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Richard  Frankoff 
Wayne  Hi ll 
Troy  McKinney 
Cindy  Henl ey 
Em il y Munol 
Danny  Easrerling 
Ma ry  Acos ra 
Lon  Brooks 
Wi nsron  Cochran 
Rosa  A. Eliades 
Ro b Fickman 
Ron  Hayes 
Davi d Jones 
Jay  Karahan 
Da vid  Kiatta 
David  Mircham 
Tyrone C.  Moncri ffe 
Anrhony  Osso 
Paul Sr.  Joh n 
Granr Scheiner 
Norm  Silverman 
Clyde Wi ll iams 
1971 - 1998 
C.  Anrhony Fri lioux 
StuaI[  Kinard 
George Luq uene 
Marvin O. Teague 
Dick DeGuerin 
WB.  House, Jr. 
Davi d  R.  Bi res 
Woody Densen 
Wi ll  Gray 
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Allen  C.  Isbell 
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Jim E. Lavine 
Ri ck Brass 
Mary  E. Co nn 
Kenr  A. Schaffer 
Dan Cogdell 
Jim  Skelro n 
George  J.  Parnham 
Garl and  D. McIn ni s 
Robe"  A.  Moen 
Lloyd  W. Oliver 
From  the President  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 2 
My Observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 3 
Resolution ofHCCLA  ...................... 4 
Apprendi in the Fifth  Circuit  . . . .  ... 7 
Back From  the Dead. . . .. . .  . ...  10 
The Art of  r ..... . ... . . . . . . . ..  12 
Clients and the  Texas Parole System  . . . . . .  . . 14 
New Federal Medical Privacy Rights . ......... 16 
Update on Judicial Council  ................ 18 
Winning ~ r r   o r s ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 
Let's Hear From  You! 
Call us  with your suggestions on this publication. 
The Defender 
Publisher  HCCLA @  (713)  227-2404 
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Recently because of a not guilty my OW1
client received, I got welcome but unfounded
accolades. They were welcome because it had
been so long since I had heard the words
"not guilty" and my client's name in the same
verdict that I asked for the jury to be poled.
They were unfounded because the
performers of Cirque du Solei I could not
have done better on the Field Sobriety Tests
(FST) than my client. It was not my
competency that won the day, but the
prosecutor's unwillingness to recognize or
accept reality. A good attorney would have
gotten the case dismissed.
We are supposed to lose, aren't we? Most
of our clients have done bad things, are bad
people, or both. If our clients are going to
lose, we just want them to lose by fair and
just rul es. So, to all of us who stand next to
our clients as they get pounded and pounded
by the prosecutor, judge or jury, let us
remember we are to keep fighting regardless
weather or not we hear those inspirational
words, "not guilty." Our true victory is the
reward of knowing that each and every time
the government seeks to accuse and punish
rhose whose liberty has been entrusted to
our care, we have dedicated ourselves to their
well being, whatever fortune should bring.
Six months ago I took the reigns from
HCCLA from Danny Easterling and in six
months I plan to turn them over to Wayne
Hill. In that time, I have realized the
schizophrenic nature of this organization.
Webster defines schizophrenic as,
"contradictory or antagonistic qualities of
attitudes." Fortunately we don't hear voices.
Like any professional organization our
primary purpose is to service our
membership. But, because of the unique
nature of our practice, another equally
driving purpose we have is advocating for
justice. These dual purposes, at times, may
be conrradictory or antagonistic.
Unfortunately, we are an organization of
limited resources. We, therefore, must divide
our energy, time, and money between these
two goals: service and advocacy, We must
prioritize, pursuing those aims and objective
that we have set. Otherwise we seek much,
while accomplishing little. I hope my
administration has done this.
Emily Munoz, our treasurer, computerized
the books so that we now have an idea of
where we are getting our money from and
where it is going. President Elect Wayne Hill
with Kevin Fine are presently planning a
membership drive to bring up our numbers.
Long time board member David Mitchum
has offered to review past records to set up a
historical archive. And Rosa Eliades, The
Defendereditor, continues to push everyone,
myself included, to submit articles for the
next, and even better, edition. The executive
committee has prepared, subject to board
approval , a 2001 calendar what will Stretch
from this administration to the next. We
hope this will become a regular effort aiding
the continuity of administrations. Board
member David !Gatta is looking into group
medical insurance for the membership and
Vice President Troy Mc!Gnney had gotten
us approved to become members in a credit
Last year after the tragic passing of Donald
Davis, we had a seminar attended by over
seventy-five people of "Coping with the
Practice." It dealt with the stress of the
criminal law practice and how to deal with
it. More than likely, this seminar will be an
annual event. This year we are rejuvenating
the monthly after hour's seminar and social.
Also we are planning a major seminar in May
with the distinguished speaker Stephen Ceci.
Hopefully this will be as financially successful
as our Terry McCarthy seminar a couple of
years ago. In the fall we will have our
traditional CLE in Galveston.
And let us not forget our great Holiday
Parry at Spy last year and our Annual
Meeting and Banquet planned for June 15,
2001 at Tony's Ballroom again.
But, as I stated, service to our members is
only half of our purpose. Advocating for
justice is the other half. Vice President Troy
Mc!Gnney has been working on a policy
position paper with supporting evidence that
should challenge some of the system's
injustices. Member Neil Davis wrote the
HCCLA letter regarding the plaques in the
courthouse lobby relocation that is now the
attention of the county comm issioners. The
Flood brothers and new member Louis
Vallejo have challenged judges' appearance
of bias by their being on the CAC judicial
advisory committee. Whenever I have heard
a judge or prosecutor's comment that appears
unjust, unfair and unnecessary, I have rried
to quickly respond with HCCUs position
for a more balanced view.
But our work is just beginning.
Continuing to servicing our members and
advocating in the community is what
HCCLA is all about and does best. Let's keep
up the good work.
Spring 2001
A  Personal  Perspective 
I have been a criminal defense attorney
for nearly four years . Before becoming a
criminal defense attorney, I was a prosecutor
with the Harris County District Attorney's
Office fo r over six years. Since I have worked
both sides of the docket , I can usually see
both sides to  most positions in the
courthouse. However, there are still some
things that occur that just don't seem to make
sense. I'm sure some people may be upset by
these observations but they are only my
observations. So if one of the upsets you,
then just quit reading or do something about
1. If Texas law does not permit a person
to be held without bond on a mi sdemeanor
charge, then why does it still occur? I've heard
the argument that the person is only being
held until a magistrate can set a bond and it
sounds like a crock to me. It's not unusual
for a person to be in jail over 48 hours before
seeing a judge and then wait for the clerk to
get around to entering the bond. By then
the defendant is being pulled from his cell
to go to court and will have to wait some
more. I wish some of the judges would try
explaining this situation to a defendant's
famil y who is trying to POSt the bond that
has yet to be set.
2. If bonds are supposed to guarantee a
persons appearance in court why do some
judges find them insufficient and raise them
when the person is present in court for his
initial appearance?
3. Why do some courts have weekly urine
testing as a condition of a bond? Does urine
testing somehow relate to a person appearing
on a court date? Not to mention that weekly
testing is expensive and can interfere with
reporting to work.
4. Whydo some judges feel like the money
for court-appointed attorneys fees comes out
of their pocket. Is it a control thing? If the
judges don't have control over the D .A.'s
budget, then why do they have control over
how much the defense spends? Personall y,
I'd rather argue with Commissioner's Court
or Charles Bacarisse about how much my
voucher is ? Although afrer thi s article, I
probably won't have to worry about
submitting any vouchers.
