Courtroom Trial Practice

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“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”

“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 [...]

“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”

“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”

“Quick-and-Dirty Phlebotomy Basics”

The DWI blood test case is becoming the stock-in-trade of many law enforcement agencies across the state. Whether it's a sample provided voluntarily after arrest, or obtained via search warrant following a refusal, defending blood tests are now commonplace for the DWI defense attorney. Making preparation more demanding is the technical nature of these cases. [...]

By | December 5th, 2014|"Off The Back", Bryan College Station DWI, Courtroom Trial Practice|Comments Off on “Quick-and-Dirty Phlebotomy Basics”

Know Thy Adversary – How Prosecutors are Trained to Anticipate Us

Anticipation is one of the defense lawyer's most effective tools when championing a client's criminal case. Prosecutors also get trained to anticipate us. Following are prosecutor publications written to help them anticipate our defenses in driving while intoxicated prosecutions. These are probably a "must read" for the DWI defense attorney. Want to know thy adversary [...]

By | September 22nd, 2014|Bryan College Station DWI, Courtroom Trial Practice|Comments Off on Know Thy Adversary – How Prosecutors are Trained to Anticipate Us

Good Things DO Happen When We Try More Cases

I've tried my share of jury trials, especially those trials which went terribly bad. I've been disgusted with the jury system. I've found myself, sometimes, doubting my judgment. But as time passes I've notice that good things DO happen when we try more cases . . . the right kind of cases, that is. And [...]

By | August 8th, 2014|Courtroom Trial Practice, Personal Thoughts|Comments Off on Good Things DO Happen When We Try More Cases

In Jury Selection We Go Last and That’s Our Advantage.

Prosecutors typically don't care how prospective jurors truly feel about issues related to their case. This is because most jurors are predisposed to convict someone accused of a crime. Let's face it, prosecutors wear the white hat, regular folks presume guilt, and police officers are trusted. Consequently, jury selection is simply a grooming process for [...]

By | July 9th, 2014|Courtroom Trial Practice|2 Comments

2014 Changes to Texas Rule of Evidence 902

Effective September 1, 2014, the service requirement of Texas Rule of Evidence 902(10) will change by order of the Supreme Court of Texas. (See p. 426 of the May 2014 Texas Bar Journal) Currently, 902(10) Business Records Accompanied by Affidavit allows the self-authenticated admission of "such record or records along with such affidavit [when] filed with [...]

By | May 6th, 2014|Courtroom Trial Practice, Criminal Law Developments|Comments Off on 2014 Changes to Texas Rule of Evidence 902

Does the Supreme Court Rule Defense Counsel Must Now Hire “Believable” Expert Witnesses?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that Anthony Ray Hinton's criminal trial attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel when he failed to utilize available funding to hire a "competent expert to counter the testimony of the prosecution's expert witnesses." Note Mr. Hinton's trial counsel did hire an expert. Trial counsel did call this expert to [...]

By | February 25th, 2014|Courtroom Trial Practice, Criminal Law Developments|Comments Off on Does the Supreme Court Rule Defense Counsel Must Now Hire “Believable” Expert Witnesses?