Showing posts from January, 2014

Snow Day!

Most attorneys (and hopefully their clients) know by now the county buildings, including the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, will be closed tomorrow (1/28/14) for the anticipated ice storm coming our way. It is funny to read the comments from my attorney friends on Facebook.  The responses are eerily similar to the ones all my friends and I had when school was cancelled for a snow day when I was in 6th grade.

UPDATED -- Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (1/23/14)

UPDATE -- Tonight's Reasonable Doubt  has been cancelled due to our guest getting bogged down in the weather.  We hope to have Mr. Mims on the show soon. Please tune in to tonight's Reasonable Doubt  at 8:00 p.m. with me, and your host Todd Dupont. Our guest will be Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association president Bobby Mims . You can watch it live streaming by clicking here .

Judge Brad Hart's Take on the Differentiated Docket System

Editor's Note:  When I started this blog six years ago, I was a prosecutor who wanted to respond to criticism of Harris County D.A.'s Office during the Chuck Rosenthal scandal.  Over the years, as I've switched to Criminal Defense and the blog has evolved, my hope has been that the blog would become a forum where prosecutors and defense attorneys and anyone else in the CJC could share opinions and/or argue with each other without fear of repercussions for speaking out.   Most judges usually refrain from commenting (at least publicly), but I'm always glad when they offer their input.  Judge Hart has commented here before and I was glad to see him be willing to add this commentary about the Differentiated Docket System.  I wish more judges would enter the dialogue here, as well.   Here's what Judge Hart had to say: Alright, I'll throw in a few comments or 10. First, I would like to say that I appreciate HCCLA taking comments on the system. I hope that people

Anthony Graves and Charles Sebesta

Most people who follow criminal law are familiar with the names Michael Morton and Anthony Graves. Michael Morton was the man who was wrongfully convicted of Murder based on prosecutorial misconduct of then-prosecutor Ken Anderson.  He served 25 years in prison. Anthony Graves was the man who was wrongfully convicted of Capital Murder based on prosecutorial misconduct by then-District Attorney Charles Sebesta .  He served almost 20 years in prison, awaiting his execution date. In the wake of Michael Morton's exoneration, the Rules of Discovery in Criminal Law have been drastically changed and Prosecutor Anderson was (insufficiently) punished with (minimal) jail time and the loss of his law license . Charles Sebesta, however, has remained unscathed.   For reasons unbeknownst to the rest of us, Sebesta never had to face any consequences for his prosecutorial misconduct that almost resulted in the execution of an innocent man.  He has remained defiant over his behav

Cold Justice Returns

Season Two of TNT's Cold Justice , starring Kelly Siegler and Yolanda McClary premieres this Friday night at 7 p.m. Central. Unfortunately, I didn't get to participate in Season Two's filming because of being busy with chemo and babies and court and such things.  Eric Devlin and Alicia O'Neill split duties on legal consultant this time around. The first episode is centered around a disappearance in Altus, Oklahoma and Eric tells me it is going to be an awesome kickstart to the Season. Make sure not to miss it!

The Docket Control Experiment

As most attorneys who practice in the Harris County Criminal Justice Center know, several of the District Courts initiated a pilot program last fall designed to reduce the amount of settings each case had within a court.  The 177th, 178th, 179th, 230th, 248th and 351st District Courts initially agreed to try the program. The idea behind the program was that settings would be less frequent and designed to accomplish more than just a monthly check in.  The settings would also be more regimented and less flexible than the status quo  most attorneys were used to. After several months, the reviews of the program, thus far, have been mixed (to put it mildly). The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association is currently seeking input on what all attorneys see as the Pros and Cons of the pilot program, and HCCLA's President Todd Dupont (of the Louisiana Duponts) has asked me to help gather this input. I'd like to hear your input, whether you are a defense attorney or a prosecuto


I first wrote about my high school friend, Joel Morris, five and a half years ago in  this post  and again two years later  here .  When he killed his father the following year, I wrote about it  here . The long saga came to an end in a courtroom today as he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison  for the murder of his father, Bob Morris . The result is not surprising. I had been subpoenaed by his attorney to testify, but after talking to him, he decided that I probably wouldn't be helpful to Joel's case.  He was probably correct in making that decision. I've thought a lot about Joel this week.  I was a sophomore in high school when I first met him.  We had our ups and downs over the years but he remained one of the most intensely loyal friends I've ever had.  If I had not watched him mentally deteriorate with my own eyes, it would be impossible to reconcile the Joel I knew with the person who murdered his father. I loved him like a brother. S

Reasonable Doubt Returns

Hello and belated Happy New Year!  Clearly writing more on the blog was not one of my New Year's resolutions!  I'm hoping that once the enormous 10-week-old boy of mine enters daycare that I might have a slight bit more free time on my hands. In the meantime, Reasonable Doubt returns this week (Thursday, January 9th) with your hosts, Todd Dupont and me at 8:00 p.m.  Our guest this week will be the amazing trial lawyer (and one of my former law school Trial Advocacy professors) Tyrone Moncriffe.   Tyrone is an outstanding lawyer and one of my favorite people.  It is going to be a great episode. So please join us at 8:00.  As always, you can watch live streaming on the internet by clicking here.