Articles Posted in Evidence

Under the State and Federal constitutions, criminal defendants are afforded numerous rights that protect them at each stage of a criminal proceeding. The rights do not end merely because a defendant is convicted of a crime either, but protect defendants from unjust sentences as well. The Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston, recently analyzed what constitutes an unjust sentence in a case in which the defendant was sentenced to thirty-five years imprisonment for engaging in organized criminal activity. If you live in Texas and are charged with a criminal offense, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted Texas criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. Specifically, the defendant conspired with seven other individuals to commit armed robbery and theft of property with a total value exceeding $150,000.00. There was evidence presented at trial that the defendant, along with his co-defendants, planned to steal four trucks and sell them in Mexico. The defendant pleaded guilty to the charged offense, after which he was sentenced to thirty-five years imprisonment. The defendant subsequently appealed, arguing, in part, that his sentence was unconstitutional.

Protections Under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from unusual or cruel punishment, which includes the preclusion of sentences that are clearly disproportionate to the offense committed. In the subject case, the court noted that the defendant failed to preserve his right to raise the issue on appeal by objecting at trial.

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In many criminal matters, the State’s case hinges on physical evidence. Thus, if a criminal suspect alters or attempts to alter evidence during the course of an investigation for a crime, in addition to any charges arising out of the investigation, the suspect may also be charged with tampering with evidence. The Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston, recently discussed the elements of the crime of tampering with evidence in a case in which the defendant was found not guilty, and the State appealed. If you reside in Texas and are charged with tampering with evidence or any other crime, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Texas criminal defense attorney to talk about your available defenses.

Facts Regarding the Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

It is reported that the defendant was sitting in a truck on the side of the road when a police officer approached him. The officer began questioning the defendant and noticed the defendant trying to shove something under his seat. Ultimately, the officer determined that the item that the defendant was trying to place under the seat was a syringe. The officer forced the defendant from the truck and to the ground, at which point the syringe fell and broke. The officer asked the defendant if he was trying to break or hide the syringe, and the defendant responded that this was his intention.

Allegedly, the police extracted liquid from the syringe, and testing revealed the liquid was methamphetamine. The State subsequently charged the defendant with tampering with evidence and possession of a controlled substance. A jury convicted the defendant on both counts, after which he appealed. On appeal, the court reversed the defendant’s conviction for tampering with evidence. The State then filed a motion for rehearing on the tampering charge, which the court granted.

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Advances in technology have changed the way criminal cases are handled, and some advances can help a defendant prove his or her innocence. For example, in many cases, DNA testing can help prove that a defendant was wrongfully charged or convicted of sexual assault. In a recent Texas case, the court analyzed what a defendant must show to obtain post-conviction relief due to DNA evidence. If you live in Texas and are accused of sexual assault, it is in your best interest to speak with a skillful Texas sex crime defense attorney to discuss your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that the victim and her date were sitting in a car in a park when they were approached by three men. The men robbed the victim and her date at gunpoint, forced the date to exit the vehicle, and then drove the victim to a wooded area of the park where she was raped. Two hours after the assault, the victim underwent a rape examination at a hospital. The sexual assault kit was then submitted to a testing facility.

Allegedly, the defendant was identified by the victim in a photo lineup and was subsequently charged with aggravated sexual assault and aggravated robbery. He was convicted and sentenced to 45 years imprisonment. Several years later, he filed for post-conviction DNA testing. His motion was granted, and testing was conducted on the specimens collected from the victim. The test results stated that the defendant could not be excluded as a possible contributor of the DNA.

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Recently, following the eighteen year anniversary of 9/11, the United States Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs issued a press release regarding the sentencing of a resident of North Texas to 240 months’ imprisonment in a federal penitentiary for conspiring to provide support to a terrorist organization overseas. The defendant’s arrest and conviction demonstrate the FBI’s continued efforts to combat terrorism domestically and abroad. If you are a Texas resident charged with conspiracy or any other crime it is in your best interest to meet with a skillful Texas criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and what defenses you may be able to set forth.

