Fugitive From Justice Writ Prevented Extradition
September 25, 2017
Filed a “Fugitive From Justice Writ” (FFJ Writ) to have a bond set for a client being held on an out of state charge in Dallas County. We told the family to let him know NOT to sign a waiver of extradition because then we wouldn’t be able to get him a bond. When held on an out of state charge, it’s important to move quickly before a waiver occurs and before the extradition hearing. It’s also a good idea to have a bond company standing by ready to post. In this case the magistrate informed us that the client’s charge was marked “no bond” by the issuing agency. Rather then accept that as final, we went back to the fugitive section and requested to see the teletype confirming the warrant. Sure enough, a bond amount was listed and we were able to get the magistrate to order that bond amount. Turns out the case had only been marked “no bond” here after a Sheriff’s Department employee called the out of state police agency and asked about whether a bond was allowed. Whomever answered the phone answered the client couldn’t bond out in Texas. That could have been anyone; it certainly wasn’t a judge. Had we taken that answer and stopped digging, our client would have been stuck in jail, lost his job and possibly his family’s home. Instead, rather than waiting a week or more in jail just for pick up, and even longer once moved, our client will bond out, go back to the job he’s worked for over 20 years and keep his life intact. Now he can travel to his court dates and handle the charges against him without losing everything.
Case “No Billed” – Places Weapons Prohibited
August 07, 2017
Client visiting from out of state was charged with carrying one of her handguns into a local airport inside a carry-on bag. She had intended to take the gun out but had overlooked it. At the airport she was stopped by TSA, arrested and booked for “Places Weapons Prohibited,” a felony. We met, discussed how it happened and prepared a packet for the Grand Jury explaining the situation and requesting that she not be prosecuted. A few months later the Grand Jury heard her case and returned a verdict of “No Bill” (meaning they decided not to indict her.) She never had to go to court, never had to face the difficult decisions a defendant faces in felony court, and now can stop reporting to her bond company and put this all behind her. It’s back to life as usual. That’s always our goal.
Case Dismissed – Felony Theft
July 25, 2017
Client was stopped at the door of a high end merchant while carrying an extremely expensive item concealed in a valise. Store cameras showed our client passing all points of sale but the loss prevention officers reached our client just before he had fully exited the premises. Prosecutor felt attempted theft could be proven but agreed the actual theft charge was weak. We argued the evidence could be suppressed based on a violation of search and seizure law – that their detention of our client was premature. That would have beaten even the attempt charge. In the end, the prosecutor agreed to a dismissal given the circumstances of the arrest and the client’s lack of criminal history. Client took a short anti-theft class online, made a donation to a local charity and the felony theft case against him was dismissed.
Case Dismissed – Resisting Arrest
June 02, 2017
Client was charged with resisting arrest. Officer’s bodycam video shows the client clearly resisted arrest. However we showed the officer never had proper reason to contact client in the first place and the client knew that. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons the client resisted arrest. Police must have valid reason for contact. Though the officer had a stated reason for contact, it simply wasn’t legally sufficient. Many prosecutors recognize when they are looking at a bad case and will offer a fair resolution. Rather than press the matter to trial or a motion to suppress, we agreed to dispose of the case via a conditional dismissal. The client would perform community service by providing a food donation to the North Texas Food Bank. Oddly, because peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and stores well for long periods, the food bank prefers peanut butter to canned goods. So a sizable peanut butter donation was made with a receipt provided to the State and the client’s case was dismissed. Our outcome was a win for the hungry people of North Texas, a conservation of resources for local taxpayers, vindication for our client and a solid example of a prosecutor doing the right thing.(It’s important to note; a prosecutor’s duty is not merely to secure convictions but to seek justice. And one of the duties of all officers of the court is to respect and preserve judicial resources. Dismissing a deficient case isn’t being soft on crime, it’s being responsible in a position of public trust. It accomplishes both of the above objectives by reaching a fair outcome for all while avoiding wasting a court’s time.)
