Criminal Law Developments

/Criminal Law Developments

“Ignorance of the Law is Now an Excuse”

Here's my take on another inauspicious decision by the United States Supreme Court. It's Heien v. North Carolina, 574 U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 530, 190 L.Ed.2d 475 (2014). If you've been under a rock recently and missed the action, the upshot of the case is police officers can now rely upon a reasonable mistake of [...]

By | February 12th, 2015|"Off The Back", Criminal Law Developments|Comments Off on “Ignorance of the Law is Now an Excuse”

Using the Texas “Motion for New Trial” Like a Surgeon

On June 25, 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in Lundgren v. State, 34 S.W. 3d (Tex. Crim. App. 2014) that a motion for new trial "retroactively stayed the commencement of community supervision" until the motion was overruled by operation of law. The ruling saved Mr. Lundgren from 300 days in the Wise County [...]

By | October 6th, 2014|Criminal Appeals, Criminal Law Developments|Comments Off on Using the Texas “Motion for New Trial” Like a Surgeon

Our Cell Phones Matter to SCOTUS!

Finally, a good Fourth Amendment search and seizure decision from the United States Supreme Court.   In Riley v. California (and United States v. Wurie) the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from a person who's been arrested. Prior Court precedent held that [...]

By | June 26th, 2014|Constitutional Rights, Criminal Law Developments|Comments Off on Our Cell Phones Matter to SCOTUS!

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?

Obligations Imposed by New Texas Criminal Discovery a Fair Trade

To date, the rules governing a criminal defendant's right to discovery in Texas were draconian. Unless evidence was plainly "exculpatory or mitigating," the first time a criminal defendant saw a police report was after the officer finished testifying during trial. Even in jurisdictions with an "open file" criminal discovery policy, prosecutors were reluctant to provide [...]

By | January 2nd, 2014|Criminal Law Developments|4 Comments

2011 Amendments to the Texas Expungement Statute May Help Clients Erase More Mistakes

Some 2011 changes to the Texas expungement statute may give folks opportunity to successfully expunge separate offenses arising from a single arrest event. Prior to September 2011, the Texas statute  [Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, art. 55.01(a)] had been interpreted by courts to disallow the expungement of separate offenses arising from the same arrest event. [...]

By | November 24th, 2013|Criminal Law Developments|Comments Off on 2011 Amendments to the Texas Expungement Statute May Help Clients Erase More Mistakes

Full Disclosure of Evidence Favorable to the Defense

In recent years, Texas has received much media attention regarding allegations of misconduct by government authorities in the prosecution of criminal cases. In response, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the State Bar of Texas have worked together to produce a 58-minute video based on the watershed U.S. Supreme Court case of Brady v. [...]

By | May 29th, 2013|Criminal Law Developments, Resources|Comments Off on Full Disclosure of Evidence Favorable to the Defense

Warrants Required For GPS Tracking

In the modern era of unmanned military planes, satellite imaging, and digital communication, it often feels as though personal privacy is fading into the past. Even local authorities can now use technology to do things James Bond would have only dreamed of twenty years ago. As it becomes increasingly simple for police to gain access [...]

By | January 8th, 2013|Constitutional Rights, Criminal Law Developments|Comments Off on Warrants Required For GPS Tracking

Texas Statute of Limitations

Several cases have come into our Bryan-College Station criminal defense office recently in which the statute of limitations (SOL) was a big question for the client. An expunction case, for instance, might not be ripe for filing until the SOL has expired. Potential clients often ask why the prosecutors took so long to indict them [...]

By | January 8th, 2013|Criminal Law Developments|5 Comments