Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should – Revisited

One year ago today, I wrote “Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should” to discuss the discretion of prosecutors. Prosecutors can and do choose which offenses and people they will prosecute. It’s a matter of resources. It’s a matter of proof. It’s a matter of discretion. Every case that is prosecuted requires some portion … Read more

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

Right to Bear Stun Guns

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a Massachusetts woman just might have a 2nd Amendment right to carry a stun gun. She was originally arrested, charged, and convicted of carrying a stun gun in violation of Massachusetts’s law. All agreed she bought and carried the stun gun for protection from her abusive ex-boyfriend. The Court, … Read more

Unforeseen Consequences

Criminal convictions have intended consequences. They carry punishments that include life and liberty. Convictions can cause someone to be jailed for a period of time. They can cause payment of fines and participation in rehabilitative programs. But what happens when the punishment is over? After the punishment comes the collateral consequences – the unforeseen consequences … 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

Use of Juvenile Priors

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is whether a particular juvenile prior adjudication can be used to enhance a new adult criminal charge and bar probation eligibility. Under Penal Code §12.42, felony offenses can result in enhanced punishments for those previously convicted of felony offenses. When looking at a prior juvenile adjudication, certain … 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