5. What is it about out-of-court-hours for
appointed attorneys that get some judges in
a frazzle? As attorneys, are we supposed to
be Carnack rhe Great and predict how many
hours it will take us in advance to work on a
case? I've never been too great at predicting
the future . I've yet to see a judge ask a
prosecutor how many hours he or she
anticipates spending or has spent working
on the case ourside of the courtroom.
6.  While I'm on the subject, why aren't
court-appointed attorneys supposed to be
paid for jail visits. I'm sorry, I mean "routine"
jail visits. What the heck is a "routine" jail
visit anyway? Is it when I go to the jail to
discuss the case with a client or when I go to
simply exchange warm fuzzies with the
person whose life you hold?
7. Why do some judges go so far out of
their way to assist ptosecutors? Now I admit
that I enjoyed this when I was a prosecutor
but aren't judges supposed to be neutral and
detached? Not long ago a heard a judge reject
a plea bargain because she was afraid that
the plea bargai n violated D.A.'s office policy
and she didn't want the prosecutor to get
fired . \'ifhat if the defendant fired the lawyer?
Would the judge then accept the plea out of
concern for rhe lawyer> Would she care about
the probable grievance or lawsuit to recoup
the fee paid to the lawyer? Just something I
think about ?
8. Why is it that some people just don't
get that the elevators don't work well and
many days it can take over 30 minutes to
from the metal detectors to the courtroom?
9. If Article 26.04 of the Texas Code of
Criminal Procedure says that judges may not
deny counsel solely because the defendant
has posted or is capable of posting bail, why
do most judges tell a defendant that since
he posted bond he can hire his own attorney?
10. Why can't the stairwells be opened on
floors eight through eleven? Are the security
needs for misdemeanor courts greater than
felony courts?
11. Why don't some courts care about a
lawyer having a life outside of the
courtroom? I've seen courts try to force one
prosecutor to go to trial on another
prosecutor's case. Often it doesn't seem to
matter to some rhar you have been in trial
the previous day or week. There is work that
can not be done in the courtroom. Besides
being trial lawyers, many of us are also
spouses, parents, civic volunteers, little league
coaches, etc.
This is definitely not an exclusive list of
things that upset me but hopefully it will
give you something to think about.
Now the good things about practicing
criminal law in Harris County definitely
outweigh the bad. Generally we are treated
with courtesy and professionalism or at least
I was until I wrote this article.
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and  Banquet 
June  14th 
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May  17-18 
Spring 2001 THE DEFENDER • 3
HCClA Resoulution  Regarding  Revocation  of Bonds 
HCClA  Resolution  Regarding 
Revocation of Bonds 
The  officers  and  direc[Ors  of the  Harris 
County  Criminal  Lawyers  Association 
unanimously  approved  a  resolution 
condemning  the  long standing  practice  in 
Harris Counry and  throughout the State of 
Texas  of revoking  the  bail  bonds  of people 
who  do  not  hire  a  lawyer.  The  resolution 
follows  this shorr discussion. 
The practice of revoking a  person's  bond 
simply  and  solely  because  such  person  has 
made  bond  and  then  failed ,  chosen,  or 
refused  to hire an at[Orney expressly violates 
the Code of Criminal Procedure. TEX.  CODE 
CRIM.  PROC. ANN.  art.  26.04 provides, "[tJhe 
court may not deny appointed counsel  to  a 
defendant solely  because  the  defendant  has 
posted  or  is  capable  of  posting  bail." 
Moreover,  it  has  long  been  held  by  Texas 
appellate  courts  that  a  trial  judge  may  not 
revoke  a  person's  bail  bond  because  the 
person has failed  to hire an anorney.  Meador
v. State, 780  S.w'2d  836  (Tex.  App.-
Houston [14th Dist.]  1989, pet.  ref'd).  Just 
as  importantly, a trial coun may not order a 
person,  as  a  condition  of bond,  to  hire 
counsel.  !d. 780 S.W. 2d at 837. 
Although  some  judges  may  be  of the 
opinion  rhat  a  person  who  can  afford  to 
make  bond should  be  able  to afford  to  hire 
an  anorney,  a  person  may  be  too  poor  to 
employ  counsel  and  yet  not  be  completely 
destitute.  An  accused  may  have  some 
available funds, such as a few hundred dollars 
to  make  bond,  but  not  enough  available 
funds,  which  can  frequently  amount  to 
thousands  or  tens  of thousands  of dollars, 
to  secure  counsel  in  view  of the  nature  of 
the  charge  pending  against  him.  Ex parte
NAME ____________________________________________ 
ADDRESS __________________________________________ 
CITY/ STATE/ ZIP____________________________________ 
MAIL ORDER TO  1610 Richmond, Houston, Texas 77006. 
Bain, 568  S.w'2d  356  (Tex.  Crim.  App. 
1978).  Similarly,  a  person  may  have  been 
able  to  make  bond only  because a  friend  or 
relative  provided  the funds.  In any event,  it 
is  equally well  established  that the abiliry to 
secure  a  bond  is  not ,  standing  alone, 
sufficient  to  warrant  a  refusal  to  appoint 
counsel.  Harriel v. State, 572  S.W.2d  535 
(Tex.  Crim. App.  1978).  CfEx parte King,
550  S.w'2d  691  (Tex.  Crim.  App.  1977); 
Stearnes v. Clinton, 780  S.w'2d  216  (Tex. 
Crim.  App.  1989)  (the  power  of the  trial 
coun to appoint counsel does not carry with 
it the concomitant power [0 remove counsel 
at the coun's discretionary whim);  Buntion
v. Harmon, 827  S.w'2d  945  (Tex.  Crim. 
App.  1992) (once counsel  is  appointed,  the 
trial  judge  is  obliged  to  respect  the 
anorney-client relationship created  through 
the appointment). 
Having a lawyer is  a right provided by  the 
Texas  and United State's  constitutions.  It is 
not  an  obligation.  While  a  represented 
defendant  may  be  easier  for  courts  to  deal 
with,  it  is  not,  under  any  circumstance,  a 
justification for a judge ro  place a person  in 
While some judges may be offended at the 
portions  of  the  resolution  that  call  for 
grievances  to  be  filed  with  the  Judicial 
Conduct  Commission,  as  one  potentially 
appropriate  response,  the  only  goal  of this 
resolution and its call  ro  action  is  ro  end  the 
practice of people being incarcerated for  not 
having an attorney.  If the practice ends, then 
no  grievance,  mandamus,  or habeas  corpus 
will  ever  be  filed.  If the  practice  does  not 
end,  then  all  appropriate  action  must  be 
taken.  The Officers and Board of H CCLA 
encourage  its  members  as  well  as  other 
anorneys  across  the  State  of Texas  to  do 
everything  reasonably  possible  to  help  end 
thi s  despicable,  illegal,  unconstitutional, 
immoral,  and  unethical  practice. 
Whereas,  it  is  the  mission  of the  Harris 
Counry  Criminal  Lawyers  Association  to 
"Educate  and  Inform  the  General  Public 
Regarding  the  Administration  of Criminal 
Justice"  and  it  is  among  the  goals  of the 
Association  to  "ensure ... due  process,  and 
Spring 2001 
justice for  persons accused of crimes" and to 
"keep  members and  the  public  informed of 
currenr criminal justice issues;" 
Whereas,  it  has  been  and  is  the  practice 
and policy of many judges in  Harris County, 
Texas and elsewhere  to  revoke  the bond of a 
person who has not retained counsel within 
a  time  period  prescribed  by such  judge; 
Whereas,  it  has  been  and  is  the  policy of 
some  judges  in  Harris  County,  Texas  and 
elsewhere  to  order  accused  citizens  to  hire 
an attorney by a certain date and when such 
citizen  fails  or chooses  not  to  do so,  to  hold 
such citizen  in  contempt; 
Whereas, the em ployment or retention of 
counsel is a right afforded  to a citizen charged 
with a crime by the United States and Texas 
Constitutions  and  not  a  legal  or 
constitutional obligation of such  person 
Whereas,  the  only  legitimate  purpose  of 
a  bail  bond  is  to  ensure  the  presence  of the 
citizen  accused  in  the  court  in  which  such 
person  is  charged; 
Whereas,  bond  and  the  revocation  of 
and  elsewhere  of revoking  the  bail  bond  of 
any  person  because  such  person  has  failed 
or chosen  not  to  hire an  attorney. 
