Shout Outs


David Michael Ryan sent a shout out to Mark Bennett and Lane Haygood for their recent NG verdict in DC441. D, an 18-year-old senior, plead out to DADJ after asking 14-year-old freshman if he is gay and wants to copulate. Mark got the statute found unconstitutional, then was retained to get D out of plea. Done. Miffed state files criminal solicitation of a minor charges. Turns out D was acting as middleman for interested party. CW admitted on cross he knew interested party, and interested party also had made a pass at CW. State finds interested party and calls interested party, whose testimony was short and sweet—and would have been really damaging, but for the fact that it contradicted both D’s and CW’s stories. This let Mark argue in closing that both D and CW were telling the truth (CW was merely mistaken in his apprehension of D’s intent), while the State’s “star” witness was a “non-truth-telling person.” Jury returned the big NG in just over 3 hours, including lunch. Congrats, gentlemen, on a job well done.

Congratulations due to Houston’s Mark Thiessen and co-counsel Ryan Deck of Round Rock for a recent win in Williamson County. D, a father of three and a former Army sniper (recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Medal of Valor), had never been arrested. He was charged with Intoxicated Manslaughter of a fetus and Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon after a terrible accident. Although the jury convicted him, they gave him probation on the charges. Mark thanked in particular his defense team: Amanda Culbertson, who helped with the blood and retrograde extrapolation (.161 blood test 5 hours after the accident), Dr. Lance A. Platt with the SFSTs, Ricardo Palcios with accident reconstruction, and Jonathan Haymon for educating everyone on what is in an El Niño at Chilis (other driver was intoxicated). In an emotional trial against tough DAs in an unforgiving county, D got his family and freedom back. Good work, team.

Kudos to warriors Gerry Goldstein and Cynthia Orr, who succeeded in getting the state’s highest court to spare the life of one of Texas’ longest-serving Death Row inmates, Pedro Sosa. Sosa has been stuck in a solitary Death Row cell for the past 33 years. Gerry and Cynthia have represented him in both Federal and State habeas actions for the past 17 years.

Congrats to Austin’s Richard Segura for recently being awarded the Adjunct Professor of the Year award at the University of Texas School of Law. The law students appreciate his hard work and supervision at the Criminal Defense Clinic!

Shout out to Jason Luong of Houston for his win in the First Court of Appeals. D was convicted of Assault-Family Member, but Jason got a reversal in the Court of Appeals. Jason credits Renee Nguyen and Stephen Aslett for assistance on the legal briefing in the case.

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