Case Results for the Week of December 9, 2013 – Harris County

State of Texas v. SL – Possession of a Controlled Substance – DISMISSED – Client was a passenger in a car that was stopped in a parking lot.  The police detained the client and the other occupants because they “looked suspicious” and then the officer searched the vehicle and found drugs.  Because the drugs were seized as the result of an illegal detention, the case had to be dismissed.

State of Texas v. JJ – Assault on a Family Member – DISMISSED – Client was wrongfully accused of striking his wife in the face multiple time with a closed fist.  This was a simple family argument that got out of hand and resulted in my client being accused of assault.  The complainant had no visible injuries to substantiate the claims that were made.

State of Texas v. JT – Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon – DISMISSED – My client got a call that a family member was very ill and wouldn’t have too long to live.  My client booked the next flight out of town, threw a change of clothes in a back pack and rushed to the airport. While going through security, TSA spotted a gun in my client’s backpack that he did not remember was there.  My client immediately apologized and admitted that he had forgotten to take the gun out of the backpack.  Instead of allowing the client to put the gun in his car, the police arrested and charged him.  The state could not prove the essential element of “Intent” required to get a conviction, so the state properly dismissed the case.

State of Texas v. RR – Felony Retaliation (set for trial), then refiled as a Misdemeanor Interfering with Public Duties the day before the trial was supposed to start. – DISMISSED – The client was pulled over for not wearing his seatbelt.  When the officer asked my client why he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, my client tried to explain that he was not required to because he was operating a Farm Truck which was exempt from the seatbelt requirements.  The officer started making fun of the way my client talked because he had recently recovered from a stroke.  My client requested a supervisor and in no uncertain terms told the officer the “kiss his ass” for making fun of him.  The officer wrote my client the ticket and then started to leave after my client signed the promise to appear.  My client decided that he wanted to wait for a supervisor and therefore, stayed on the side of the road.  The officer got back out of his car and began to order my client to leave.  They began to argue, so the officer shot my client with a taser.  The taser did not affect my client because he has a metal rod in his back, so my client pulled the prongs out of his arm and started to walk back to his truck.  The officer took it upon himself to take my client to the ground and then tased him multiple times before handcuffing and arresting him.  While the officer was putting my client in the car, my client made a comment that treating people the way this officer did could result in him being shot.  The officer claimed he felt threatened and requested a felony charge from the district attorney.  The client was originally given an appointed lawyer who didn’t believe in the case or the client and was constantly trying to get the client to plead guilty.  The client refused and the case was set for trial.  I was hired on the case and completed my investigation.  I found where this same officer had been involved in previous incidents indicating that he was loose cannon.  The felony case was dismissed the day before trial after the state offered to reduce the case to a misdemeanor and offered the client no jail time and no fine.  The state refiled the case as a misdemeanor.  We continued to fight and refused to back down.  Ultimately the case was dismissed.

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Case Results for the Week of December 2, 2013 – Harris and Montgomery County

State of Texas v. AM – Possession of Marijuana – DISMISSED – Client was a passenger in a car that was stopped for a traffic violation.  A small amount of marijuana was found in the car.  All occupants were charged with possession.  We were able to show the state that they could not affirmatively link the marijuana to our client.

State of Texas v. BP – Aggravated Assault of a Family Member with a Deadly Weapon (25 to Life Habitual Offender) – 9 years TDC with 1 year credit – Client was accused of getting into a fight with his girlfriend. She claimed that the client beat her until there was a hole in her cheek, causing facial fractures and knocking teeth out.  The complainant then alleged the client took a gun and pistol whipped her, loaded a round in the chamber, stuck the gun in her mouth, and then threatened to “blow her head off”. The first offer from the State was 35 years.  We were able to work out a deal on the eve of trial for 9 years with credit for all the time the client had to serve.  Had we lost at trial, the minimum sentence would have been 25 years and the maximum would have been life.

State of Texas v. KB – Bond Reinstatement – Client was on bond for two serious felony cases and was alleged to have violated bond by testing positive for marijuana.  We were able to convince the judge to reinstate the bond and release the client from jail.