Be  it  Further  Resolved  by  the  Harris 
County Criminal  Lawyers  Association  that 
reasonable,  necessary,  and  appropriate 
actions  may  include  one  or  more  of the 
1.  Immediately  upon  witnessing  the 
improper  revocation  of a  bail  bond  on  the 
basis and for  the reason that such  person has 
failed  or  chosen  not  to  hire  an  attorney, 
advise  the  judge  in  the  presence  of  the 
prosecutor that the act of revoking the bond 
of a  person  on  the  basis  and  for  the  reason 
that such  person  has  failed  or chosen  not to 
hire  an  attorney is  unconstitutional,  illegal, 
and  a  violation  of the  Code  of Judicial 
2.  Collect  relevant  information about the 
case,  the  citizen  accused,  and  the 
circumstances and,  as  appropriate: 
A. Transmit that information to an Officer 
or  a  member  of the  Board  of Directors  of 
the  Harris  County  Criminal  Lawyers 
B. With the citizen's consent, pursue a writ 
of  mandamus  to  compel  such  judge  to 
withdraw the  illegal  revocation  of bond; 
C. Advise the incarcerated citizen that the 
judge's  revocation  of  bond  is 
unconstitutional,  illegal,  and  a  violation  of 
the Code of Judicial  Conduct and  advising 
the incarcerated citizen that she has the right 
to  pursue  certain  remedies,  including  a 
mandamus and a  complaint  to  the Judicial 
Conduct Commission; 
D.  Advise  the  Harris  County  Board  of 
E.  Advise  the press;  and-or 
F.  Refer the matter to the Judicial Conduct 
Unanimously  Adopted,  Approved,  and 
Sanctioned  by  the  Officers  and  Board  of 
DirectOrs  of the  Harris  County  Criminal 
Lawyers Association. 
bond  may  not  be  used  as  a  tool  of 
punishment or oppression; 
Whereas, judges have constitutional, legal, 
and ethical duties and obligations to uphold 
the United  States  and Texas  Constitutions, 
to  follow the laws enacted by the Legislature, 
and  to  abide  by  the  Code  of Judicial 
Whereas, judges  have  no  inherent,  legal, 
constitutional,  ethical  or  moral  power  or 
authority to revoke the bond ofa person who 
has  failed  or chosen  not to  hire an attorney; 
Whereas,  a  person  who  has  failed  or 
chosen  not to  hire an  attorney should  have 
his  case  treated and disposed of in  the same 
manner as  if he  had  retained  an  attorney; 
Whereas, judges  have  no  inherenr,  legal, 
constitutional,  ethical  or  moral  power  or 
authority  to  hold  an  accused  citizen  in 
contempt for failing or choosing not to  hire 
an  attorney; 
Be  it  Resolved  by  the  Harris  County 
Criminal Lawyers Association that consistenr 
with  its  mission  and  goals,  its  members, 
associates,  and  affdiates  are  encouraged, 
requested ,  and  implored  to  take  all 
reasonable  and  necessary actions  to end  the 
unconstitutional,  illegal ,  and  unethical 
practice  by judges  in  Harris  County, Texas 
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Spring 2001  THE DEFENDER •  5 

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Apprendi's Holding
Other than the fan of a prior conviction,
any fan that increases the penalty for a crime
beyond the prescribed statutory maximum
must be submirred ro a jury, and proved
beyond a reasonable doubr.
This is the Supreme Courr's ruling from
last J LIne in Apprendi v. New Jersey.I
The majority in Apprendi consisted of
Justices Stevens, Scalia, Souter, Thomas, and
Ginsburg. In concurrence, Justices Thomas
and Scalia noted that what needs ro be found
beyond a reasonable doubt depends on what
is an "element" of a crime. Every fact
necessary ro constitute the crime is an
elemenL They argued that a crime includes
every fact that is by law a basis for imposing
or increasing punishmenr.
continued, without Scalia, ro explicirly
criticize McMillan v. Pennsylvania
Almendarez- Torres v. United States
incorrecrly narrowing the definition of
"elemenrs." Thomas would require the fact
of a prior conviction, as well as a fan that
led ro a mandarory minimum senrence, ro
be pled and proven beyond a reasonable
The "other than the fact of a prior
conviction" language is dicta. Whether a
prior conviction needs ro be proven beyond
a reasonable doubt was not at issue in
Apprendi, and, given the alignment of the
justices in Apprendi and Almendarez- Torres,
is questionable. In Almendarez- Torres the
Court held, 5-4, that the fact that the
appellant had been convicted of an
aggravated felony before his deportation,
which fact increased his maximum sentence
from two years ro twenty, did not need ro
be pled or proven beyond a reasonable
doubLG The four dissenters in Almendarez-
Torres were Justices Stevens, Scalia, Souter,
and Ginsburg. This makes Justice Thomas,
who writes in Apprendi of"the error ro which
[he) succumbed" in Almendarez- Torres, the
swing vote on the issue. It is a fair bet that
the Court will overrule Almendarez- Torres in
the near future.
Which brings us around to the Fifth
Circuit, which does not see itself in the
business of predicting what the Supreme
Court will do if it revisits Almendarez- Torres
(or McMillan). The court has cited Apprendi
ten times since last June, and each time has
adhered ro the exact language of the opinion.
In u.s. v. Meshack,7 the court reviewed
the senrences of three defendants in a drug
case under 21 U.s.c. § 841.8 The
government conceded that Apprendi (which
was a hate-crime case) applied ro federal drug
cases under section 841. Because the
defendants did not raise the Apprendi
objection below (that case had not been
decided when they were sentenced), the
court applied a "plain error" standard of
DefendantThomas received a 168-month
sentence, which the court found ro be proper
because it was less than the 20-year staturory
maximum for possession of crack cocaine
with intent ro distribute, with no amount
alleged. He argued that the amount of
cocaine, which resulted in a longer sentence
under the guidelines, should have been
proven ro the jury. The Fifth Circuit noted
that the issue was "not clearly resolve[d)" by
Apprendi, but disagreed with Thomas and
upheld his sentence because it was less than
the staturory maximum.
Defendant Hodges challenged his 10-year
marijuana sentence, 10 but did not challenge
his 324-month cocaine conspiracy sentence,
which was less than the 30-year staturory
maximum for possession of a minuscule
amounr of crack with intent to distribute
after being convicted of a felony drug
offense. I I Because the ten-year sentence was
less than the concurrent 324-month
sentence, the court found no plain error.
l l
Defendant Meshack challenged his two
concurrenr Iife sentences. The cou rt vacated
his sentence and remanded ro the district
court, stating in a footnote, "Upon remand,
the district court could allow retrial of this
count or it could resentence Meshack at the
lowest statutory drug amounr."13 This,
despite the facts: that Mr. Meshack had
already been tried for and convicted of a
lesser-included offense; that 18 U.s.c. §
3742(f)(1) requires remand for resentencing
if the sentence was illegally imposed; and that
the Fifth Circuit had always remanded for
resentencing when it vacated a sentence.
