Can My Client be Impeached with Prior Juvenile Adjudications?

Well, generally, no, but it depends. (Don’t you just love that answer!) Texas Rules of Evidence, Rule 609(a) speaks generally to impeachment with criminal convictions. Juvenile adjudications are not criminal convictions, and are therefore, generally not admissible for impeachment purposes. Rule 609(d) specifically addresses juvenile adjudications: (d) Juvenile Adjudications. Evidence of a juvenile adjudication is … Read more

Mentoring Should Be Mandatory

In the practice of law, mentoring should be mandatory. This is especially true in criminal defense where life and liberty are on the line in each and every case. Some lawyers practicing criminal defense simply hung a shingle and opened a practice. Others are former prosecutors. In either instance, mentoring is key. Prosecutors know how to … Read more

The File: Whose is it?

Important information for attorneys and their clients. Clients: know the file is yours and you are entitled to it (with a possible exception for some materials). Attorneys: know what to turn over and when. Common Attorney Questions: My client (or former client) wants a copy of his file, can I charge him copy fees to … Read more

DNA Errors: Big Deal or Not?

Have you seen the news? The FBI has announced errors in its database which is used across the nation and in Texas. In two prior blog posts (on separate sites), I addressed this issue. August 7, Just How Accurate is DNA?, HCCLA.org (with memo downloads) September 18, FBI DNA Calculation Errors, HCCLAtv.com Today, Fox 26 News … Read more

Can My Lawyer Give Information About My Case to My Momma?

Confidentiality Lawyers owe a duty of confidentiality to their clients. Lawyers cannot ordinarily reveal confidential information to anyone, absent the client’s consent. Sometimes momma (or daddy or wife or brother or anyone else) will call the lawyer to “see what is happening” or “see what is going to happen.” Often this is simply because the … Read more

Why One Lawyer Shouldn’t Represent Co-Defendants

Conflict Question Often Asked: Can I represent co-defendants? The short answer: maybe you can, but generally you should not. The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct address this and other issues attorneys face. Rule 1.06: A lawyer shall not represent opposing parties and a lawyer shall not represent a person if the representation of that person … Read more

To Plea or Not to Plea?

As a takeoff from my presentation today at Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s Defending Juveniles, I wanted to share an outline of how to approach advising your juvenile client to plea or not to plea. What is a Plea? In this context, a “plea” is similar to a plea-bargain in a criminal case. A “plea” … Read more

Debt to Society

How long must someone be punished for a criminal act? When is that person’s debt to society ever forgiven? In Texas, it’s a lifetime debt. Convictions for criminal acts (from a class B possession of marijuana to murder) will always remain a part of a person’s criminal record. Criminal records are available online and forever. … Read more