Said & Done



Stephen Hamilton, Kelly and Caroline Clark, and Melissa Salazar got a “not guilty” on a Manslaughter case in Lubbock County. The State made no offer in the case. Client was a caregiver at the Lubbock State School. While trying to prevent a resident from hurting himself and others, D used some restraint, but there’s a “no restraint” order in place at the State School. Client was charged with man­slaughter. Lubbock Medical Examiner originally made several preliminary findings of no foul play. After extreme political pressure on the DA, final autopsy report classified the death as a homicide. Defense position was the death was an accident, not manslaughter. Jury trial lasted five days, and judge gave both lesser included of Criminally Negligent Homicide and a defensive instruction. Jury found client not guilty on all charges. It was a good day in Lubbock.

Rusty and Sarah Gunter tried an injury to a child case before visiting judge James Rex. Their client was enhanced twice, having gone to prison for aggravated assault and aggravated robbery. The State offered 35 years on a plea. Testimony was that client and girlfriend got into an argument because the girlfriend wouldn’t return the money given her for deposit on a rental house. Evidence showed that client hit girlfriend while they were in the hallway of a small apartment. Girlfriend’s 10-year-old granddaughter jumped to her side and told client to quit hitting her. Client then hit the girl in the mouth, sending her flying back into the guest room with busted lips and a chipped tooth. Client then left. State offered 15 and client rejected. The jury indicated that they were deadlocked at 6–6. Judge told the jury to give it one more shot. State offered 10, client countered with 5. State said that they would rather retry the case. Jury came back 30 minutes later with the two-word verdict. Apparently the jury wasn’t convinced that client acted knowingly (after asking for a note with better delineation as to what constituted “knowingly”). Intent is what the Gunters emphasized during closing argument. The Gunters also really hit on the jurors bill of rights in voir dire.

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