The three defendants, as well as defendant
Parker, also challenged the terms of
supervised release they were given. I. The
court reduced the supervised release terms
to the statutory maximums for possession
of a small quantity of drugs with inrent ro
distribute. Curiously, though, for this
sentencing error it remanded only for
In United States v. Doggett,IG the court
addressed the sentences of two people fot
manufacture of methamphetamine, and
squarely held that Apprendi overruled its
jurisprudence treating drug quantity as a
sentencing facror rather than as an element
of the offense. In this case both defendants
had raised their constitutional objections at
sentencing, preserving the issue for de novo
review. Doggerr had received a 235 month
sentence, less than the 20-year maximum for
manufacture of an unspecified of
methamphetamine. The court upheld his
sentence and reduced his supervised release
term ro three years.
Mr. Beman received two concurrenr life
sentences, which were vacated by the court
because the maximum that should have
applied to him (after a felony drug
conviction) was 30 years. The court
remanded Mr. Beman's case for resentencing.
In United States v. Keith,1 9 the court
addressed the question of a mandarory
minimum senrence. Mr. Keith had received
a 20-year sentence based on the trial court's
finding that his offense involved more than
50 grams of cocaine base. Because of his
criminal record and the quantity of drugs,
Mr. Keith was subject ro a 20-year staturory
minimum. See 21 U.s.c. § 841 (b)(l )(A) .
The court affirmed the sentence because it
was less than the 30-year maximum that
would apply, with Mr. Keith's criminal
hisrory, under 21 U.s.c. § 841 (b)(l)(C).
Dabeit and Cuevas-Andrade
United States v. Dabeifo and United States
v. Cuevas-Andrcufe21were illegal reentry cases.
Mr. Dabeit and Mr. Cuevas-Andrade both
pled guilty to their indictments. Mr. Dabeit
received a sentence unspecified in the
cOlltinued Oil page 8 ...
Spring 2001 THE DEFENDER • 7
... continuedfrom page 7
appellate opinion - between 37 and 46
months. Mr. Cuevas-Andrade received a 46-
month sentence. The statutory maximum for
basic illegal reentry is two years. If the
defendant was convicted of an aggravated
felony before being deported, the statutory
maximum increases to 20 yearsY
Mr. Dabeit complained that he was not
informed that the "aggravated felony"
provision of the law was an essential element
of the offense to which he pled guilty. In a
section entitled "Preserving an Issue for
Review" the court, following Almendarez-
Torres, held that i t was not an essential
Mr. Cuevas-Andrade argued that his prior
felony conviction should have been alleged
in the indictment. The court rejected it,
saying, "Cuevas-Andrade has raised the issue
here for the sole purpose of preserving the
question for further review by the Supreme
In re Tatum
was a motion filed by Mr.
Tatum requesting authorization to ftle a
successive motion to vacate, set aside, or
correct his sentence under 28 U.s.c. §
In 1992 Mr. Tatum received a 193-
month sentence for possession of crack and
powder cocaine with intent to distribute, 27
and a consecutive 60-month sentence for
carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking
Before Apprendi was decided, Mr.
Tatum had already filed "a number" of §
2255 motions, all of which were denied. In
the instant case, the court held that Mr.
Tatum could not show that the Supreme
Court made the Apprendi holding to apply
retroactively on collateral review, and so
denied the requested authorization.
In United States v. Slaughter, 30 the
indictment contained the quantity element
for each count. The jury was properly
charged on the drug conspiracy - that is, it
had to find that the conspitacy involved 50
grams or more of crack - but the quantity
element was omitted from the jury's charge
on the three substantive counts .
) Mr.
Slaughter complained about this on appeal.
The court found error bur, applying the test
set forth in Neder v. United States, 32 found
the error hatmless because "there was no
evidence that could rationally lead the jury
to a conclusion that the quantity of drugs
stated in the indictment was incorrect."33
In Slaughter the court also addressed the
constitutionality of the federal drug and
conspiracy statures in light ofApprendi. The
court found nothing in the Apprendi decision
that would permit it to find the federal drug
laws unconstitutional on their face.
Burton v. United States3
arose out of the
Southern District of Texas. Contrary to
ordinary practice in the district, the quantity
of cocaine base possessed by Mr. Burton was
not charged in the indictment. Neither was
it proven to the jury beyond a reasonable
Mr. Burton received a life sentence
- more than the maximum statutory penalty
absent a showing of drug quantity. The court
vacated his sentence and remanded for
resen tencing..18
McWaine v. United States3
was a cocaine
gun / money-laundering case. Mr.
McWaine received a life sentence for the
cocaine conspiracy, and lesser concurrent
sentences on the 11 other counts. He
argued that the life sentence was illegal under
Apprendi because his maximum sentence
should have been 20 years.
) The court
agreed, vacated the sentence, and remanded
to the district court. Again, the court stated
that the district court could retry Mr.
McWaine on this count or resentence him.42
Most recently, in United States v. Salazar-
the appellant had argued in the trial
court that the indictment should be
dismissed because the quantity of marijuana
was not alleged, and had then pled guilty to
the indictment. At the plea colloquy he had
stated that he had possessed approximately
195 pounds of marijuana. He received a 30-
month sentence;44 the statutory maximum
for possession of an unspecified quantity of
marijuana with intent to distribute is 5
years."5 On appeal he argued that his
conviction for possession of marijuana with
intent ro distribute should be vacated
because the indictment did not allege an
essential element. The court upheld his
conviction and his sentence, noting again
that Apprendi requires reversal only where a
sentence exceeds the statutory maximum."6
The fifth circuit's Apprendi caselaw can
generally be best described as
"unimaginative." The court has followed the
strict letter of the holding in Apprendi -
vacating sentences that are greater than the
statutory maximum because of factors other
than prior convictions - and passed on the
fringe issues - whether Almendarez- Torres
and McMillan remain good law in light of
At this point, in order to get relief from
the fifth circuit under Apprendi, an appellant
must, because ofsome factor other than prior
convictions, receive a sentence greater than
the statutory maximum that would apply if
that factor did not exist. If he was sentenced
before Apprendi, he must raise the issue on
direct appeal ."7 If the factor was alleged in
the indictment and he went to trial, the jury
must not have been given the factor as an
element of the offense, and there must have
been evidence at trial that could rationally
lead the jury to the conclusion that the factor
was incorrect.
Presumably, if a defendant
pled guilty to the indictment, the quantity
of drugs must not have been alleged in the
Now that drug quantity is an element of
the offense, it can be argued that a defendant
can no longer plead guilty to the indictment
and rely on the court to punish [he defendant
for a lesser quantity if the quantity of drugs
for which he is responsible is in fact less than
the quantity alleged.
The exception ro the court's conservative
bent in handling these cases is its innovative
remand of Mr. McWaine's and Mr.
Meshack's cases to the district court for new
1. Apprendi v. New jersey, 530 U.S. 466,
120 S.Ct. 2348, 2363 (2000)
2. Apprendi at 2367-2378 (Thomas, ].,
3. McMillan v. Pennsylvania, 477 U.S. 79,
106 S.Ct. 2411 (1986).
8 • THE DEFENDER Spring 2001
4. United States v. Almendarez-Torres, 523
U.S. 224, 118 S.Ct. 1219 (1998) .
5. Apprendi at 2378-2380 (Thomas, J.,
6. Almendarez-Torres, 523 U.S. at 247.
7. Us. v. Meshack, 225 F.3d 556 (5th Cir.
(Tex.), Aug. 28, 2000).
8. Under section 841 , the maximum
penalty for possession of an unspecified
amount of crack cocaine is up to 20 years.