Case Dismissed – Felony Failure to Stop and Render Aid
March 24, 2017
Client came to us on a referral from several family members with a Failure to Stop and Render Aid arising from a minor accident. As charged, our client’s offense was a felony. The client was not legally in the U.S. but his four children were all born here. His business was here as well. Many attractive plea deals would expose him to deportation. He had come to our office after indictment so we never had an opportunity to persuade the Grand Jury to No-Bill. Unique facts made it a difficult case for the prosecution. Over many months their offers improved from felony deferred to a deferred on a misdemeanor reduction. Yet we continued at every setting to seek a better result while insisting the case deserved a dismissal. The final offer was a plea to reckless driving. After rejection of that offer, the prosecutor finally agreed to dismiss upon completion of some exceedingly minor tasks by our client. No problem. Nearly ten months after his arrest, case dismissed. No felony conviction. No jail. No probation. No trial. Most importantly, the matter cannot be used as the basis for his deportation.
First Degree Felony – Evidence Suppressed
Manufacturing with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance
Jan 30, 2017
Client facing 5 to 99 years on first degree felony Manufacturing with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance. Client had been followed by undercover narcotics officers who radioed a uniformed officer to make a traffic stop. They believed our client was a dealer carrying large amounts of drugs and contraband but didn’t want to blow their cover. They also wanted to ensure they had a good stop and arrest. The 25+ year veteran officer who made the stop had our client get out of the car and did a pat down search for weapons (Terry frisk). During the search the officer quickly found a large bag of methamphetamines in our client’s pocket with much more hidden in other areas of his clothing. He also found a large amount of marijuana in client’s vehicle as well as materials for packaging and sale of narcotics. We carefully reviewed the video and filed a motion to suppress evidence based on several problems with the officer’s search. In the end, even though our client had verbally agreed to let the officer to search his pocket, the judge agreed that under the circumstances the consent was not voluntary and the search was invalid. All of the narcotics, all of the marijuana, all of the materials for packaging and sale were suppressed as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” That left the state with no evidence and the entire case was dismissed.
Big relief for our client!
Dec 07, 2016
Charge reduced, 5 years deferred
Client facing 25 to 99 years for an accusation of aggravated sexual assault of his minor child. It was a complicated situation with some rather unusual circumstances. After nearly two years of working and negotiating we came to an agreement that will allow him to return to being a father to his family. He pled to the lesser charge of injury to a child with no sex offender conditions and will be on deferred adjudication for 5 years. Dallas County takes these cases very seriously so we didn’t get this deal just by asking nicely. Above all, prosecutors in the family violence section strive to protect the children. So they don’t just hand out case reductions. We had to persuade them it was in the best interest of the child, the family and the greater community. Thanks to an understanding prosecutor and judge, today a family will be reunited.
Prisoner – Special Prosecution
Dec 06, 2016
Client is an inmate in a maximum security correctional facility. He was accused of attacking four correctional officers including the warden of his facility. The warden had blood on his face and clothing and the other three corrections officers had a variety of visible injuries. Court was being held in the county where the correctional facility is located. The prison is the area’s biggest employer. At trial the jury would be packed with people who are employed by or are very close to those employed by TDCJ. Because client is a habitual offender he faced 25 to 99 years if convicted. After much preparation and numerous trips to consult with both my client and the prosecutor, we were able to arrange a plea deal for 6 years with credit for back time for almost 2 of those years. With parole decisions the way they are my client may be out almost as soon as his other sentence ends. But even if he has to serve 4, he’s far better off than the 25 to 99 he’d have to do if we tried the case and lost. Jurors often split the range so he could have seen 40 or 50 years for a conviction. Client was smiling and fist bumping (hands and legs were in chains) when told of the deal.
Probation Violation – Burglary of a Habitation
Sep 30, 2016
Probation continued and discharged
Client was a young man on deferred adjudication (a probation in which the case gets dismissed if the probation is completed successfully). His probation was about to end. The State moved to Proceed to Adjudication (basically to revoke his probation). He had been successful on his probation except for finding new and creative ways to continue using drugs. Prior to our representation the state had already moved to revoke him once and had given him 30 days jail as a condition of continuing him on probation. Normally if a probationer continues to violate the terms of their probation the state wants to either revoke the probation, send them to treatment, or hit them with an even stiffer punishment. Our client had picked up a new drug offense in another county. Rather than allow the state to send him to treatment which would have kept him in custody well after the original end date of his probation, we were able to get him the exact same short jail term as a condition of continuing him so that his probation would end in the following month without being extended. And he would not have a felony conviction. Client was extremely happy.
