McCoy v. Louisiana – Following Your Client’s Instructions

On January 16, I wrote about McCoy v. Louisiana a case where defense counsel argued that his client was “crazy”. This was a triple homicide where the evidence for guilt was overwhelming. The defendant, Robert McCoy, nonetheless maintained his innocence and instructed his lawyer not to concede guilt. Convinced of his client’s guilt and perhaps… Read more

Franks v. Delaware – Material Omissions v. Misstatements?

Franks v. Delaware – Material Omissions v. Misstatements? In Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), the Supreme Court held that a defendant may challenge the validity of a search warrant affidavit and is entitled to an evidentiary hearing if the veracity challenge is supported by a specific offer of proof.  The challenge must allege… Read more

Inconsistent Reasoning from the Court of Appeals

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals told the defendant he was wrong for requesting a jury instruction that could have helped him. Blithely ignoring its own reasoning, the Court provided a separate jury instruction, that could only have helped the State. There appears to be little even-handedness in this opinion and it telegraphs a dangerous message… Read more

Not Guilty: DWI Blood Test More Than 0.15

TRIAL REPORT – DWI Blood Test More Than 0.15 Court:  Travis County Court at Law Number 6 Judge Brandy Mueller Offense:  DWI First with BAC greater than 0.15 g/dl Offense Level:  Class A Prior Convictions Admitted? None Did Defendant Testify? Yes Offer prior to trial:  1 Day Travis County Jail + $1,000 fine + Court… Read more

Cross-Racial Eyewitness Identification

Despite the numbers of reported media accounts of Eye Witness Identification leading to false convictions, misidentification is not a defense set out in the Texas Penal Code and Texas law does not authorize a trial court to give a Cross-Racial Eyewitness Identification Instruction to the Jury. Courts are concerned that a written instruction to the… Read more

Presentation on Scaled Questions

Scaled Questions are an excellent way to remove biased jurors from the panel. A scaled question asks jurors to respond to a statement and rank how strongly each juror agrees or disagrees with the statement. I like to use a scale of 1 to 8 with “1” being strongly disagree and “8” being strongly agree…. Read more

Boating While Intoxicated Dismissed

Client was having a peaceful afternoon on the lake with friends.  It was beautiful.  The boat was safely moored and everyone was having a good time.  After a few hours, Game Wardens with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department came by to conduct a water safety inspection.  They came up along the port side and… Read more

New Non-Disclosure Law Available for DWI Probation

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New legislation allows for a DWI probation to be sealed with an Order of Non-Disclosure.  The new law is retroactive and applies to first-time DWIs where probation was successfully completed.  There is a two-year waiting period after completion of probation.  If there was a breath test, the blood alcohol concentration must have been less than 0.15… Read more