21 U.s.c. § 841(b)(l)(C). For 5 grams or
more, the range is from fIve to 40 years. 21
U.s.c. § 841 (b)(I )(B)(vii). For 50 grams or
more, the penalty range is from 10 years to
9. Meshack, 225 F.3d at 576.
10. The maximum penalty for possession
ofan unspecified amount of marijuana is five
years. 21 U.s.c. § 841 (b)(I)(D).
11. See 21 U.s.c. § 841 (b)(I)(C).
12. Meshack, 225 F.3d at 577-578.
13. Meshack, 225 F.3d at 578 n. 20.
14. Meshack, 225 F.3d at 578.
15. See!d.
16. Us. v. Doggett, 230 F.3d 160 (5th Cir.
(Tex.), Oct. 6, 2000).
17. Doggett, 230 F.3d at 165.
18. Id. at 166.
19. Us. v. Keith, 230 F.3d 784 (5th Cir.
(Tex.), Oct. 17,2000).
20. Us. v. Dabeit, 23 I F.3d 979 (5th Cir.
(Tex.), Oct. 30, 2000)
21. Us. v. Cuevas-Andrade, 232 F.3d 440
(5th Cir. (Tex.), Nov. 3, 2000).
22. 8 U.s.c. § 1326.
23. Id. at 984.
24. Cuevas-Andrade, 232 F.3d at 443 n. 1.
25. In re Tatum, 233 F.3d 857 (5th Cir.
(La.) , Nov. 15,2000.
26. Before filing a successive 2255 motion
in district court, the movant must get
authorization from the court of appeals. 28
U.s.c. §§ 2244(b)(3)(A), 2255.
27. 21 U.s.c. § 841 (a)(I) and (2).
28. 18 U.s.c. § 924(c) .
29. The court of appeals may authorize
the filing ofa successive § 2255 motion only
if the movant makes a prima facie showing
that his claim relies on either newly
discovered evidence or a new rule of
constitutional law made retroactive by the
Supreme Court to cases on collateral review.
28 U.s.c. §§ 2244(b)(3)(C) and 2255.
30 . Us. v. Slaughter, - F.3d -, 2000
Wi 1946670 (5th Cir. (Tex.), Dec. 8, 2000)
(No. 99-11142).
31. Slaughter, - F.3d at -, 2000 Wi
1946670 at *3.
32. Neder v. United States, 527 U.S. 1, 119
S.Ct. 1827, 1839 (I999) (holding that the
standard for measuring harmlessness ofa jury
instruction omitting an element of the
offense is "whether the record contains
evidence that could rationally lead to a
contrary finding with respect to the omitted
33. Slaughter, - F.3d at -, 2000 Wi
1946670 at *3.
34. Slaughter, - F.3d at -, 2000 Wi
1946670 at * I .
35. The New Jersey statute found
unconstitutional in Apprendi provided for
an "extended term" of imprisonment if the
trial judge found, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that "[r]he defendant in
committing the crime acted with a purpose
to intimidate an individual or group of
individuals because of race, color, gender,
handicap, religion, sexual orientation or
ethnicity." N.J. STAT. ANN. 2C:44-3(e) (West
Supp.2000). The federal drug statute, by
contrast, does not give the judge
responsibility for determining drug
quantities. See 21 U.s.c. § 841.
36. Burton v. Us. , - F.3d -,2000 Wi
1873831 (5th Cir. (Tex.), Dec. 22, 2000)
(No. 98-20294).
37. Burton, - F.3d at -, 2000 WL
1873831 at*-.
38. Burton, - F.3d at -, 2000 WL
1873731 at *-.
39. McWaine v. Us., - F.3d -, 2001
Wi30615 (5th Cir. (Miss.), Jan. 12,2001)
(No. 99-60265).
40. McWaine, - F.3d -, 2001 WL
30615 at *1.
4 I. McWaine, - F.3d -, 2001 WL
30615 at *4.
42. McWaine, - F.3d -, 2001 WL
30615 at *4.
43. Us. v. Salazar-Flores, - F.3d -,
200 I Wi 25691 (5th Cir. (Tex.), Jan. 25.
200 I) (No. 99-50956).
44. Salazar-Flores, - F.3d at -, 2001 WL
2569 I at * 1.
45. 21 U.s.c. § 841(b)(I)(D).
46. Salazar-Flores, - F.3d at -, 2001 WL
2569 I at * 1.
47. See In re Tatum, 233 F.3d 857,859.
48. Slaughter, - F.3d at - , 2000 WL
1946670 at *3.
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Spring 2001 THE DEFENDER • 9
The Motion for Downward Departure Based on Deportable Alien Status 
Supliose you are representing twO separate
clients in two separate cases in federal coure.
Both are arrested as parr of undercover drug
operations. Both are caught in transactions
involving distribution of equal amounts of
marijuana - 50 kilograms. Both plead guilty.
Under the Sentencing Guidelines, both cases
fall within the 24-30 month range . Both
are sentenced to 30 months.
Client A goes to a minimum security
prison. He remains in prison for 24 months,
after which he is released to a Community
Corrections Center (CCC), or halfway
house, as it is more commonly known? He
spends six months in the halfway house.
Finally, he resumes his life as a productive
member of society.
Client B also goes to prison, but because
he is ineligible for placement in a minimum
security prison, he is sent to a higher level
security prison. He remains in prison for the
entire 30 months. He is not released to a
halfway house; nor is he placed on home
confinement. In addition, he is subject to
an addi tional period of deten tion after
completing his sentence. The obvious
question is what circumstance or occurrence
caused Client B [Q be subjected to harsher
conditions? The not-so-obvious answer is
that Client B is not a United States citizen,
but an alien convicted of a crime occurring
in this country.
Section 1227 of Title 8 of the United
States Code provides a "laundry list" of
conditions that make an alien subject to
deportation. This list includes a wide range
of criminal offenses, including almost any
drug offense.
Thus, to use our example,
Client B's drug offense makes him a
"deportable alien." Because of his deportable
alien status, the client is in a vastly different
position compared [Q an individual who is
not a deporrable alien. As a deportable alien,
the client is ineligible to serve in a minimum
security prison.
He is ineligible for
parricipation in the Release Preparation
Program, a program that allows an inmate
to partici pate in courses to prepare him for
re-entry into society.s He is ineligible for
placement in a halfway house, or CCc.
Furthermore, he is ineligible for home
confinement under 18 U.s.c. § 3624 (c)
which provides:
that a prisoner serving a term of
imprisonment spends a reasonable part, not
to exceed six months, of the last 10 per
centum of the term co be served under
conditions that will afford the prisoner a
reasonable opportunity co adjust to and
prepare for the prisoner's re-entry into the
For no other reason than Client B's starus
as a deportable alien, he is ineligible for
numerous programs within the Bureau of
Prisons to assist him with his reentry into
society. Client B will never be eligible for a
six-month stay at a halfway house,S and will
serve his entire sentence in a designated level
security prison. Upon release from prison,
he is not released back into the community,
but must instead, pending deportation, be
released to the custody of the Attorney
Because of this "extra time" a deportable
alien must serve under stricter coriditions,
the appropriate remedy would be ro ask the
sentencing court co consider a downward
departure pursuant co Section 5K2.0 of the
Sentencing Guidelines. A two- level
reduction, if granted, would reduce Client
B's sentence from the 24 co 30 month range
to the 18 to 24 month range C a difference
of 6 months and equal to the time Client B
would be allowed to spend in a halfway
house were he not a deportable alien.
Some Courts of Appeals agree that a
downward deparrure may be appropriate
under these circumstances.
United States v.
