STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests or SFSTs are frequently admitted in Driving While Intoxicated trials.  Even when law enforcement improperly administers the tests, judges admit the tests and allow juries to decide how much weight to give them.  Law enforcement officers must be qualified to testify which means certified by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration… Read more

Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

In 1991 in Geesa v. State, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals accepted the federal jury charge instruction of Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, namely, that reasonable doubt “is the kind of doubt that would make a reasonable person hesitate to act in the most important of his own affairs.” Trial courts routinely instructed juries… Read more

Opioid Treatment on Probation

A Federal Judge said this week that a Massachusetts man facing a jail sentence could not be denied access to treatment for his opioid addiction believing that such a refusal violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and was cruel and unusual punishment.  Here in Travis County, Defendants can be denied medication in jail or be deemed… Read more

PUBLIC DEFENDER’S OFFICE

Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer

The County Commissioners Court and the District Attorney’s Office want to change the way indigent defendants are represented in Travis County. See, Travis County Weighs a Defender’s Office, Austin American Statesman, October 17, 2018. This new approach is based on a Report entitled Review of Drug Possession Case Dispositions 2016-2017 and Recidivism Analysis 2014-2015. One… Read more

SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME – Sometimes the Doctors Get it Wrong

Austin Criminal Defense lawyer

Shaken Baby Syndrome or Abusive Head Trauma is a severe condition that can cause death or serious bodily injury in very young children. The condition causes blood to flow under the skull and creates bruising, swelling and bleeding. We handled a case for a client who was accused of harming a child in her care… Read more

McCoy v. Louisiana – Following Your Client’s Instructions

Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer

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?

Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer

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

Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer

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

Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer

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