Constitutional Rights

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“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 [...]

Actual & Apparent Authority in Consent Searches

Consent searches are the bane of the Bryan-College Station criminal defense attorney. Next to our client's confession, the biggest headache for defense lawyers is a consent search. In the same way police are trained to obtain incriminating statements before Miranda warnings become necessary, law enforcement's first-line attack in a criminal investigation is persuading suspects to [...]

By | July 23rd, 2014|Constitutional Rights, Police Encounters|Comments Off on Actual & Apparent Authority in Consent Searches

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!

The 4-word Retort To Assure Your Client Remains Silent

I've received some law book publisher flyers lately selling their wares about how criminal defense attorneys can teach their clients to respond to police questioning and remain silent. One publication purported to address the right to silence issue presented in Salinas v. Texas, 133 S.Ct. 2174 (2013). If you recall, Mr. Salinas was a suspect in [...]

By | April 24th, 2014|Constitutional Rights, Police Encounters|Comments Off on The 4-word Retort To Assure Your Client Remains Silent

Bryan-College Station DWI Bond Conditions Violate Right to Silence

Persons accused of DWI in Bryan-College Station are often subject to "conditions of bond" imposed by the judge who set bond after arrest. In cases where the person is alleged to have a BAC of .15 (or above) the judges have imposed conditions including the installation of an alcohol detection device (Interlock), a driving curfew, [...]

By | November 12th, 2013|Bryan College Station DWI, Constitutional Rights|Comments Off on Bryan-College Station DWI Bond Conditions Violate Right to Silence

Tips For Face-to-Face Contact With Police

Effective police work is necessary for an orderly and safe society. But when you are the target of an investigation it's important to understand your personal rights and responsibilities.    The law does not require you to incriminate yourself, nor does it require you to help the police perform their job more effectively. If questioned by [...]

By | August 7th, 2013|Constitutional Rights, Police Encounters|2 Comments

High-Resolution Images of Our Lives

Thanks to my friend, Robert Guest, for posting this. A study published this week by the American Civil Liberties Union shows law enforcement agencies across the country are maintaing "High-Resolution" images of our lives using scanners that capture images of passing or parked vehicles, noting their location, and uploading the information to police databases. As [...]

By | July 17th, 2013|Constitutional Rights|Comments Off on High-Resolution Images of Our Lives

Remaining Silent Does Not Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent

On June 17, 2013 the Supreme Court of these great United States (SCOTUS) ruled a criminal suspect does not invoke their 5th Amendment right to silence by remaining silent. Yep, you heard that right. Long live the Constitution!   Here are the salient facts of Salinas v. Texas. Mr. Salinas was a suspect in a [...]

By | July 3rd, 2013|Constitutional Rights|Comments Off on Remaining Silent Does Not Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent

So the Police are Knocking at My Door . . . Now What?

Occasionally I'll visit the Texas District & County Attorneys Association (TDCAA) website and check on recent articles written by Texas prosecutors. I like to see what's on their mind. I even enjoy their occasional disdain for the criminal defense bar's work protecting the constitutional rights of citizens accused. Recently, I ran across an interesting article [...]

By | May 8th, 2013|Constitutional Rights|Comments Off on So the Police are Knocking at My Door . . . Now What?

A Person’s Pre-Arrest Silence Argued as Evidence of Guilt . . . Really?

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits self-incrimination. We've all heard (and can probably recite) our constitutional right to remain silent. Further, the high court's 1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona enshrined the rights of persons in police custody, subject to custodial interrogation, to remain silent. Everybody knows we have the right to [...]

By | April 27th, 2013|Constitutional Rights|2 Comments