The Honorable Brian Quinn, Chief Justice of the Seventh Court of Appeals, addressed the LCDLA meeting this evening, on the subject of ethics: quite an inspirational talk. Someone remarked that it was the most well-behaved LCDLA crowd ever! New officers were elected, and Frank Sellers is the new LCDLA President. Congratulations to Frank and also to his predecessor, Brian Murray, for a job well done.
The Lubbock Criminal Defense Lawyers Association donated $10,000 to the Texas Tech University School of Law Foundation April 9, during a brief ceremony at the TTUSL Hunt Courtroom. LCDLA Immediate Past President David Hazlewood, along with LCDLA fundraising coordinator Jill Stangl, presented the check to TTUSL Dean Darby Dickerson.
The gift is one of many in a series of donations LCDLA has made to the law school since 2005. Each year, the law school hosts the popular Prairie Dog Lawyers Advanced Criminal Law Seminar, sponsored by LCDLA, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Project. This year, in conjunction with the seminar, LCDLA raised funds through its annual membership party, private donations, and tee-shirt sales. TCDLA, which also held its quarterly board of directors meeting in conjunction with this years’ seminar, was instrumental in the fundraising effort.
The money will benefit the Brendan Murray Criminal Defense Scholarship, which was created following his death on September 14, 2006. Brendan, son of longtime LCDLA and TCDLA member Brian Murray and wife Lynne, was a 22-year-old Texas Tech law student and TCDLA employee. He was a zealous advocate for the poor and oppressed throughout his life. Thus, the scholarship benefits worthy law students attracted to defending God’s children who have not yet attained perfection from those who have. To date, the fund has reached more than $92,000 in donations.
LCDLA is an organization of about 120 lawyers in the South Plains area, founded in 1980. The association is known in criminal defense circles as one of the most active, close-knit and progressive criminal defense bars in the state. When TCDLA seeks to form an affiliate organization in another Texas city or region, LCDLA’s example is often used as a blueprint.
For those of you that were able to attend the writ hearing last week, you know just how big of a victory this is: Judge Darnell reduced the bonds to $65,000! (If memory serves, the total amount of bonds prior to this hearing was more than $1 million.) Great job, Chuck and Laurie!
Chuck Lanehart had a win in County Court at Law No. 2 yesterday. Judge Farmer granted his Motion to Suppress Evidence on a DWI case. The legal issues involved whether the LPD had reasonable suspicion to detain his client, and whether the client was “operating a motor vehicle.” It seems the client was legally parked in a peaceful residential neighborhood, with engine running and in park, no lights, but no other evidence of hanky-panky and no evidence he had hands on wheel, foot on brake, etc. Officer tried to justify the detention because there had been burglaries in nearby hotels and police theorized that burglars parked in the neighborhood, burglarized the hotels and returned to the getaway vehicle in the neighborhood. Fred Stangl won the ALR hearing months earlier, which set up this win. If anyone needs a copy of the winning brief, contact Chuck or Fred.
Great job by both Chuck and Fred!
Congratulations to Laurie Key! She obtained a second mistrial in a DWI B in CCL#2 today, and as a result, was able to settle the case for time served on Deadly Conduct. Kelly Clark and law clerk extraordinaire Sarah Johnson assisted.
The first trial ended in mistrial when Laurie busted the jury panel. Today’s mistrial, in the fourth day of trial, was caused by jury misconduct: apparently one of the jurors talked about the case to his/her lawyer, curious about BAC evidence. Laurie called it to the Court’s attention and asked for a mistrial, which was granted.
There was a hotly contested suppression hearing regarding a faux grand jury subpoena for her client’s medical records. The motion to suppress was denied, and Laurie regrets that it will now not likely be appealed.
A poll of jurors following the mistrial indicated Laurie may have had a chance at a two-word verdict or hung jury.
Good job, Warriors!
Passing on a recent victory in the 7th COA, take a look at the opinion in Jason Gomez v. State.
A true LCDLA team effort through and through. Bro. Jesse Mendez tried the case the first time and got the mistrial with a hung jury, many for NG. The State learned, got a new jury and 60 years on round 2, from which Aaron Clements and I appealed. Judge Hancock wrote for the unanimous panel. The opinion does a good job of using straightforward language to deal with the sticky-wickett on the different mens rea requirements from Hill v. State. Everyone should read it. Most ADA’s don’t comprehend it. If we donâ€™t, nobody will. We expect the States PDR request, but we will see. The opinion lays out the facts better than I can here.