Over 8 Years of Judicial Experience
Texas A&M Graduate Class of '85
Over 25 Years experience as a practicing attorney

Read original article from Courthouse News Services here.

Two legal rights groups filed a federal class action Wednesday claiming some New York inmates with mental disabilities who served their time are illegally kept behind bars because there are no beds for them at community mental health centers.

According to the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court by the Legal Aid Society and Disability Rights New York, the Empire State’s practices have “administratively” lengthened the terms for mentally disabled inmates who have finished out their sentences but may become homeless after they leave prison.

For many crimes, in addition to proving that the defendant committed an illegal act, the state must prove the defendant’s state of mind at the time the act was committed to convict a defendant of a crime.  In most cases, the state will show intent by producing evidence that allows the fact finder to infer the defendants’ state of mind at the time a crime was allegedly committed.

Recently, in Johnson v. State of Texas, the court found that the state had produced sufficient evidence of the defendant’s intent to commit theft, based on communications and transactions the defendant had with his victims. If you are facing theft charges, you should consult an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to discuss what evidence the state has in support of the charges against you and to assess the most appropriate action going forward based on the facts of your case.

Defendant’s Contracts and Transactions

Reportedly, the defendant ran a mortuary. He did not perform cremations at his place of business but subcontracted that work to other entities. It became evident that he was accepting payments for cremations that were not performed when the defendant’s landlord visited his place of business and found several decaying bodies. The defendant was subsequently charged with two counts of theft for taking money to perform services that were never performed. A jury convicted the defendant of the charges, after which he appealed. On appeal, the court of appeals found insufficient evidence to sustain the convictions and, therefore, reversed the convictions. The state then petitioned the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas for review.

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Read the original Article from the New York Times here.
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Sundar Pichai, an engineer who rose through Google’s ranks to become its leader three years ago, faced more than three hours of questions from the House Judiciary Committee.CreditCreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Google’s chief executive, in perhaps the most public display of lawmakers’ unease with his company’s influence, was grilled on Tuesday about everything from search result bias and the data Google collects about its users to plans for a censored service in China.

Original post can be found here.

Recent rule changes in Canada regarding cannabis and alcohol could have a serious effect on U.S. travellers to Canada, as well as people who live and work there full-time. Let’s break them down.

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In this Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018 photo a vendor points to a selection of cannabis strains for sale during Kushstock 6.5 festival in Adelanto Calif. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cannabis

You have probably heard that Canada has legalized the use of cannabis. All well and good for cannabis users, but take heed:

1) If you bring cannabis into Canada and are caught with it at the border, you can be arrested for drug trafficking and barred from Canada for life. It doesn’t matter that you may have bought the pot in a state where it is legal.

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Recently, a teenage prankster who was alleged to have thrown eggs at other motorists was charged with murder after one of his alleged targets chased him and caused an accident with a third driver who died in the accident (read the full article here).

The moral of this story is that a person can be charged with ANY crime that results from that person’s conduct, even if he did not intend the more serious harm that occurred.

Under Texas Penal Code section  6.04, the law states that:

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President Donald Trump signs H.R. 2, the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018” on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 in the EEOB building in Washington, D.C.
DECEMBER 26, 2018 
Lost amid last Thursday’s tumult over a partial government shutdown, the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, and plunging stock prices was the authorization of an unprecedented bill that will end federal prohibition for one strain of marijuana.

Under Texas law, you can be convicted of a crime even if you did not actually partake in the crime if the state can show you aided in the planning and commission of the crime. This was illustrated in a recent case out of a Texas court of appeals, Wheeler v. Texas, in which the court upheld a conviction for armed robbery, based on testimony that the defendant was involved in the planning of the crime and drove the getaway vehicle, despite the fact he was not involved in the actual robbery. If you are charged with robbery, you should retain a knowledgeable Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to assess what evidence the state may introduce against you and to help you develop a plan that will provide you with a good chance for a favorable result under the circumstances of your case.

Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest and Conviction

A bank robbery occurred in December 2015. A car reportedly pulled up to a bank, and three men exited the car. One of the men was allegedly carrying a gun. A teller working in the bank ducked behind the counter and one of the men began hitting her and tried to drag her to the vault. The man then placed a gun in another bank employee’s face and demanded money. He then struck the second employee in the head with the gun and dragged her to the teller counter, where the employee proceeded to place money in a bag.

In Texas criminal courts, the state must advise the jury of the charges a defendant faces and the elements of any charge. If the charges submitted to the jury are improper, it can result in an unjust conviction or inappropriate sentence. In Walker v. Texas, the Court of Appeals of Texas held that instructing a jury on the issue of assault with a deadly weapon in a case where the defendant only used his hands during the assault was not an error, because hands could be used as deadly weapons. If you face assault charges, it is important to obtain an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to thoroughly explain all the charges and help you prepare a strong defense.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant and his alleged victim lived together for three years. They began arguing, after which the defendant allegedly grabbed the victim, threw her across the room, and placed his arm across her neck. The defendant only used his hands during the assault. The victim later testified that she wanted the defendant to stop hurting her but she was not fearful that he was going to kill her. The day after the assault, the victim met with police and sought treatment for her injuries. The police investigated the incident and ultimately charged the defendant with third-degree felony assault family violence. During the trial, the investigating officer testified that hands could be used as deadly weapons.

Allegedly, at the end of the trial, the jury was provided with instructions that included an issue regarding the defendant’s use of a deadly weapon. During deliberations, the jury stated it reached a unanimous decision on the assault charge but not on the deadly weapon issue. The state ultimately waived the deadly weapon issue and the jury convicted the defendant on the assault charge. The defendant appealed. On appeal, his conviction was affirmed.

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WASHINGTON (CN) – Justices Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor teamed up for a dissent Monday after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal over forensic witnesses in criminal trials.

breathalyzerEarly on in the 4-page opinion, Gorsuch quotes precedent to laud cross-examination as possibly “the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.”

“The Constitution promises every person accused of a crime the right to confront his accusers,” Gorsuch wrote.

Under the laws of Texas and the United States Constitution, a person cannot be tried more than once for the same offense. While the court can hold a second trial if the first trial results in a mistrial, the state cannot re-try a defendant who has been acquitted during a trial on the charges for which he or she was acquitted. In Traylor v. Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas clarified that a jury note stating the jury unanimously agreed the defendant was not guilty on a charged offense did not constitute an acquittal, and therefore, it found a second trial was permissible.  If you are accused of a crime, it is vital to retain a Texas criminal defense attorney to advise you of your rights and potential defenses for the charges against you.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with first-degree burglary of a habitation. His indictment alleged that he intentionally entered the home of his ex-mother-in-law and assaulted her. During his trial, the jury was charged on both first-degree burglary and the lesser offense of second-degree burglary. A conviction for first-degree burglary required a finding that the defendant used a deadly weapon, while a conviction for second-degree burglary did not. After some deliberation, the jury advised the court via a note that the votes were unanimous for a finding of not guilty on the first-degree burglary charge and that there were five votes for guilty and seven for not guilty on the lesser charge. The court asked the jury to continue deliberating.

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