Smith was one of the first cases to hold that
deportable alien stams is an appropriate basis
for downward departure. In that case, the
court reasoned that the imprisonment
conditions deportable aliens were subject to
were no different than the severity of a
defendant's term that would be "exacerbated
by his placement in solitary confinemene."lo
Subsequently, the court concluded that the
extended sentence of a deporrable alien
"could be 'offset' by a reduction in sentence"
as it was in the case of a defendant placed in
solitary confinemene.
The CourrofAppeals for the Fifth Circuit,
however, disagreed and " laid to rest" this
idea, holding that a defendant's status as a
deporrable alien is not a basis for a downward
deparrure in United States v. Nnanna.
courr stated, "Collateral consequences, such
as the likelihood of deportation or
ineligibility for more lenient conditions of
imprisonment, that an alien may incur
following a federal conviction are not a basis
for downward deparrure."13 The coun gave
little reasoning [Q supporr its holding. 14
Although we thought it was dead in the
Fifth Circuit, the idea of granting downward
deparrures based on deportable alien status
has recently begun [Q show signs of life. The
first sign of revival came when the Supreme
Courr issued its decision in Koon v. United
In Koon, the Supreme Courr held
that district courts have broad discretion [Q
deparr when a particular case is outside the
"hearcland" of Guideline cases.
thereafter, the Seventh Circuit, when faced
with the issue of downward deparrure based
on deporrable alien status, held that such
consideration would be appropriate, and
remanded a case [Q the district court so this
factor could be considered "in light of
This issue was recently raised before the
Fifth Circuit in United States v. Garay. IS In a
footnote, the court seemed [Q acknowledge
that Nnanna was no longer good law, stating,
"[t]o the extent that Nnanna categorically
proscribed alienage and its attendant
consequences as a basis for downward
deparrure, [the defendant's] assessment of its
limited precedential value in the wake of
Koon is correct." 19
In that case, Garay was convicted for being
an alien unlawfully found in the United
States following deportation.
requested on multiple occasions for the
district court [Q downward deparr because
"he is an alien and will be deported"; the
requests wete deniedY On appeal, Garay
argued solely "that his senrence shoul.d be
vacated and remanded for reconsideration
in light of Koon's directive than any factor
not mentioned in the Guidelines can serve
as a potential basis for departure."22 H e
further relied upon other circuits' holdings
that deportable alien status may be
considered .23 While the court conceded that
Nnanna was no longer good law in light of
Koon, the court distinguished Garay's case
from the cases which held that deportable
alien stams could be considered. The courr
10· THE DEFENDER Spring 2001
stated, "[TJ hese cases, which involved aliens
convicted of crimes other than immigration
offenses, are clearly distinguishable from the
instant case, in which Garay's status as a
deportable alien, as an inherent element of
his crime, has already been considered by
the Commission in formulating the
applicable guideline."24
According [0 the court, Nnanna "involved
an offense (bank fraud) in which the
defendant's S£atus as a deportable alien was
irrelevanr, whereas Garay was convicted of
an immigration offense [being unlawfully
found in the United States following
deportation] in which his status as a
deportable aIien was part and parcel of his
crime."25 \'Vhile the court's holding makes it
clear that deportable alien StatuS cannot be
considered as grounds for downward
departures in cases involving immigration
offenses, the court'S reasoning indicates that
such status can be considered as grounds for
downward departure in non-immigration
offinses. The court'S footnote, therefore,
appears [0 "raise from the dead" the district
coum' ability to consider a defendant's
deportable alien status as a basis for
downward departure.
Our firm currently has two cases before
the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
involving this issue, one of which was otally
argued in February. Hopefully, the court will
revisit this issue and fully discuss Nnanna in
these cases. In the meantime, if you have a
client who is a deportable alien, be sure to
move for a downward departure based on
his deportable alien status. Should the
prosecutor argue that Nnanna precludes the
court from considering the motion, invite
the court'S anenrion [0 Garay.
18 U.s.c. §3624(b)(1).
3. See 8 U.s.c. § 1227 (a)(2) (2000) .
4. See Federal Bureau of Prisons, Ptogram
Statement 5100.07, SECURlTY DESIGNATION
at 3 (Feb. 2, 2000) .
5. See Federal Bureau of Prisons, Program
Statement 5325 .05, RELEASE PREPARATION
PROGRAM, INSTITUTION, at 1 Ouly 22, 1996).
6. Id. Federal Bureau of Prisons, Program
Statement 7310.04, COMMUNITY
7. 18 U.S .c. § 3624 (c) (2000). See
Federal Bureau of Prisons, Program
Statement 7320.01, HOME CONFINEMENT,
at § 6 (Sept. 6, 1995) (stating that an inmate
must be eligible for placement in a CCC in
order to be considered for home
confinement) . According to the Bureau of
Prisons, 18 U.S.c. § 3621(b) aJlows the
Bureau [0 consider a Community
Corrections Center as a "penal or
correctional facility." Federal Bureau of
Prisons, Program Statement 7 310. 04,
§ 5. "Therefore, the Bureau is not restricted
by § 3624(c) in designating a CCC for an
inmate and may place an inmate in a CCC
for more than the 'last ten per centum of the
term,' or more than six months, if
appropriate." Id.
8. An inmate may be referred to a CCC
for up to 180 days. See Federal Bureau of
Prisons, Program Statement 7310 . 04,
§ 9.
9. See United States v. Smith, 27 F.3d 649,
655 (D.C. Cir. 1994); United States ll.
Faroui!, 124 F.3d 838, 847 (7th Cir. 1997) .
10. Id. at 654 (quoting United States v.
Lara, 905 F.2d 599, 603 (2d Cir. 1990)) .
11. Id. at 655.
12. United States v. Nnanna, 7 F.3d 420,
422 (5th Cir. 1993).
13. !d.
14. The only support the court gave for
this argument was a cite to the following
cases: United States v. Restrepo, 999 F.2d 640,
644 (2nd Cir. 1993); United States v.
Alvarez-Cardenas, 902 F.2d 734, 737 (9th
Cir. 1990); United States v. Soto , 918 F.2d
882,884-85 (10th Cir. 1990).
15. Koon v. United States, 518 U.S. 81,
116 S. Cr. 2035, 135 L. Ed. 2d 392 (1996).
16. !d. at 96,116 S. Ct. at 2045.
17. United States v. Faroui/, 124 F.3d 838,
847 (7th Cir. 1997) . See also United States v.
Bakeas, 987 F. Supp. 44 (D. Mass. 1997)
(discussing the effect of Koon and how the
status of being an alien can affect the
conditions of confinement) .
18. United States v. Garay, 235 F.3d 230
(5th Cir. 2000).
19. Id. at 234 n.18.
20. Id. at 231.
21. Jd.
22. !d. at 233.
23. Id. at 233 n.13. The cases Garay relied
upon were: United States v. DeBeir, 186 F.3d
561,569 (4th Cir. 1999); United States v.
Faroui!, 124 F.3d 838, 847 (7th Cir. 1997);
United States v. Smith, 27 F.3d 649, 655
(D.C. Cir. 1994).
24. Id. at 233.
25 . Id. at 234 n.18.
I.This is assuming a base offense level of
20 for a drug offense involving at least 40
kilograms but less than 60 kilograms of
marijuana, see United States Sentencing
Commission, Guidelines Manual, § 20l.1
(c)(10) (Nov. 2000), a criminal history
category 1, see USSG § 4A1.1, and a three
point adjustment for acceptance of
responsibility, see USSG § 3E1.l.
2. This hypothetical does not take into
consideration any credit toward service of
sentence for exemplary behavior pursuant to
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Spring 2001 THE DEFENDER· 11
As  Applied  to a Criminal Trial 
A few years ago I heard famed attorney
Tony Serra speak at a drug seminar. He is
the pony-tailed, 60's-cause lawyer whose case
inspired the movie True Believer. Tony was
an extraordinary speaker. I recall his voice
unexpectedly rising into a full scream and
just as suddenly dropping to a tiny whisper
as I hung on each word of advice. In one
moment, he spoke with pronounced
slowness, methodically enunciating each
word before suddenly erupting with in a wild
rush ofdisconnected thoughts that somehow
made perfect sense.