The Investigation and the Defendant’s Arrest

Reportedly, the defendant, who is 18 years old, was arrested and charged with conspiring to prove material support to LeT, a foreign terrorist organization based out of Pakistan, following an extensive investigation by the FBI. The defendant pleaded guilty as charged. Specifically, he admitted he communicated with his co-conspirator online, encouraging the co-conspirator to join  LeT and providing him with contact information of a facilitator who could help the individual travel to Pakistan to join LeT. The defendant then contacted the facilitator, who was an undercover FBI agent, to advise that he would kill the co-conspirator if he was a spy. The defendant also stated that he would recruit additional fighters for LeT, and made arrangements with the facilitator to go to Pakistan and join LeT.

The Defendant’s Sentencing

It is alleged that during the defendant’s sentencing hearing, the FBI presented evidence that the defendant’s recent acts were consistent with a pattern of ongoing behavior. For example, the defendant repeatedly posted online statements in support of violent extremism. He also made several posts threatening to harm people who opposed his extreme beliefs and searched the internet for methods of carrying out such attacks.

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When a person is accused of a crime, he or she has the constitutional right to confront any witnesses relied upon by the prosecution. If the prosecution is permitted to rely upon testimony from witnesses the defendant has not had a chance to cross-examine, it may constitute a violation of the defendant’s rights and any conviction based on that testimony may be unjust. In a recent case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the court ruled that a defendant’s right to confront witnesses was violated by testimony from a police officer regarding information about a drug transaction involving the defendant that was provided by a confidential informant. If you are charged with drug trafficking or any other crime it is critical to retain a seasoned Texas drug crime defense attorney to assist you in presenting a vigilant defense.

Facts of the Case and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the defendant was arrested following an investigation regarding methamphetamine trafficking. Specifically, the police received a confidential tip that a drug transaction was going to take place in a parking lot. A surveillance team monitored the lot and observed the defendant pull up next to another person in a different vehicle, after which the two vehicles drove off together. An officer observed the drivers of the two vehicles meeting briefly, then driving off separately. The police began following the defendant, and after he committed a traffic violation, attempted to stop him.

It is alleged that the defendant sped up and drove away, temporarily evading arrest. The police searched the area and found a gun and a bag of methamphetamines on the side of the road. The defendant was charged with possession of methamphetamines with the intent to distribute. During the trial, the arresting officer testified that he did not actually see a drug deal happen between the defendant and the other driver. The officer then stated, however, that after the alleged drug transaction he called his confidential source, who confirmed that the transaction occurred. The defendant was convicted. He appealed, arguing in part that the officer’s testimony regarding his confidential source violated his rights pursuant to the Confrontation Clause.

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If you are involved in an accident while you are intoxicated, it can result in serious charges with significant penalties. This was demonstrated by the recent arrest of a UFC fighter who was charged with 20 crimes following a DUI related accident in which two people lost their lives. If you are charged with multiple DUI crimes following an accident you should speak with an experienced Texas DUI defense attorney regarding your available defenses.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Incident

Allegedly, the fighter was involved in a car accident in August of 2018 that caused the death of two women. The accident occurred in the early morning of August 18, 2018, on a freeway in Florida. It is alleged that the fighter veered his SUV into the path of a tractor trailer, hitting the tire of the tractor trailer and setting off a chain reaction that lead to an accident involving three other cars. The fighter then struck a guard rail which caused his SUV to propel into the path of a car, causing the car to hit the guard rail and flip over. Two of the passengers in the car were killed and the driver sustained serious injuries. The fighter and another driver were treating for injuries as well.

It is reported that immediately after the accident, a witness observed the driver throwing an object over a concrete barrier. When the police investigated the accident, they collected the object, which was a tool used to grind marijuana. The police also spoke to the fighter, who appeared to be intoxicated. Specifically, his speech was slurred, and he had an odor of alcohol. The police also noted a bag of white powder on the passenger seat of the fighter’s SUV, which was later determined to be cocaine. The police reportedly obtained samples of the fighter’s blood from the airbag and interior of his car.

