Category Archives: Arrest and Indictment

Attacks on Police in Texas are Hate Crimes under 2017 Police Protection Act

Look in the dictionary and “hate crime” is defined as any crime that is motivated by hostility towards the victim because he or she is a member of a specific group (like gender, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation). The FBI has its own definition:  a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in…


Speedy Trials in Texas: Prosecuting “Killer Nurse” Genene Jones for 1981 Crime

Do you remember where you were in 1981?  Were you even alive in 1981? Let’s think back … 1981 was the year: President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley; the CDC recognized the first five cases of AIDS in five homosexual men diagnosed with a “rare form of pneumonia” in Los Angeles; Donkey Kong…


When Sexting is a Crime in Texas

Last Friday, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner pled guilty in a federal court to the felony charge of transferring obscene material to a minor as part of a plea deal. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 8, 2017.  It’s understood that as part of the plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office,…


New 2017 Federal Drug Policy from Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Last week, the Attorney General of the United States sent a memo to all the Offices of the U.S. Attorney General around the country, including the one overseeing the Northern District of Texas that prosecutes federal crimes here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It’s a big deal for anyone facing criminal charges here in Texas,…


Forensic Evidence Is Not Trustworthy but Prosecutors Love It: The News This Week

This week heralds the end of the National Commission on Forensic Science, a group of experts entrusted with evaluating forensic science methods that are being brought into courtrooms by prosecutors all over the country.  It’s not good news.  Their job is important because so much of the current stuff labelled “scientific evidence” in criminal investigations…


Gang Crime Charges: Increasing Prosecution of Gang-Related Crimes in Texas

This week, President Trump publicly blamed former President Obama for allowing known Central American gang MS-13 to gain a foothold in the United States.  See, “Trump blames Obama for formation of MS-13 crime gang,” published by the Business Insider on April 17, 2017. Two months ago, the President signed a series of three executive orders…


Federal Forfeiture Reform: 81% Property Seized By DOJ from People Never Charged With a Crime

Last week, the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Justice published its report on federal civil forfeiture, entitled “Review of the Department’s Oversight of Cash Seizure and Forfeiture Activities.” The full report is available online and has been stored in the Michael Lowe Digital Library for your convenience.  Read it here.  …


Intellectually Disabled or Mentally Ill: Competency to Stand Trial and the Insanity Defense

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued its opinion in Moore v. Texas (read it here).  This case is not only a victory for Texas Death Row inmate Bobby Moore; it’s also a major event in Texas criminal law. Why?  SCOTUS has ruled that the Texas legal procedure for determining if…


5 Things to Know About Plea Bargains

Sometimes, the best thing to do after someone has been arrested and charged with a serious crime (or crimes) is to work out a deal with the prosecutor rather than go to trial.  This is called “plea negotiations” or “plea bargaining.” The result is the person does go before a judge for sentencing but the…


Texas Needs New Asset Forfeiture Law Reform: Spread the Word

Asset forfeiture:  yes, we’re back on the stump about it again. First, let’s talk about the status of the pending asset forfeiture reform legislation as of the end of February 2017. We wrote about this proposed legislation right around Christmas; see the details in “Will Texas End Civil Forfeiture in 2017?” 1.  Texas Senate On…