Tony said that as criminal defense
attorneys, we were a warrior class, comparing
criminal trials to wars. He suggested that we
study the ancient Chinese book of warfare,
The Art of War by Sun Tzu. After Tony's
speech, I immediately began my studies.
The book is a collection of commentaries
by ancient Chinese warriors and
philosophers regarding how to achieve
success in organized conflict. I have found
many of the commentaries applicable to
what we do as trial lawyers. I have also found
that we instinctively follow many of the
commentaries without even knowing it.
What follows is a brief summary of some
of the commentaries followed by my
interpretation on how the commentaries
apply co criminal trials. All of the
commentaries are taken from the Shambhala
Publications of The ArtofWar by Sun Tzu as
translated by Thomas Cleary.
I should note that while I believe much of
The Art ofWar is applicable to our work, I
do not encourage hostile relationships with
prosecutors. To the contrary, I don't believe
that you have (0 be a jerk to zealously
represent your client. My personal approach
with prosecutors has always been to be
friendly, honest and, as the book teaches,
Master Sun 
"Leadership  is a matter of 
intelligen«:e, trustworthiness, 
humanness, oourage and 
Good criminal defense lawyers must be
leaders in their cases and this requires all of
the above-characteristics. The best among us
are not only intelligent but also courageous.
Hemingway described courage as "grace
under pressure." Courage in the courtroom
means remaining calm and strong while
under fierce attack.
Master Sun 
"Disdpline means 
organization, «:hain  of 
«:ommand  and  logisti«:s" 
To win a trial you must prepare with
discipline. I use a witness preparation chart
to keep up with the status of the preparation
of each witness. I also make it clear to client
and witnesses that as far as chain of
command is concerned, I am the general. If
you've ever had a case with twenty-five
witnesses then you know the importance of
planning logistics before trial. You cannot
win unless you can get your witnesses,
(troops), to court.
Master Sun 
"Use these assessments for 
«:omparison, to find  out 
what the «:onditions are. 
That is to say, whi«:h  politi«:al 
leadership has the Way? 
Whi«:h  general has ability? 
Who has the better dimate 
and terrain? Whose disdpline is 
effedive? Whose troops are the 
stronger? Whose offi«:ers 
and  soldiers are better trained? 
Whose system of rewards and 
punishment is dearer? 
Thism  is  how you «:an  know 
who will win:' 
This is one of my favorite commentaries.
We can analyze certain factors before a batrle
and we can make a pretty good estimate of
who is going to win. We all do this every
day at the courthouse. You probably already
ask yourself most of these questions when
analyzing your chances for victory:
(1). Which lawyer, (political leadership),
has the better theory; the theory that the jury
will believe and follow, (the Way)?
(2). Which lawyer, (general), is better?
Never underestimate the prosecutors because
they try more cases than we do. But don't
underestimate yourself. Hard work can make
up a lot of ground where experience is
(3). Who has the better press situation,
(climate), and who has the better
relationship with the court, (the terrain)?
Generally if there is any press on our cases,
it's not favorable to the defense. When was
the last time you read an article that was
favorable to the defense before trial?
However, there are issues that catch the
attention of the press that may favor us?
DNA acquittals have finally shown the
ultimate unreliability of eyewitness
identification. So while the press on your
individual case might not be good, the press
on your issues might be quite favorable.
(4). Which side is working harder in
preparing for trial? (discipline)
(5). Who has the witnesses (troops) with
the strongest testimony?
(6). Which side's witnesses are better
prepared for trial?
All of these factors should be considered
before trial in assessing our chance for victory
Master Sun 
"Even  though you 
are «:ompetent, appear 
to be in«:ompetent. 
Though effedive, appear 
to be ineffedive:' 
I call this the "Columbo Routine". Do not
tell the prosecutor you are going to beat
them; it will only make them work harder.
Create the impression that you are not sure
what's going on, and the prosecutor,
particularly if he is arrogant, will take you
for granted as an easy adversary. Obviously
this does not work with prosecutors who
know you prepare for trial and you should
also be aware that a number of prosecutors
are known -to use the "Columbo Routine".
Jia  Lin 
"For the weak to «:ontrol  the 
strong it is  logi«:ally  ne«:essary to 
await a «:hange:' 
When our client is first arrested, we are
typically at our weakest. We have nothing.
The prosecution has identified, located, and
interviewed witnesses and put together a
12 • THE DEFENDER Spring 2001
prosecution  report;  they are strong. Ifwe are 
ro  win,  we  must  effectuate  a  change  by 
beginning  our  trial  preparations 
immediately.  Preparation  is  the  key  to
controlling the  strong and the  ultimate  key 
ro  victory! 
Master Sun 
"Use anger to throw 
them  into disarray:' 
If we are known  for  having a shorr fuse,  a 
smarr  prosecutor  will  purposely  do  things 
to upset  us.  While  gerring  angry  may 
motivate  us  at  time,  it  may also  cause  us  to
lose  our focus . 
Ho Yanxi 
"If you  use the enemy to 
defeat the enemy, you  will 
be strong wherever you go:' 
Do  your  best  to  know  more  about  the 
prosecution's case  than  they do. This  means 
investigation  and  interviewing  their 
witnesses.  Use  State  witnesses  ro  impeach 
each  other.  Just  because someone  is  labeled 
a "State's" witness,  does  not mean  that all  of 
his  information supports the State. You  may 
find  in  interviewing a supposed State witness 
that  they  have  very  little  to  say  ro  help  the 
State  and  a  whole  lot  ro  say  that  helps  the 
defense.  If the State calls this witness ro  make 
a  few  points,  turn  them  around  on  cross  ro 
gu t  the State's case. 
Master Sun 
"Invincibility is a matter 
of defense; vulnerability is 
a matter of attack:' 
The State's  case  is  most  vulnerable  when 
you  are cross-examining (attacking). If your 
witnesses  are  honest and  well-prepared,  the 
defense  will  be  invincible. 
Master Sun 
"Be extremely subtle, even to 
the point of formlessness:' 
Do  not  let  the  prosecution  know  what 
your  defensive  theory  is,  unless  required  as 
in  an  insanity case. The element of surprise 
is  vital  ro  an  effective  defense.  Keep  your 
position formless,  so  that the State does  nor 
know what ro  prepare  for. 
"Fight going down, 
not climbing up:' 
At  the  Batrie  of  Gettysburg,  Union 
General  John  Bufford  commanded  the 
Calvary.  Buford  arrived  at  the  scene  first, 
surmised  that there would  be a  major batrle, 
and quickJy rook and held the high ground. 
His  actions  were  parr  of the  key  factors 
behind  the Union's  vicrory at  Gettysburg. 
Prior  to  trial,  ascertain  where  the  moral 
high ground  is;  take  it  from  the start of the 
case and never  let go.  Make the prosecution 
fight  uphill. 
I  highly  recommend  that  you  obtain  a 
copy of The Art o/War and  study  it.  It has 
served  me well;  perhaps it will serve you well, 
too.  Good  luck 
THE DEFENDER·  13 Spring 2001 
Prison and parole law never really came
up in law school. Heck, it wasn't even in the
bar exam study materials. But since joining
Bill Habern's firm about two years ago, it's
been a big part of what I do every day. I've
noticed that many criminal lawyers try to
avoid having to deal with this area of the law.
