Congratulations to Houston’s Stanley Schneider of Schneider & McKinney, PC, for being recognized as the state’s top criminal defense lawyer in Texas Lawyer’s 2012 Go-To Guide. Every five years, the Go-To Guide names one lawyer in each of 18 practice areas for the Go-To Lawyer distinction. Texas Lawyer editors chose the winners after soliciting nominations from Texas attorneys and conducting extensive interviews with lawyers and judges. Stan previously was named by Texas Lawyer as one of “The 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter-Century” based on his work that not only changed clients’ lives but also helped open legal defenses for others accused in Texas. Way to go, Stan!
Also honored as Top-Notch defense attorneys by Texas Lawyer were David Botsford, Dick DeGuerin, Tim Evans, and Gerry Goldstein. No news to association members, but a nice feather in the cap for our longtime stalwarts. Congratulations, guys!
TCDLA Board member Danny Easterling deserves mention also for a victory in December. In the 176th District Court of Harris County, after an investigation and evidentiary hearing, the court granted relief for Danny’s client in a Writ of Habeas Corpus that was based on the “actual innocence” of the inmate. The applicant was sentenced to 25 years after he was convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. The 18-year-old complainant, 11 years old at the time of the alleged offense, recanted her jury trial testimony from 4 years ago and testified that she lied to convict her stepdad. The findings signed by the trial court Judge Shawna Reagin now go to the Texas CCA for their review. Way to go, Danny.
Kudos also go out to W. W. (William) Torrey of Cameron, Texas, a member of TCDLA since 2000, who was elected District Attorney of Milam County. He took office on January 1st. Congrats, Bill!
CDLP Chair Sarah Roland notched a win when the 2nd COA reversed and remanded the punishment trials in Earnest Ross v. the State of Texas. Before the punishment trial began on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, the judge ordered Ross shackled at the legs, wrists, and around the waist. His trial counsel, Mick Meyer, objected but the judge left him shackled for day 1 of punishment. (On day 2, the judge tried to reverse himself and actually unshackled him for the rest of the trial.) The state argued there was no harm from the shackles because the jury did not see them, the state didn’t reference them, and Ross was classified as an escape risk. The COA didn’t buy it and reversed for new punishment trials. Mr. Ross is considering filing a PDR to try to get complete relief. Way to go, Sarah.
Congratulations to San Antonio’s Demetrio Duarte Jr., who has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the top 100 trial lawyers for 2013—for his “continued and extensive trial work in state and federal courts across the nation.” Good work, Demetrio.
Christopher W. Lewis (Crain Lewis, LLP) of Dallas had a fantastic outcome at the end of January in Navarro County that Kerri Donica wanted to share: “I served as local counsel and first watched Chris wow the jury during voir dire. After listening to the prosecutor call the venire by their assigned numbers, Chris called each of them by name. What followed over the next day and a half of trial was just plain ol’ fun to watch (for the criminal defense bar, that is). Chris represented a gentleman accused of sexual assault. The co-defendant (with no criminal history) was tried some time ago and was convicted and sentenced to prison. The prosecutor claimed her case was even stronger against Chris’ client. She was mistaken. After a day and a half of watching Chris cross-examining the alleged victim, the State offered a plea to Class C Assault and dismissed the sexual assault charges. A great outcome that I believe was the result of an incredible show of lawyering. TCDLA can be proud!” Congratulations, Chris.
David Bires and Brittany Carroll tried a murder case in the 185th District Court with the help of Javier Martinez, a senior law clerk for Bires Schaffer & DeBorde. The trial went from January 14, 2013, through January 28, 2013. The court instructed the jury on all of the defendant’s requested instructions on self-defense, defense of property (theft at night), manslaughter, and deadly conduct. The facts involved a gun battle after a card-game dispute between the complainant, his three brothers, and the defendant. The complaining witness was killed, and two of his brothers—and the defendant—were wounded. The jury rejected murder and found the defendant guilty of deadly conduct and assessed punishment at 10 years in TDCJ. Two aggravated assaults are still pending. All in all, a good job by all.
Congratulations to Stan Schwieger for getting a PDR granted regarding the need for an objection when the trial court orders repayment of special prosecutor fees. This arose out of a special prosecution [attorney pro tem] case for Tampering with a Witness. The Court of Criminal Appeals granted review on an issue where Stan’s client was assessed costs of prosecution. Trial counsel was retained; Stan was appointed on appeal. The Tenth Court of Appeals held that client had “waived complaint” by not objecting at the trial level. Stan pointed out that no statutory authority existed for this, and as such, lacking statutory authority to do so, the trial court’s action was an “illegal act” and required no objection. Stay tuned for the ruling on this. As noted on the listserve: “Give ’em hell, Stan.”
The Young Lawyer’s Committee of TCDLA would like to announce the launch of a new email listserv for new lawyers. After speaking with many of our members and our president, we felt that a forum where members who are new to the practice of law and/or criminal law could ask the most basic of questions would be beneficial. From law office management to ethical questions, this listserv will be a forum dedicated to helping new lawyers be successful lawyers, which will ultimately benefit all of us and our clients. If you are interested in joining this listserv, please send an email indicating as such to the following address: .