Steve

/Stephen Gustitis

About Stephen Gustitis

Stephen Gustitis is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a highly rated defense attorney with over 25 years experience.

“Transportation Code Section 724.017 Compliance in ALR Blood Test Failure Cases”

In Brazos County the Department of Public Safety has been using sleight-of-hand to prove up blood test results in ALR failure cases. Their conjuring attempts to correct an evidentiary deficiency in their blood test proof. Specifically, the Department tries to argue these blood test failures resulted from the suspect's "express consent" to provide a blood [...]

By | March 11th, 2016|"Off The Back", Bryan College Station DWI|Comments Off on “Transportation Code Section 724.017 Compliance in ALR Blood Test Failure Cases”

“Safeguarding the Great American Experiment”

I've been remiss. Like my fellow defense attorneys I habitually keep my head buried in court appearances, case law and statutes, cross examination preparation, closing arguments, and customer service. I've been remiss because the daily grind has so easily diverted me from reflecting on a deeper meaning in this work. Namely, safeguarding the great American [...]

By | February 15th, 2016|"Off The Back", Personal Thoughts|Comments Off on “Safeguarding the Great American Experiment”

“Getting Creative – Use Kelly v. State to Challenge Any Scientific Evidence”

In a contested bond revocation hearing, not long ago, the State attempted to admit evidence our client violated a restricted zone using global positioning system (GPS) evidence. They further sought to admit evidence from a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) device that she inappropriately consumed alcohol while on bond. On the day of the hearing [...]

By | January 5th, 2016|"Off The Back", Courtroom Trial Practice, Forensic Evidence|Comments Off on “Getting Creative – Use Kelly v. State to Challenge Any Scientific Evidence”

“Forging Fear Into a Constructive Edge”

When I was prosecuting habitually barking dog cases on a 3rd-year bar card, I wondered when my fear of jury trials would ever end. That was 1989. To this day I remain uneasy and agitated the morning a trial begins. In fact, I'm miserable. Until I speak my first words during voir dire, I'm frightened. I fear [...]

By | November 21st, 2015|"Off The Back", Personal Thoughts|Comments Off on “Forging Fear Into a Constructive Edge”

“Another Nuts-and-Bolts Primer on Batson Challenges”

Batson v. Kentucky is again front and center in the United States Supreme Court. On May 26, 2015 the Court granted certiorari in Foster v. Chatman, (No. 14-8349, 2015 Term). The case is currently set for argument on November 2, 2015. In Foster, Georgia prosecutors struck all four African-American prospective jurors from the death penalty [...]

“Using SFST Validation Studies in Your Next DWI Trial”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spent many thousands of dollars on studies to develop a battery of DWI investigation tools called field sobriety tests. The studies were funded by NHTSA to validate and standardize the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk-and-Turn, and the One-Leg-Stand tests. Standardization meant developing a method of administering and interpreting [...]

By | August 12th, 2015|"Off The Back", Bryan College Station DWI|1 Comment

“Getting Jurors to Tell Us the Truth”

The United States Constitution guarantees our right to a jury trial in both the original document and the Bill of Rights.1 The same right is further guaranteed by our Texas Constitution, art. 1, sec. 15. But more precisely, each constitution guarantees the criminally accused a right to a jury that is fair and impartial. To this [...]

By | July 10th, 2015|"Off The Back", Courtroom Trial Practice|Comments Off on “Getting Jurors to Tell Us the Truth”

“A Dark Side of Practicing Law”

Trial lawyers are masters of disguise. They learn to shroud fear, surprise, uncertainty, and a plethora of other emotions that might damage their credibility with jurors or belie a position of strength with an adversary. Similarly, those same skills enable them to conceal the repercussions of a dark side of practicing law. Stress, depression, mental [...]

By | May 20th, 2015|"Off The Back", Personal Thoughts|Comments Off on “A Dark Side of Practicing Law”

“The Perfect Cross-Examination”

The perfect cross examination is there. Somewhere to be discovered, perhaps? Better yet - waiting to be built. We recognize its appearance, though. It is crisp and it's clean. Short questions compelling but one-word answers from the witness. Its logic is simple, yet compelling. The perfect cross demands the jury's attention. Through it we demonstrate [...]

By | April 12th, 2015|"Off The Back", Courtroom Trial Practice|Comments Off on “The Perfect Cross-Examination”

“On Choosing the Right Law Partner”

Joining forces. Teaming up. Going partners. Whatever you call it, choosing a law partner can be a pivotal decision in one's career. Most criminal defense attorneys practice solo, enjoying the "lone-wolf" style of life. However, a well working partnership can enhance the lives of each partner in ways that one lawyer working alone cannot. Conversely, [...]

By | March 5th, 2015|"Off The Back", Personal Thoughts|Comments Off on “On Choosing the Right Law Partner”