Showing posts from April, 2011

Buck Files for State Bar President

Normally, criminal law attorneys (whether prosecutors or defense attorneys) don't get all that wrapped up in State Bar elections.  Usually the candidates that are running are civil lawyers that we criminal law folks have never encountered in a professional setting. This year, however, that has changed with Tyler-based Criminal Defense Attorney, Buck Files , running for president of the State Bar. I don't know Mr. Files, personally, but I have gotten numerous endorsements of him from both defense attorneys and prosecutors.  My understanding is that, if elected, Mr. Files would become the first Bar President to serve who worked in primarily in the criminal law arena. So, if you haven't voted in the Bar Election, please hurry up and do so.  It is a rare opportunity for those of us who practice in the CJC to have our interests represented by one of our own. You can vote by going to this website: The deadline is May 2nd.

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (4/28/11)

Todd Dupont and I will be back on the air tonight with Reasonable Doubt at 8 p.m..  Our guest will be the Reverend John Craig Still.  As always, you can watch it online by clicking here .

New Chronicle Blog Post

This is probably the most untechnological way of "linking a blog", but there is a new post on my Chronicle website about Charles Sebesta and the Anthony Graves case.  You can get there by clicking here .

Todd Dupont's Eulogy for Tody Dupont

For those of you unable to attend Tody Dupont's Memorial Service last week, you missed a very heartfelt and heartwarming eulogy given to him by his son, Todd.  Todd did an amazing job of saying goodbye to his father, law partner and friend.  I don't believe I could have done the same thing in his shoes, and I greatly admire him for his delivery of this eulogy: Thank you all for coming.  And “thank you” First Baptist Church, for allowing us the privilege and honor of being able to formally remember Tody in a place he called home.  I am speaking on behalf of all of our family today. I have written many summations in my legal career.  But, having to prepare a eulogy, a summation, for our father’s–my law partner’s–incredible life has truly been daunting. The truth of the matter is I have always, secretly, hoped to be able to have a lifetime to draft these words. Yet, God had something else in mind. As one can understand, either through imagination or, worse, experience, the

Mr. Casey Goes to Jury Duty

Rick Casey has a column in today's Chronicle about his recent experience of serving on a jury panel in the 182nd on a drug case.   It is a well-written column, but I can't help but notice how genuinely amazed Casey seems to be with the process of voir dire.  It strikes me as rather ironic that he would seem so out of his element in jury selection considering how often he writes with such authority and indignation over the way "the System" works. Casey interprets his experience on the jury panel as something very telling of the community's thoughts on the "Drug War", when in reality, it sounds like just another typical day of picking a jury to me. The article is entitled (in print) as "Conscientious objectors in the war on drugs", and he goes on to describe the First Degree Felony of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver 4-200 grams as a "low grade felony". I sincerely doubt that the Defendant on trial (who

New Post on the Chronicle Blog

I've been totally slipping in my duties as a two-timing blogger.  I've been trying to keep up on this website, but the one over at the Chronicle has been lagging. But, I do have a new post over there that I just put up about Fly-By-Night Internet Law Firms giving out bad legal advice to people seeking to "Clear" their records. You can check it out by clicking here .

Joe Roach

We were all saddened to learn today of the passing of Joe Roach , a long-time defense attorney, former prosecutor, and Houston City Councilman. Joe was a familiar face at the CJC and was well-known advocate for his clients.  He was smart, persistent and good in trial. At the time I first met him, he was long since past his days as a prosecutor and a City Council member, but he loved to tell stories about his time with the Office.  If I recall correctly, he told me that he had made Felony Chief in under four years. He always had a kind word and always asked about my son.  I always appreciated that.  I will miss seeing him around the courthouse. My condolences go out to his wife and three children.

Memorial Service for Tody Dupont

A Memorial Service for Tody Dupont has been tentatively set for Tuesday, April 19th at 10:00 a.m. at 1st Baptist Church of Houston. I will keep this post updated with details and any possible changes to this plan.

Tody Dupont

I'm sorry to report that our Criminal Justice Community has lost one of its long-time members today with the passing of defense attorney Tody Dupont.  Mr. Dupont was the father of one of my best friends, Todd Dupont, who practiced with his Dad.  He had been in a car accident earlier this month, but his prognosis had been positive.  Today's news is just as surprising as it is sad. I wish I could fill a long post here with stories of Mr. Dupont, but I actually only personally met him once or twice at the crawfish cookouts that he and Todd threw together.  I did know his reputation as one of the well-known legends of Decades Past.  Most of your seasoned attorneys around the CJC knew Mr. Dupont and spoke very highly of him. But more importantly, I know that Todd spoke so highly of his father.  Todd has always been so proud to be working with his father and loves telling stories about his Dad's cases.  I'm a first-generation lawyer in my family, and I've always been

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (4/14/11)

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt has been cancelled due to the passing of Tody Dupont, father of our host, Todd Dupont.

