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.
I have been in Muleshoe for the last four days trying a murder case. Last night, the jury was out four hours before they came back guilty. We did punishment today (Saturday). Jury assessed 6 (six) TDC.
LESSONS LEARNED/SHOUT OUTS:
Tina Davis rincones for helping me pick a jury.
Muleshoe has six motels, only one is worth it.
David Guinn. I used his pants example in voir dire. Made a prospective juror cry. Ask him or me about that example.
Julian Dominguez is a great investigator for that area. He knows everyone in Parmer and Bailey county.
Don’t laugh when the prosecutor says, “don’t give him life, give him fifty.” The judge doesn’t think its as funny as you do.
Hey guys!Â Just wanted to share our victory that we had last week in the 64th district court, Hale county.Â Sara Johnson and I had a 1st degree felony Serious Bodily Injury to a disabled individual.Â Some basic facts:Â daughter and mom get in a heated argument.Â Daughter throws a dinner plate at mom, breaking mom’s arm.Â Cops are called, mom does not wantÂ daughter arrested and the police leave.Â Mom goes to doctor and broken arm confirmed.Â APS contacts law enforcement and after investigation, and my client giving a full written confession (before being appointed to counsel).Â The state offered 12 years TDC.Â After hour and 15 minutes deliberation, we got a NOT GUILTY!
The Master of the Mistrial strikes again. Chuck Lanehart had a victory in Cochran County this week. His client, Chris Mills, was charged with a first-degree felony, aggravated assault by using a deadly weapon and causing serious bodily injury to a person in a dating relationship.
The case was initially tried in Hockley County in June of 2008. It was an insanity defense (six mental health experts agreed the client suffered from a serious mental illness at the time of the crime, and two of the experts testified he was legally insane), which the jury quickly rejected, and the client was sentenced to 45 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The case was reversed on appeal because of improper jury argument (the DA compared the client to mass-murderers Mohammad Atta, John Wayne Gacy, etc.). Fred Stangl and Nicky Boatwright assisted at the first trial, and Fred and Ralph Brock assisted on the appeal.
The judge granted a change of venue to Cochran County, and the re-trial began Monday. This time, the focus was on lack of evidence to prove serious bodily injury (the complainant received multiple stab wounds, but there was some doubt about the severity of the wounds). The jury convicted in 20 minutes. At punishment, mitigation evidence came from several character witnesses and the same six mental health experts, who testified to the clientâ€™s history of serious mental illness.
After about two hours of deliberation, the jury sent out a note indicating one of the jurors had informed the rest about a TV news story she had watched indicating that this was a retrial and the first jury had given Chris 45 years. Chuck asked for a mistrial, but before the judge ruled, he negotiated a deal with DA Gary Goff, and the client accepted a sentence of 20 years in prison. Meanwhile, the jury continued its deliberations, and after the plea deal was completed returned with a verdict of 35 years, $10,000 fine. Prior to trial, Gary had rejected a 20-year offer and payment of $10,000 restitution. Chuck reports the client and his family are very happy.