Aggravated Assault With Deadly Weapon Serious Bodily Injury and Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon
Sep 29, 2016
Both cases dismissed
Client was facing 5 to 99 years after being arrested for attacking and cutting her husband multiple times with a knife. We bonded her from jail and immediately began working her cases. Early on we were able to have the serious bodily injury charge dropped. This brought her exposure down to 2 to 20 years. We also contested a Protective Order that was pursued on behalf of the husband and were able to reach the very unusual agreement to have the temporary orders extended. This helped the client maintain her parental and custodial rights in her family law matter. For the remaining charge, we worked for over a year, making our way through 3 different Family Violence prosecutors along the way. The old prosecutor would get transferred and a new one would take over the case. We had to start fresh with each new prosecutor. Because of the complicated and unusual circumstances leading to the husband’s injuries we were able to negotiate the dismissal of both cases contingent upon my client completing a Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIPP). Our client successfully completed the course and her remaining Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon case was dropped.
Abandon Child – Three counts
Sep 28, 2016
No Billed by the Grand Jury
Client was a single mother of three young children who faced three counts of a State Jail Felony after being arrested for leaving her children in her running vehicle late at night while she bought groceries. She was also the focus of a Child Protective Services investigation from this same occurrence. We helped bond her from jail and spent many hours preparing a carefully worded letter (called a packet) to persuade the Grand Jury to No-Bill the three cases (not to prosecute). Though agreeing she did violate the law, we urged a number of reasons we felt she should not be punished further. We had to wait many months for the Grand Jury but upon hearing the cases and considering our packet, the grand jury No-Billed all three cases. Our client can continue supporting her family without being burdened by a criminal record.
Manufacturing and Delivery of a Controlled Substance
Sep 27, 2016
Deferred adjudication and Continued on Probation
Client facing 5 to 99 years on two first degree felonies and one state jail felony. He had been arrested after a traffic stop revealed he was carrying a massive amount of illegal drugs in his vehicle. When we say massive, the veteran prosecutor commented it was the most drugs he had ever seen on one person. What’s worse, the client had just started probation on an assault charge from the same felony court only two days earlier. He had barely left the courthouse before picking up some three huge new cases. The client’s bonds were set at $100,000.00 on each of his three cases. The family was unable to make the high bonds and we moved quickly to have each of his bonds reduced to a maximum of $5000.00 the very next day. The State then filed a motion to revoke his probation and issued a warrant. We then had his probation changed from a felony to a misdemeanor to reflect the intent of the original plea. That allowed us to request a misdemeanor level bond. We then bonded our client on the new warrant and began to work all of his cases. We counseled our client on the many things he could begin doing to make a good impression on those who were deciding his fate. To his credit, he stayed out of trouble, changed his surroundings and began working a legitimate job. He always showed up for court well dressed. After many months we were able to get the state to agree to continue our client on probation and offer an 8 year deferred adjudication on the two first degree charges and a 5 year deferred on the State Jail Felony. If the client complies with all terms of his probation we can petition the court for early discharge after a couple of years and the case will be dismissed.
Theft $1,500 – $20,000
Feb 11, 2016
No Billed by the Grand Jury
Our client was charged with stealing around $15,000 of construction materials from a former employer. The case had been dormant for three years before being revived by our client’s arrest on an outstanding warrant. After speaking to the detective and other investigation, we presented a packet to the Grand Jury. They agreed that the case should not go forward and our client’s case was No-Billed.