State of Texas v. CR – Bond Reinstatement – Client was on bond for felony Possession of a Controlled Substance.  Client was accused of violating bond by failing to report to the bond supervision office.  We were able to convince the judge to set a new bond and to remove the bond supervision requirement.

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Case Results – week of November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving week was pretty quite at the courthouse.  However, we still got some good results for clients:

State of Texas v. OG – Possession of Marijuana – DISMISSED – Client was charged with possessing a very small amount of marijuana.  This was the first time the client had ever been in trouble with the law.  We were able to work out an informal agreement which resulted in the case being dismissed.

State of Texas v. SS – Fail to Identify to a Police Officer – DISMISSED – The client was accused of lying about his identity during a traffic stop. For the State to convict a person of the offense of Fail to ID, they must prove that the accused was lawfully detained and that they lied about their identity.  This is a Class B misdemeanor unless the accused has an outstanding warrant, then the charge is a Class A misdemeanor.  My client did not lie about his identity, he merely stuttered when giving his date of birth because he was nervous.

State of Texas v. EQ – Displaying a Fraudulent or Counterfeit Inspection Sticker – DISMISSED – The client was pulled over by the police because the officer claimed that the client had a counterfeit inspection sticker.  The client did not know the sticker was fake and we were able to get the State to dismiss the case.

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Filing False Tax Returns Will Land You In Prison

Tax by Renjith Krishnan

Illustration by Renjith Krishnan – freedigitalphotos.net

Ever so often, you will come across an article in the paper or a news story on TV about someone failing to file taxes, failing to declare income, or filing a false tax return.  While sometimes it can be an honest mistake, an intentional act will land you in prison.

In today’s Houston Chronicle, there was a story about a federal jury in Austin, TX finding former NFL player, Greg Boyd, who filed income taxes alleging that he earned no income for 2004, 2005, and 2006, guilty of tax fraud.  His defense to the allegations: “A book told me that only federal employees, federal contractors and investors in federal securities owed income taxes.”  In my opinion, this argument is so far-fetched, it is absurd.  It is understandable that someone might claim the wrong amount for a deduction or accidentally take a tax credit when they are not entitled to do so.  However, claiming that only persons who have some sort of connection to the Federal Government have to pay taxes just doesn’t pass the “smell test”.  Because of this “mistake”, Mr. Boyd is facing up to three years in the federal prison on each count.  I can only assume he will receive much less of a sentence as long as he doesn’t have any prior criminal history that will increase his criminal history level in accordance with the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

In Mr. Boyd’s case, the Government was required to prove that, Under 26 U.S.C. § 7206, Mr. Boyd made and subscribed a return, statement, or other document which was false as to a material matter; and that the return, statement, or other document contained a written declaration that it was made under the penalties of perjury; and that he did not believe the return, statement, or other document to be true and correct as to every material matter; and he falsely subscribed to the return, statement.

The only element that would have been contested here was whether or not Mr. Boyd believed the return, statement, or other document to be true and correct as to every material matter.  Without a plea of guilty or confession by the defendant, only the trier of fact (The Jury) can decided if this element was met or if they believed his defense that he relied on a book.

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Case Results – week of November 18, 2013

State v. GA – Theft by Check – DISMISSED – The client accidentally wrote a check and had insufficient funds in the checking account.  Here the state would have to prove that the client knew the check was bad and intended to pass the check to obtain merchandise with no intention of paying for it.  The state was unable to prove the material elements of the offense and in return, dismissed the case.

State v. MG – Assault on a Family Member – Protective Order Amended – The client was charged with assault and the state requested a protective order be issued that would keep the client out of the residence.  We were able to request a hearing and as a result were able to remove the language in the protective order that prevented the client from going within 200 feet of their own residence.

State v. PW – Possession of a Controlled Substance – CHARGES REDUCED – Client was charged with possession of methamphetamine and had a prior criminal history that would have caused him to serve 2 – 20 years in prison if convicted.  We were able to work out a deal that would allow him to plea to a reduced charge and receive a sentence of six months with credit for the time that he has already served.

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Case Results – week of November 11, 2013

After taking a two week vacation, I came back ready to fight the state and got some great results for my clients.

