Kudos to Greg Westfall for his tireless effort starting up the Voice Online website (http://voiceforthedefenseonline.com/). As his Feb. 15 post on the TCDLA listserve indicated, from its Feb. 11 launch, the site recorded some 7,000 hits. As Greg noted: “At this time, we may very well be the only statewide criminal defense organization with an online magazine like this. This is due in large part to the Herculean efforts of two people—our assistant executive director, Melissa Schank, and our web designer, Stacy Clifford of Chili Pepper Web (www.chilipepperweb.net). Melissa, in particular, oversaw the scanning of almost 40 years’ worth of the Voice. Stacy got it all online. Thanks, you all.” And kudos to Greg for making it all happen.
Gerry Goldstein had a big win recently with the able assist of Cynthia Orr. After 12 years of post-conviction litigation in federal and then again in state court (as Gerry says, “thanks to Cynthia’s diligent and tenacious efforts at trying to make me look good”), they received a 55-page opinion from Judge Rayes in Atascosa County, Texas, vacating Pedro Sosa’s death sentence. The judge found Sosa to be mentally retarded, and he has been on Death Row facing repeated execution dates for the past 27 years. A PDF of the opinion is posted on the TCDLA listserve. Way to go, guys.
Greg Russell did yeoman’s work on a murder trial in the 405th District Court, Galveston County. The deceased was in the police academy, girlfriend of Greg’s client. She was strangled and found lying in her garage after Mardi Gras on Valentine’s Day 2010. The state called 29 witnesses and showed over 300 exhibits. Greg called one witness (not the defendant). After a week and half of testimony and three solid days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial on Feb. 11. According to the DA’s office, he may well have to try it again. That’s toughin’ it out, Greg.
Tiger Russell scored a victory in the 355th District Court. A “guilty” verdict was returned in less than 30 minutes, and a deliberation of 3 hours yielded a sentence of 4 years. But he began the day with a 30-year recommendation for Agg Sexual Assault before the DA backed off and only proceeded on one count. As Tiger says, “The DA knows my position about asking for a lesser charge if I believe he cannot prove up the charge he goes forward on, so that might have forced his hand to only go forward to the lesser offense.”
Robin Matthews of Lubbock got a 30-minute “not guilty” on an aggravated sexual assault of a child. Seems the doctor at the emergency room the day of the “event” saw no damage, but two months later the CAC nurse did. Good work, Robin.
Jimmy Parks and Ed Camara of San Antonio got a “not guilty” verdict against two special prosecutors from the TX Atty Gen’s office in February from a jury in the 25th District Court of Comal County (New Braunfels). The case involved a Seguin defense lawyer who had been indicted for tampering with a witness after talking to the complaining witness in a child sex case (allegedly threatening the complainant to prevent him from testifying). The jury agreed that the defense lawyer/defendant was merely doing her job by representing her client zealously. Ed says the jury deserves credit for not buying into the bombast and siding with the lowliest of the lowly—a defense lawyer.
Michael Mowla noted in his kudo to Greg Westfall for the Voice Online the excellent work done on the December Voice article “Crawford Flowchart and Step-by-Step Commentary” by Angela Moore, Ted Wood, and Marshall Shelsy. Corrections, however, are due: We not only spelled Marshall’s name wrong; we were also remiss in not including their bios. The box on the page following includes bio information.
Ted Wood has been employed as Assistant General Counsel with the Office of Court Administration since 2002. A Randall County Judge from 1995 to 2002, Ted served as a briefing attorney for the Honorable Justice Bryan Poff Jr. for the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo. He was an adjunct government instructor at Amarillo College from 1996 to 2002 and is a frequent speaker at judicial education seminars. A 1991 graduate of Baylor Law School, he is married to Jani Maselli.
Angela Moore is the Chief Appellate Public Defender in Bexar County, Texas. She is a former briefing attorney to Senior Judge W. C. Davis at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and in 2003–04 worked at the Court as the Chief Staff Attorney. She also has worked as an assistant county attorney, assistant district attorney, and assistant United States attorney. Angela has also been an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s Law School. She is board certified in criminal law and a 1988 graduate of St. Mary’s Law School.
Marshall Shelsy is a 1980 graduate of South Texas School of Law. He is a staff attorney at the Harris County Office of County Court Management. He is a frequent speaker across the state and a member of the Houston Bar Association.