By Reader Request -- "Deferred Adjudification"

Okay, so I'm nothing if not responsive to Reader Requests. A friend of mine sent me an e-mail suggesting that I do a post on how many different ways people mispronounce "Deferred Adjudication" in court.  I've heard it mispronounced a couple of times over the years, with the most common way, obviously, being "Deferred Adjudification". As a side note, if you want to mess with a seasoned prosecutor or defense attorney's head, wait until they just finished a bench conference with the judge, walk up to them, and say, "Um, I can't believe you just pronounced that deferred adjudification."  They will deny it, get very embarrassed, and then spend the next fifteen minutes wondering whether or not they really did that in front of a judge. Trust me, I did it to Denise Nichols once when she was my Three in Judge Davies' court. But I digress. There are obviously numerous terms in our system that get blundered by (usually) Defendants, but a

Okay, Let's Talk About Something Different . . .

Okay, my friends, I'm trying to shake off the week-long funk I've been in, and get back to talking about some more Harris County-relevant topics here. Last week, a popular blog known as "The Daily Beast" (which is somehow affiliated with Newsweek Magazine) published a glowing article on Pat Lykos , calling her the "Texas Capital Punishment Avenger". I was alerted to the article being published by our friend, Brian Wice, who wanted to make sure that I saw his "Joan Collins on her menstrual cycle" comment. I had known the article was coming, however.  The author of it, Ben Crair, had contacted me and we had spoken between 30 to 45 minutes about my thoughts on Lykos. Now, keep in mind, whenever I get interviewed by a member of the media about my thoughts on Lykos and the job she is doing, I'm the first person to acknowledge that I've got my biases.  And I did so in my talk with Crair. I told him of my issues about what she has done to

Mental Health

I went to the funeral yesterday in Waxahachie for Robert Morris.  He was my friend's father and a man that I had spent a lengthy amount of time on the phone with about his son.  As I've documented over the past few posts, we worked very hard to prevent the events that ultimately transpired, and we were unable to do so. I've received numerous phone calls, e-mails, and posts on the blog from friends and strangers over the past week, offering words on consolation and encouragement.  I appreciate them all so very much.  But one of the phrases that I've heard from many was encouragement to not blame myself and that I should know I did all I could. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I am terribly saddened by what happened, but I don't  blame myself. I've gone over all of the options in my mind to see if there is anything I could have done differently, and I've literally come up with nothing.  Bob Morris and his wife did even more than I could have possibly done


First of all, I want to say thank you to my friends and family members who have been very sympathetic, encouraging and supportive over the past three days in the wake of the tragedy of Sunday.  As upset and sad as I am about what happened between him and his father, my pain can only be a fraction of what his family is going through.  The struggles that they have gone through were so much more monumental than anything I did. The factor that is probably the most difficult to deal with is the feeling that no matter what, despite the best efforts of so many people, that we failed. The night I found out what had happened, I went to my sister and her husband's house.  There were a lot of tears cried, cigarettes smoked, and beers drank.  I think there can be a very helpless feeling when you know that you tried to give your best effort to something to make it work and it just doesn't happen. I was feeling pretty jaded on Sunday night.  I wrote a post that night, sitting by my sis

My Friend "Jim"

I wrote about him here and here . This was him . That's all I really have to say about this right now.


One of the truisms about being a trial lawyer is that we all steal. That is, we all steal from each other when it comes to good ideas and arguments to use in front of juries or judges.  Prosecutors steal from other prosecutors.  The closing phrase of "Find him, guilty, folks.  You won't be telling him anything he doesn't already knows" has been used in many a trial.  Vic Wisner claims to have coined that one, but I think he was just looking for royalty payments. And defense attorneys steal from other defense attorneys, copying different analogies that underline what Reasonable Doubt is. It is a regular occurrence to find that if an attorney is passing through a court when closing arguments are about to commence, that attorney will stick around to watch them.  Sometimes they watch to observe the style of the opposing attorney they might be facing soon in trial.  Sometimes they watch for sheer entertainment value.  Sometimes they stay to lend moral support on a to

New Post on Jessica Tata on the New Website

Okay, I'm not a full-fledged tech geek, so I'm not entirely sure what cross-posting is exactly, but I just published a new post on Criminal Background on Jessica Tata. You can read it by clicking here . For my more blawgosphere savvy friends, does that count as cross-posting?