Over the last two weeks, I was able to convince a Harris County Grand Jury to refuse to indict three of my clients who were charged with various felony offenses:

State of Texas v. AM – Sexual Assault of a Child – My client was wrongfully accused of having sex with a teenage neighbor. My client maintained his innocence and passed a polygraph. The accuser claimed in her video interview that she could not remember having sex with my client, but “felt like she had”. Shoddy police work or as the result of malicious intent by the investigator, this fact never made it in the offense report, which cause my client to be charged with this horrible crime. I was able to present to the grand jury what my investigation revealed and the grand jury cleared my client of all charges. The police investigation was done by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

State of Texas v. KB – Deadly Conduct – My client was charged with deadly conduct for shooting at a vehicle that was occupied. My client should never had been arrested. He discovered a burglar breaking into his car and when he confronted him, the burglar pointed a gun at my client. My client shot back in self defense and to protect his property. In Texas, a person is legally allowed to use deadly force to protect himself and to protect his property from theft in the night. A stray bullet struck a car that was driving through the parking lot. Nobody was injured as a result of the shooting. My client called 911 for help, but when the police arrived, they refused to investigate the burglary and detained my client. The police accused him of being a drug dealer because he was a black man with tattoos and drove a nice car. I was able to present a summary of the law and the evidence to a grand jury and my client was cleared of the charges. This police investigation was conducted by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

State of Texas v. MO – Assault of a Family Member – My client was charged with Assault on a family member as a second offender. In Texas, if you have ever pled guilty or have been found guilty of a domestic violence charge, then you will be charged with a felony offense. In this case, my client was not the aggressor and only pushed the complainant away when she was trying to assault him. According to the police report, the prosecutor that reviewed the case accepted the charges because the wife had more injuries than my client and she called the police first. The grand jury reviewed the States case as well as the defense perspective and refused to return a bill of indictment. The police investigation was conducted by the Houston Police Department.

Other results this week are as follows:

State v. RJ – Terroristic Threat – DISMISSED – The alleged threat was a “conditional threat”. In Texas, for a person to be guilty of Terroristic Threat, the must make a threat that is imminent and not based on a future occurrence. For example, If I tell the county commissioner I will beat him up unless he paves the road in front of my house, then I would not be guilty of Terroristic Threat because he can avoid me beating him up by paving the road.

State v. LR – Assault on a Family Member / Domestic Violence – DISMISSED – My client was charged after her girlfriend came home drunk and started a fight. A mutual fight ensued and my client ended up going to jail and being charged. It is a defense to assault if the accuser and the accused are engaged in a mutual combat situation. The state made the right call and dismissed the case instead of setting it for trial.

State v. AC – Assault on a Family Member and Injury to a Child – Both cases DISMISSED – The client was wrongfully accused of hitting his baby’s mother and was accused of hitting the baby while the mother held the baby. No marks were observed on the mother or the child, but it was still enough for the Houston Police Department to bring felony charges. The state dismissed the charge when my client refused to plea and demanded a trial.

State v. JM – DWI with 2 prior DWI’s – REDUCED to misdemeanor – Client was charged with a DWI and had already been convicted of 2 prior DWI’s. In Texas, a 3rd DWI is a felony. The client looked pretty good on video and the blood results (over 2X the legal limit) did not match how the client looked on video. The state offered probation on a misdemeanor and the client chose to avoid the risk of a felony conviction at trial and a possible prison sentence if we lost.

Department of Public Safety v. PS – We fought a license suspension for a client accused of refusing to give a breath sample after being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and we were able to prevent DPS from suspending the client’s license.

State v. RR – Retaliation – DISMISSED (Set for Trial) – Client was charged with the felony offense of Retaliation for allegedly threatening the officer who arrested him after the officer beat the client and tased him multiple times. The client only told the officer that he whished he would have the same bad luck of a police officer who had been shot over a decade ago when this arresting officer was still in grade school.

State v. AS – Injury to a child – REDUCED to attempted endangering of a child (Set for Trial) – Client was charged with the felony offense of Injury to a Child. After the case was investigated and eventually set for trial, we were able to show the state that the more appropriate charge would be a misdemeanor charged of attempted endangering of a child, which is a Class A misdemeanor. This was an appropriate result for this case and the client was happy to prevent the risk of a felony conviction.

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