No Billed by Grand Jury – 2 counts of Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon
Sep 18, 2015
We were hired by a lawyer on the East Coast to represent a young family member who faced 2 to 20 years after being charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Following a dispute, he had cornered two individuals with a knife, holding one at knife point. We received the call just moments after the client’s arrest and learned our client was being held with no bond. We immediately went to a magistrate to have bonds set and had the client released within hours. Following a careful investigation of the scene and conversations with witnesses, we developed a plan for the case which, after many months, went before a Grand Jury. We presented a packet to the Grand Jury asking for a “No-Bill” urging that the nature of conduct and circumstances did not merit felony punishment. Not only did they No-Bill the cases after reviewing our letter, they even declined to ask that the cases be filed as misdemeanors.
DWI – Trial by Jury to avoid probation
DUI and DWI
Aug 05, 2015
$500 fine only
Our client came to us on a referral shortly after we advised his family on releasing him from jail on a DWI. We had some tough driving facts and poor performance on roadside tests on video. Despite the bad video and facts, we took it to jury trial to try to avoid a long, stressful and expensive probation. Prior to trial we moved to have the jury assess punishment. We didn’t apply for probation. We successfully argued to have the open container language removed from the jury charge along with its 6 day mandatory minimum sentence. The jury came back with a guilty verdict and after a brief punishment phase sentenced our client. End result? No, probation, no jail and a $500 fine. Sometimes, even on a tough case, we can get a much better result by going to trial.
Jul 30, 2015
No Protective Order Granted – Extend TRO only
We had a hearing for a protective order against our client in Dallas County. Our client had a very good reason for her conduct and a claim of self defense as well. The circumstances were unusual, to say the least. Judges typically grant protective orders in the vast majority of cases. After testimony and cross examination of witnesses, we achieved the very rare result of no protective order granted. Instead, we made an agreement to extend the temporary orders. This made a big difference to my client as it avoided negative consequences for her in her family law case.
Jun 25, 2015
PR Bonds granted – First Degree Felony dismissed
Bond hearing on a $50,000 and a $25,000 bond on a first degree felony and a second degree felony. Judge gave us PR bonds on both cases and the first degree felony was later dismissed. It’s hard to afford a proper criminal defense lawyer when you’re locked up. Client is out of jail and back to work.
May 18, 2015
Criminal Mischief case dismissed in Tarrant County. Client had admitted to police that she had taken a baseball bat to her boyfriend’s car windshield, totally destroying it. Whether or not he deserved it was never decided. But we got the case dismissed. On the downside, my parking tab at the courthouse was $15 for 35 minutes.
Assault Family Violence
Apr 13, 2015
Our client was accused of hitting her sworn enemy on the head with a hammer. The client was a nurse and the case would have caused severe consequences to her professional prospects. We were able to get the case dismissed for a variety of good reasons.
Occupational Drivers License
Jan 30, 2015
Very difficult occupational driver’s license granted in the Dallas County Criminal Courts. Client had never had a Texas Driver License and had racked up two pages of surcharges, violations and suspensions. Filing an ODL when the client has never had a DL is not easy because almost nobody at the courthouse knows how to do it and nobody wants to let it be done. But there is a way to do it and today we did.
Interference with Emergency Telephone Call
Jan 22, 2015
Pled down to Class C, Time Served all fines and court costs
Interference with Emergency Telephone call case. Client had ripped the phone cord out of the wall as his wife tried to call police. The case was reduced to a Class C misdemeanor with time served credit for all fines and court costs.
Burglary of a Habitation
Jan 09, 2015
We helped a client avoid a felony conviction by getting him deferred on a Burglary of a Habitation case. The state had incriminating video and a signed confession. We asked the judge to lower the fine and court costs based on him being a first time offender and having steady employment. We ended up with time served on a $2500 fine plus court costs and a 33% reduction in the monthly probation fee. His savings easily paid for his attorney fees. If he’s successful on his probation the judge can let him off early so he can put this behind him. (If he’s not successful, the judge can hit him with a felony conviction and prison time).
Employee Theft and Evading Arrest
Jan 01, 2015
Our client was arrested outside the premises of his employer after a brief chase. They had video of the actions leading up to the theft and had recovered the stolen materials at the scene. They obtained a confession as well. Client faced serious immigration consequences if he took a plea bargain on these cases. Dismissals or not guiltys were the only outcomes that would suffice. After careful work on his matter we obtained dismissals on both cases.