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During criminal trials in Texas, it is not uncommon for either party to use demonstrative evidence such as video or audio recordings, or charts or drawings, to make issues clearer for the jury and to help the jury understand the evidence. The jury is still required to determine whether a defendant is guilty based on the factual evidence presented, however. Thus, if the State presents demonstrative evidence that induces the jury to come to a decision based on matters not in evidence, it can result in an unfair verdict. A Texas appellate court recently analyzed when demonstrative evidence goes too far, in a case in which the State showed a video of a lion at the zoo trying to eat a baby during a robbery trial. If you are currently charged with robbery or any other crime it is essential to retain a knowledgeable Texas criminal defense attorney to defend you against the charges you face in hopes of allowing you to retain your rights.

The Alleged Robbery and Subsequent Trial

Allegedly, in 2015, the defendant entered a convenience store and when no one else was around went up to the cashier and stated it was a “stick up” and that he had a weapon. He never showed the cashier a weapon, however. He then demanded money from the cashier and took food and beverages as well before walking out. He was apprehended a short time later with the items and money he stole in a backpack. He did not have any weapons when he was stopped. He was subsequently charged with robbery.

It is reported that during the punishment phase at trial, the State showed a video of a lion behind glass at the zoo appearing to attempt to eat a baby. Defense counsel objected to the use of the video, but the objection was overruled. The State then likened the defendant to the lion, suggesting he posed a threat outside of jail and should receive an enhanced sentence. The defendant was subsequently sentenced to 50 years in prison, after which he appealed.
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A Wisconsin DUI case in which police officers ordered the blood of an unconscious man be drawn for evidence without first getting a warrant was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Prosecutors argued that drawing the blood of unconscious drivers helps convict those who kill thousands of people a year in alcohol-related car accidents, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. They said the process of getting a warrant is too inconvenient and that Wisconsin’s implied consent law does not require officers to get a warrant before drawing the blood of those suspected of driving while intoxicated, including individuals who are unconscious at the time.

Under Texas law, if the evidence is insufficient to convict a defendant of a crime, he or she may be convicted of a lesser included offense. In some cases, a defendant may choose to enter into a plea bargain to a lesser included offense to avoid a possible conviction for the greater offense. Typically, either the State or the defendant will ask the court to submit an instruction to the jury regarding a lesser including offense.

As a Texas appellate court recently held, however, the court may choose to provide the jury with an instruction as to a lesser included offense regardless of whether either party requested the instruction. If you face criminal charges, you should retain a capable Texas criminal defense attorney to help you fight to protect your rights.

The Defendant’s Charges and Trial

Allegedly, the defendant was stopped by the police while he was on a bus. He submitted to a pat-down, which ultimately led to the revelation that he was carrying 332 grams of cocaine. He was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, to which he plead not guilty. The defendant did not testify at his trial but did not dispute that he possessed the cocaine. Rather, the contested issue at trial was whether the defendant intended to distribute the cocaine. During his closing, the defendant’s attorney argued that because the State had not produced sufficient evidence that the defendant intended to distribute the cocaine, the defendant was not guilty of the charged offense.

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In Texas, the State must produce sufficient evidence of a crime to support a defendant’s conviction. If a defendant is convicted despite insufficient evidence, he or she may be able to have his or her conviction overturned. For some crimes, such as assault of a family member, a defendant can be convicted based solely on the victim’s testimony.

This was explained in a recent case in which a Texas appellate court upheld the defendant’s assault conviction, despite the fact that the only evidence of the assault was the victim’s testimony. If you are facing assault charges, you should meet with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to formulate a plan for your defense.

The Alleged Assault and Trial

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with assault causing bodily injury to a family member. During the trial, the defendant’s wife testified that she and the defendant were in a car when they began arguing. At one point, the defendant threatened to hit his wife. The defendant then pulled over and struck his wife. He began driving again but pulled over a second time and pulled his wife out of the car and threw her to the ground and kicked and hit her. The defendant then left the scene and the wife called 911. During the 911 call, she reported that she and her husband were arguing and the defendant hit her in the head. The wife also testified that she felt pain due to her injuries.

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