIPPA violation, that there was no inevitable discovery rule, and that the taint of the use of a false grand jury subpoena made the records inadmissible. Great job of book-whipping the cheaters, Chuck.

Jim Hanley’s efforts resulted in the State making an acceptable offer on a sexual assault case in Bexar County. Jim’s client and the purported victim had participated in a night of drinking and partying on a “party bus.” The complaining witness had sex with someone but could not say who. Her memory was affected by alcohol and ecstasy. The State’s offer was always prison time on a plea to sexual assault. After several re-settings, with a jury panel in the hall, the State offered a two-year probation on assault and agreed not to oppose the court’s deferring adjudication. This disposition didn’t sully Haney’s record in sex cases this year. Six cases, four not-guilty verdicts, and two dismissals on the day of trial. Congratulations.

Tony Vitz’s client heard the two-word verdict in a DWI case where he had given a breath test resulting in a .149. The defendant couldn’t accept the probation plea offer and keep his job, so a trial was the only alternative. Vitz believes that his client’s connection with the jury gave them the strength to reject the State’s argument. The jury foreman was the last holdout. We should all read Tony’s blog post— —because there is far more to Tony and this case than is obvious from this wonderful result.

Kudos are in order for E. G. “Gerry” Morris of Austin, who was sworn in as Second Vice President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association’s 54th Annual Meeting in San Francisco on July 28. Gerry has served on the NACDL Board of Directors since 2001. He has served as Co-Chair of NACDL’s Indigent Defense Committee and its Fourth Amendment Committee, as well as Vice Chair of NACDL’s Audit Committee. Congratulations, Gerry.

David Botsford, the incoming chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar of Texas, sent along this word of yet another honor for Buck Files: “In early 2012, the Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar of Texas, acting by and through its Council, unanimously decided to bestow a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ to Buck Files. Buck’s attributes and contributions to the State Bar of Texas and the criminal justice system are far too numerous to list, but suffice it to say that Buck has endlessly devoted himself to the improvement of the criminal justice system. Indeed, Buck has had a pronounced impact upon thousands of people, lawyers and non-lawyers, and effectuated incredible change within the criminal justice system throughout his long and storied career. We know he will continue to contribute even after the conclusion of his tenure as our State Bar President, but the Council wanted to acknowledge and honor him at our annual meeting in July 2012. Accordingly, the Council salutes and applauds Buck, and on behalf of the 3000 members of the Criminal Justice Section, we extend him our highest honor. It is well deserved to be sure.” And we certainly agree with that.

Previous Story

June 2012 Complete Issue – PDF Download

Next Story

Ethics and the Law: Making Silk Purses

Latest from Columns