DWI .22 Blood Test
DUI and DWI
A 56 year old commercial truck driver came to us after being arrested for DWI. He told us he had to try to beat his case because his career depended on it. On the night he was stopped he had an open container (ice cold six pack with one open), admitted drinking, his blood tested at a .22 and he admitted taking multiple prescription meds, some which cautioned against operating heavy machinery or driving. He had four handguns in the cab of his truck and a loaded .32 semiautomatic in his back pocket as well as a disassembled rifle in a duffel bag. He also had hundreds of rounds of ammo (with hollow points and tracer rounds) in his vehicle. He was stopped in a high crime (prostitution) area late at night with a hundred dollar bill hanging out of his shirt pocket. Cross examination of the officer exposed problems with the stop and arrest. Our expert’s testimony both explained the science of the blood test and demonstrated flaws in the state lab’s procedures. Further doubt was cast by flaws in the state’s paperwork and the fact that my client’s performance on the video did not seem consistent with such a high blood alcohol content. Jury trial. Not guilty. Our client was able to get another job as a commercial truck driver and go back to his normal life.
Assault on a Public Servant
No Billed by the Grand Jury
Our client came to us very upset over what he felt was unfair treatment at the hands of local police. Client was approached by three officers while he was creating a disturbance in his mother’s backyard. One of the officers expanded his collapsible baton upon approaching. Seeing this, our client feared the officers were going to beat him before arresting him. He wasn’t looking forward to being beaten. Client was not a particularly large man but strong and sturdy (like Popeye). Officers approached and tried to put him in handcuffs but client would not put his hands behind his back. Officers called for backup. Three of them dragged him still standing through the entire house and onto the front porch. Two officers received injuries and it took ten officers to finally get our client subdued and into handcuffs. They arrested him and charged him with two counts of Aggravated Assault on Public Servant. We presented a packet to the Grand Jurors using an analogy to show why our client was not at fault for the officers’ injuries. We compared the officers’ injuries to those that movers might get trying to move a large refrigerator through the kitchen. A refrigerator might cause similar injuries but it wouldn’t be because of an assault. Similarly, all our client did was resist. They may have been injured because of his resistance, but not from an assault. We asked them to No Bill him or charge him instead with resisting arrest. The Grand Jury No Billed our client and all charges were dropped. No other charges were ever filed.
DUI and DWI
Successful plea negotiation
Our client was already in jail accruing back time on a prior case and had a Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) hold as well. Her new DWI 3rd case was unresolved. Our client did not want to dispute the new case, just wanted to minimize the amount of time it would cost her in jail and prison. We arranged for the minimum possible sentence for a third degree felony allowing client to serve the sentence concurrently with her other case. We also got our client credit for all backtime to greatly reduce the amount of time in custody and speed up her parole eligibility. Additionally, we asked the judge to run court costs and fines concurrently so client will not owe money when she’s released from TDC. Everything the client wanted and more was achieved. Winning for the client is not always about winning at trial.
DWI – Accident
Not Guilty – Jury Trial
Client was a hard working man with a nice peaceful life. On the road one day he collided with a vehicle that turned in front of him, totalling his beloved sports car. He believed the other driver was at fault. However, when police arrived they believed he was at fault (perhaps because of the sports car) and immediately began investigating our client for DWI. After informing officers of his bad leg and other health problems, he attempted the roadside sobriety tests. When it became clear the officer believed he had failed the roadside tests our client decided to refuse the requested breath test. That’s a direct route to a DWI charge. We tried the case to a jury and they returned a verdict of not guilty.
