Showing posts from July, 2020

NRG Arena and the Streisand Effect

I enjoy being a defense attorney. At least on most days.   It's not always easy -- especially when you find yourself in a jury trial.   You often find yourself behind the 8 Ball.  Your client is charged with doing something unpopular -- sometimes really really  unpopular.  Usually, the evidence is pretty strong against your client, so you're fighting an uphill battle.  In many instances, you find yourself trying to mitigate an outcome rather than avoid it.  When you're a defense attorney, home runs are far and few between.  Quite often, a base hit feels pretty damn good. If the State asks for Life and you help convince a jury that 20 years is more appropriate, that's a win in most cases.  On those occasions where you get the big NG verdict . . . man, those are something.  If you have never been a defense attorney and you find it unseemly when you see a defense attorney crowing about a Not Guilty in trial, have a little patience.  Those are harder to come

The Nuts and Bolts of Reopening Jury Assembly

As I mentioned in my last post , I consider Judge Susan Brown to be a friend, despite the fact that I occasionally disagree with her (as I did in said last post).  So it was no surprise to me when I woke up this morning to find that she had already sent me a text message in response to my post from the night before. So, I gave Judge Brown a call this morning and we talked for about an hour and a half about the often complicated (and confusing) details that are going on behind the scenes to manage the Criminal Justice System -- in Harris County and across the State of Texas.  I learned quite a bit of information that I didn't know before and I thought it was important that any attorney practicing in Harris County understand it.   It's complicated so I will try to organize this in a way that makes sense. 1.   Judge Brown taking exception to this being labeled as "her plan" is understandable.  It is far more complicated than that. When COVID first start

COVID, Jury Selection and Item Fifteen

Over the course of the past couple of months, there has been a significant amount of time and effort spent by some of the powers that be to figure out a way to resume jury trials in Harris County in a COVID world.  It’s a noble goal and one that, in principle, everyone should be on board with.  It hasn’t been something I’ve blogged about because, quite frankly, every day something in the news has shifted the plan.  Multiple plans have come from multiple sources.  The Texas Supreme Court has issued order after order, steadily pushing back the date before counties are even permitted to summon jurors.  As I begin this blog post, there is a tentative rule that says no juries may be called until September 1 st .  That may change by the time I'm actually done writing the post. But September 1 st isn’t an all-encompassing date.  There are exceptions for different scenarios where a jury might be summoned.  There’s a little something for everybody if you ask when trials are go

Newman & Chapell, PLLC

For those of you who haven't heard already, I'm beyond excited to announce that former Harris County Special Crimes Prosecutor and Felony District Court Chief, Cheryl Chapell, has agreed to join me in forming a partnership as Newman & Chapell, PLLC . I first met Cheryl several years ago when she was a new Felony Three and she was completely thwarting my attempts to persuade her chief to dismiss one of my cases.  Luckily, she ultimately moved into a different court and I was finally able to get the case dismissed. A year or so later Cheryl had been promoted to Felony Two and she and I ended up trying what would be her first Murder case against each other.  As you can imagine, Murder cases can often be very complicated cases to both prosecute and defend, and the stakes are very high.  It can be an extremely stressful experience if you are new to it.  But it never appeared to be stressful to Cheryl.  She was great to work with during the weeks leading up to trial.  She went ab

Early Voting Has Begun for the 2020 Runoff

With everything going in the world, it is easy to overlook the fact that early voting began on Monday for all Texas runoff elections, including a few that affect the Harris County Criminal Justice System.  Election Day is officially on July 14th. Voting locations have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure that voters have a safe experience while voting.  We've all changed our routine habits and safety precautions over the past several months because of COVID, but if you have felt safe enough to venture out to go to the grocery store, for fast food, or get gas for your car, you should feel safe enough to go vote. As always, there are multiple voting locations open around Harris County, and you can find them by going to  for more information. IMPORTANT NOTICE:  You can vote in the runoff election EVEN IF you didn't vote in the primary back in March There are no Republican runoff races on the ballot this year that directly affect the Harris Co