First, longtime LCDLA super hero Bob Jones went north to Hale Countyâ€™s 242nd District Court on a sexual assault case this week. He left with an 11-1 hung jury. Not your usual mistrial, however. Eleven jurors voted not guilty. The twelfth juror refused to vote at all, citing religious/moral scruples: the judge sent the guy to jail for contempt for a month. The complainant went to jail for contempt as well. There may be more to this story in the future. Great job, Bob.
Next, this superb report from Ted Hogan:
I wanted to pass along what I consider to be a win for the Lubbock Criminal Defense Lawyers Association at large. I tried a bail jumping case this week in 137th District Court. Pat Metze had previously been appointed to represent the client on a weak felony domestic assault case that went to trial in April in the 140th. Pat presented a terrific voir dire during the first day of the trial. Unfortunately, the client “lost his head” the next day and failed to return – hence the bail jumping charge. No offer from the
State going in this time around – just go to trial and take your licks.
Pat had the wisdom and foresight to see that he was a fact witness, so he declined the appointment to the new bail jumping case and withdrew on the domestic. Judge Darnell followed suit last week and recused himself, assigning the case to Judge Puryear for trial. So you can guess who shows up on the State’s witness list – Pat, Judge Darnell and Patâ€™s investigator, Rob Cowie. Pat was served with a subpoena on Monday; they looked for Rob, but never found him. I understand that Judge Darnell was left out of the mess. Of course, the three similarly-situated prosecutors who were involved back in April were conspicuously absent from the Stateâ€™s witness list.
A number of LCDLA members – including Rusty and Sarah Gunter, Dennis Reeves, Robin Matthews and Mike Montoya came together to formulate a game plan to protect Pat. Subpoenas were served on two of the three prosecutors the morning of trial, two motions were filed in an attempt to quash the Stateâ€™s subpoena of Pat, and I filed a Motion to Disqualify the three prosecutors and the DA’s office in its entirety. Judge Puryear’s solution was to deny everything and let all subpoenas stand – including the prosecutors! Of course, Pat was the State’s first witness, but Judge Puryear did a commendable job of protecting him while he was on the stand.
The client had a tough time at trial – 60 years from the jury after a long history including robbery, forgery and a string of domestic assaults came to light in punishment. Of course he had to have his say – you know how that usually goes.
In spite of the outcome for my client, I am genuinely thankful for the support shown by our members for Pat and myself in a tricky and potentially dangerous situation for each of us. So thanks to all who were there – it’s good to know that we have colleagues such as these at a time when the professionalism that we are supposed to aspire to is sorely lacking in segments of our bar. In spite of the outcome, I consider this to be a win for LCDLA – if not at trial, then in the spirit and support shown in the face of adversity. I hope that I can some day – in some way – return the favor to all involved.