Felony Probation Discharged – Case Dismissed
Discharged and dismissed
Client had been scared and on the run from her felony probation for 8 years. She was afraid the court would give her prison time for violating her probation so badly and for absconding for so long. She knew she had unfinished business with the court but carried on with her life hoping she could build a family and a future anyway. During those 8 years she had put her old ways behind her, had become a mother and begun a career as a teacher. Eventually she was arrested as a passenger in a traffic stop and brought before the court. We showed that despite there being an active warrant for her arrest for 8 years, the sheriff’s department did not do enough to try to get her into custody. Even though they had had good addresses on her, they had never come out and attempted to serve the warrant. Public policy requires that the sheriff at least try to serve such warrants. Letting cases languish without making good faith efforts to get the defendant back into custody is disfavored by the courts because it prevents people from being able to put their cases behind them. Courts recognize that many will not voluntarily turn themselves in on active warrants. The judge agreed, recalled the warrant and set the case for hearing. At her motion to proceed to adjudication hearing we presented witnesses of our client’s character, life changes and testimony that she had been in Dallas the whole time. The judge discharged the case through non-adjudication of her deferred and the case was dismissed.
DUI and DWI
Not Guilty – Directed Verdict
Our client was a business traveler who was surprised to be stopped by security while trying to catch a flight. He had inadvertently left his personal defense firearm in a carry on bag. Client was arrested on DFW International Airport property just inside the Tarrant County line. The case was filed in Dallas County as allowed by law. We had a short bench trial that ended abruptly after state’s close of evidence. We requested a directed verdict demonstrating that despite the case being properly filed, the prosecutor failed to present proper evidence regarding jurisdiction. The judge granted our motion and found the client not guilty. Memorably, after trial the judge asked the prosecutor, “You see how he tricked you?” But it wasn’t really a trick, just a tricky case for the prosecutor to prove. We got the firearm returned and the case expunged. Client continued to travel for business but was more careful about his bags’ contents.
Assault Family Violence – Felony
No-Billed and Expunged
Our client was a hard working father and husband who was awakened twice in one night, once by his wife and again by the police. He came to us after being charged with Felony Assault – Family Violence. (His case was charged as a felony because of a prior assault family violence conviction.) His wife had come home extremely drunk late at night while he was sleeping. He had to get up early for work the next day but she came into the house yelling and looking for an argument. My client was 6 foot 4 and 200+ pounds and his wife was small. Rather than argue with or assault her, he picked her up as she continued to scream, kick, and scratch, and placed her outside the house on the front porch. He kept her keys and locked her outside hoping she would sober up so he could go back to sleep. Needless to say, she didn’t want to stop there so she called the police and showed them her marks and bruises from struggling against his removal. She neglected to tell police how she’d really gotten the marks. Our client called us from jail and we bonded him out and began preparing his defense. When the case came before a Grand Jury, we presented a packet explaining the incident, injures and the surrounding circumstances. Our client was No-Billed by the Grand Jury and we later had the case expunged.
Gun in bag at Airport security
No Billed by the Grand Jury
Client was a business traveler who accidentally left his revolver inside his duffel bag when he went through airport security. TSA found it quite easily and arrested him for “Places Where Weapons Prohibited,” a third degree felony. Yes, I know it sounds odd, but that is the actual name of the charge. We prepared a packet for the Grand Jury explaining the circumstances, promising it would never happen again, etc. Our focus was to demonstrate the ‘non-criminal’ nature of the incident by showing that it was an innocent mistake, that he was simply guilty of forgetting the weapon was there and failing to remove it. Though there was more to the packet than just explaining the situation, suffice it to say that the result was a No-Bill from the Grand Jury.
Speeding with Commercial Driver License (CDL)
A commercial driver was cited for speeding on his way to work. His job was on the line as commercial drivers can’t take deferred adjudication to keep traffic tickets off their driving records. The only way to avoid conviction is to win at trial. We ordered up a jury and had a trial on the matter and were ready to follow the prosecution’s case with evidence of our own but never got the opportunity. We made a motion for directed verdict when the state failed to offer evidence on one of the elements of the offense. The judge granted our motion and entered a verdict of not guilty and released the jury. Our client kept his CDL and his job.
A professional gambler came to us with a ticket he had received for running a stop sign. He calculated the precise odds of paying the ticket versus paying us our fee and “rolling the dice” at trial. He decided to pay us to take the case to trial. His gamble paid off. We won the case not because the officer wrote the ticket for the wrong location, but because the jury felt our client wouldn’t have bothered to have a trial if he was guilty. So, we only needed to win once but we could have won this one twice.