Shout Outs


A big shout out to Facebook fave Casie Gotro for the recent mistrial declared in her Waco Twin Peaks case, following yet another release of discovery evidence not previously tendered—from both the city of Waco and the DPS. The jury in the case was deadlocked after more than 14 hours deliberating (according to a courthouse source, no more than six jurors favored a guilty verdict). The case against the president of the Dallas Bandidos, the first of the 155 to be tried, was ostensibly the one sure win that prosecution could build on for successive trials. D was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity with an underlying offense of murder, engaging in organized criminal activity with an underlying offense of aggravated assault, and a charge of directing the activities of a criminal street gang for his alleged involvement in the 2015 shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. The TCDLA Facebook page was alight with indignation from fellow warriors over the course of events, amid news that the cost of the prosecutions already approached $1 million—not even taking into account civil actions that may ensue. Kudos from all for one particular TV clip showing Casie at the bat: A new trial has been set for the spring.

In other adventures in the Twin Peaks muddle, Clint Broden of Dallas turned his case every which way but loose. In a hearing sought to disqualify the DA in his case, Clint called him to testify, then looked to subpoena the same to testify in defense of his D. When the dust settled, Judge Johnson of McLennan County recused himself, then the DA recused himself and his office. Three defense attorneys from Houston were appointed as special prosecutors and a retired judge brought in on his case. Stay tuned for further developments.

Congratulations to Katie Bishkin of Dallas for a big trial court reversal out of the Ft. Worth Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that the domestic violence memo program D completed was an “authorized pretrial intervention program” and therefore immediately expunction eligible as a matter of law. As officemate Danny Clancy pointed out, this was the first time a Texas court of appeals has taken up the issue of what it means to be an authorized pretrial intervention (or diversion) program within the meaning of the expunction statute: “The takeaway here is that so long as your client is being supervised by CSCD while participating in a diversion program (and assuming the DA does not require a waiver of right to expunction), he or she should be expunction eligible immediately upon completion of the program and dismissal of the case.” Kudos, Katie, for setting the bar a little bit higher.

Shout out to assistant PD Shoaib Daredia and Chief PD Rick Shumaker of the Bowie County Public Defenders Office for their work on a two-count indecency by contact case. The jury returned a not guilty on Count 1, touching of the breasts, and guilty on Count 2, touching of the genitals. State asked for at least ten years in punishment and offered ten years pretrial. The jury returned a punishment of 4½ years. Rick notes that the CAC interviewer claimed that in 1,600 interviews she “had never been wrong in her opinion that the child’s ‘behavior’ was consistent with having been sexually assaulted.” Such perfection is commendable. Good job, team, on a tough assignment.

Congrats to Laura McCoy of Mount Pleasant for her win the second time around on an indecency with child – sexual contact. Laura was court-appointed last November in the case, which ended in a mistrial (8 NG, 4G). D was a 71-year-old man accused by his step-great-grandson of fondling him . A step-grandson testified at the first trial in regards to crazy extraneous offenses under article 38.37, but he moved to California and the State didn’t get an out-of-state subpoena for him for the retrial. Laura credits Hilary Sheard for coming through in the clutch with an outline that helped her keep out that prior testimony. The jury only took an hour to return a not guilty verdict. Laura says she used the Tylenol example from David Ball’s new criminal defense book in voir dire and closing arguments, her first time trying it, and it proved effective. Way to go, Laura.

Kudos to Steve Gordon and Brian Salvant of Fort Worth for their efforts in a capital murder trial leading to a LWOP for D, convicted of murder during a violent fight in a burglary attempt. Jury returned the verdict after just two hours deliberating. Congratulations, guys, for saving another life.

Shout out to John Gioffredi for a righteous decision in a recent DWI trial in Denton. With a .20 breath test, there was no application for probation, a 12-hour sentence, and$0 fine. Judge Vahlenkamp credited her with 12 hours back time, with a 180-day DL suspension, 90 days credit for ALR suspension. So all she has to do is pay $354 in court costs. Nice work, John.

Congratulations to Juan Ramon Flores of Laredo, sitting second chair to Fausto Sosa on a murder trial muddied by circumstance: a jail call from co-defendant to defendant recorded by State and introduced, on theory that conversation involved them laying out an alibi. Later, when D arrested, State theorized, the exculpating statements he made to investigators matched the jailhouse calls. Court allowed the calls to come in. All’s well that ends well, though: Jury deliberated for four hours and came back with two of the two-word verdicts (for Murder and Burg habitation with intent to commit OTH felony). Kudos, guys, especially considering the trial’s particulars.

Kudos to Lane Haygood for a big win in Runnels County District Court. D was a school teacher indicted on two counts of indecency by contract. As Lane described events on the listserve: “DA indicted both cases with the date of November 11, 2016, knowing his proof was going to show September 2, 2016, for Count One and November 11, 2016, for Count Two. Used that to back-door in extraneous offenses over my objection that the State could have amended the indictment as soon as it knew of the variance in the dates and shouldn’t be permitted to use Texas’s liberal ‘on or about rules’ to provide notice of one date and then prove another when the State knows, ahead of time, that there is a variance problem.” Lane did force the State to make an election, and everything did work out in the end. After 3½ hours of deliberation, a “very fair-minded jury” returned two not-guilty verdicts. Congratulations, Lane, on a good win in a tough case.

Previous Story

November 2017 Complete Issue – PDF Download

Next Story

Federal Corner: Maintaining a Premises for the Purpose of Manufacturing or Distributing a Controlled Substance – By F. R. Buck Files Jr.

Latest from Columns