Some even try to pretend it doesn't exist. I
can't say I blame them; it once took me a
whole afternoon just to figure out an inmate's
time credit in order to calculate his parole
eligibility. Sometimes, though, a lawyer's lack
of knowledge in this area can be harmful to
the client (I've met a number of inmates who
pled guilty, in pan, on the advice of lawyers
who told them they could count on being
released from prison on their parole eligibility
date or their mandatory supervision
This article will share some of the current
trends and statistics in this area of law. I am
hopeful that this information will be helpful
to lawyers who aren't exposed to it everyday,
but who seek to honestly inform their clients
about what to expect from the Texas Parole
System. For the most part, this information
is not what clients want to hear.
The first thing clients need to understand
is that parole isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Some parolees wish they were back in prison
after being subjected to programs like Super
Intense Supervision (S.LS.P.), Sex Offender
Caseload and Sex Offender Registration (by
the way, the Parole Board can require a
parolee to register as a sex offender as a
condition of parole, even if the person hasn't
been convicted ofa sex offense under Chapter
62, C.CP.). We have had several parolees
contact our office and ask if we could get
them back into prison without a penalty, so
that they could be allowed to do their time
and discharge their cases without having to
be on parole. These people were
overwhelmed by the demands ofsupervision.
In their cases, these demands were beyond
what's reasonable to expect of anyone. One
recent client who was on S.I.S.P. (and subject
to an electronic monitor) was required to
abide by a daily schedule that left no time
for grocery shopping or going to do his
laundry. Having to go out and get a job, pay
rent, attend required counseling sessions, all
while flawlessly following the ten or twenty
other instructions of a parole officer, can be
Sometimes the stress comes from
ridiculous parole conditions and the
incompetence of employees of the Parole
Division (the Texas agency charged with
supervising parolees). I recently had a client
who had served a couple years on a 12-year
sentence for a 1980's convenience store
robbery in which he punched the clerk and
took $50 in cash and a six pack. Other than
the arm he used to punch the clerk, he was
unarmed. He had no priors. He paroled to
Austin in the early 1990's, and got a job with
a construction company. The Austin parole
office found him an apartment with another
parolee, where he was required to live. To
get to work and to the Austin parole office
to report every week, my client had to drive.
Strangely, the Austin parole office denied him
the ability to get a driver's license (this turned
out to be an illegal condition of parole, as it
was imposed by the Parole Division but not
the Parole Board). There was nothing in his
history to suggest that a driver's license would
threaten the public safety; he hadn't even used
a car to flee from the robbery he committed
back in the 80's. Over the next few months,
he received 4 or 5 tickets for driving without
a license. Knowing that this trend was
hazardous for his continued freedom, he
requested that his parole officer allow him
to get a driver's license, or in the alternative,
that he be allowed to transfer his parole
through the Interstate Compact to the State
of Arizona. He had friends and family in
Arizona, better opponunltles for
employment, and Arizona would allow him
to get a driver's license. His requests were
denied on the basis ofan Austin parole office
policy that has since been disavowed: "a
parolee must be supervised by the same parole
officer for a period of 90 days before any
changes can be made in his conditions" At
that time, the turnover was so high in the
Austin parole office that my client was getting
a new parole officer every thirty days or so,
which perpetually prevent ed a change in
conditions. With an eye toward self-
preservation, my client finally Red to Arizona,
where he began a hardworking, successful life
(with a driver's license) . When I gOt the case,
he had been picked up on a blue warrant - a
parole violator warrant - and was facing a
revocation hearing back in Texas . We were
able to help the hearing officer understand
the crazy conditions he was living under, and
his parole was not revoked. In  my experience
with other parolees, the frustration he faced
in Texas is common.
Another problem is th at most parole
officers are overworked, and understandably
have little patience for minor screw-ups.
Others seem frustrated that their parolees
haven't been punished enough for the crime
they went to prison for. In a recent revocation
hearing, my client 's parole officer
recommended that he be revoked for his
technical violation; her only rationale was
that he was a danger to society, as evidenced
by his original offense. A few parole officers
are "wan nabe" law enforcement officers. I
encountered a parole officer in West Texas
last month who wore his State ofTexas Parole
Officer badge on his belt. This man had a
long and shady history. After leaving his job
as a used car salesman, he went to work as a
probation officer. The ptobation people ran
him off for one reason or another. Now a
parole officer, he hangs out at the local
sheriff's office on a regular basis, where he
has attempted to gain employment as a law
enforcement officer. Our experience with this
man was not a good one. In my opinion, he
should never have been put in a position of
power over others.
Our office recently uncovered some very
interesting recidivism statistics that could be
read to reflect many of the problems noted
above. These figures come straight from the
14· THE DEFENDER Spring 2001
Governor's office, and are the resulr of a 3-
year statistical study beginning in 1995.
overall three-year recidivism rate was 31
percent for parolees and 37 percent for those
released on mandatory supervision. Those
numbers are broken down further to reflect
recidivism based on new felony offenses.
Here's where it gets interesting:
Percentage of parolees who were revoked
for new felony offenses: 17. 2%
Percentage of offenders released on
mandatory supervision who were revoked
for new felony offenses: 18.4%
Percentage of offenders who "flat way"
discharged who were sent back to prison for
new felony offenses: 11.2%
Offenders who "flat-way" discharge are
ineligible for or denied parole and mandatory
supervision, and serve out their entire
sentences in prison. These offenders are never
subjected to parole-rype supervision.
numbers above seem to bring into question
the quality and success of parole-type
supervision in Texas. I'm sure the Governor's
office will find a way to re-crunch these
numbers to arrive at a different
interpretation, but for now they're interesting
to ponder.
The Current Climate 
For Getting Released 
On Parole or Mandatory 
Supervision  in Texas 
Despite the potential horrors of being on
parole-type supervision in this state, most
inmates would rather be out of prison than
in. As of August 1999, the running average
parole approval rate for the year 1999 was
around 22 percent , and the current
mandatory supervision approval rate was
around 52.46 percent. These numbers have
been on the rise since shortly before the
presidential elections, hitting close to 30
percent approval for parole and close to 60
percent approval for mandatory supervision.
This trend will probably continue as long as
the prisons are short on bed space.
The overall parole and mandatory
supervision approval rates are only useful in
that they provide a general idea of what the
Texas Parole System is doing. They aren't
good indicators of whether a particular
individual is likely to ger released, because
the approval numbers vary drastically by
category of offense. Here are some of the
notable examples that every lawyer should
be aware of (the following numbers are
running averages for the year 1999, as of
August 1999). For aggravated sex offenders,
the parole approval rate is .85 percent - less
than one percent.
These offenders are not
eligible for mandatory supervi sion. For non-
aggravated sex offenders, the parole approval
rate is 6.61 percenr.
These offenders aren't
eligible for mandatory supervision either. The
general rule here is that sex offenders should
count on doing every day of their sentence.
It has also been our experience lately that
felony D. WI. offenders and intoxication
mamlaughter offenders are being made to serve
their entire sentences in prison, particularly
when they receive sentences of five years or
under. We have also noticed that offenders
of any type with sentences under three years
run a good ri sk of serving their entire
sentences in prison. The highest approval rate
is for nonviolent offenders {no sex offeme}.
These offenders enjoy a 26.14 percentS parole
approval rate and a 55.16 percent
supervision approval rate.
One game that we criminal lawyers tend
to play is getting a charge reduced to make it
look less serious than it really is, in return
for a guilty plea. This can be beneficial to
the client, depending on the circumstances.
It is of no benefit, however, when the goal is
to fool the Parole Board. The Board has
become astute enough so that it looks past
the label of the offense, and focuses on the
offense conduct. For example, simply
pleading away a deadly weapon finding (or
any other aspect) to remove the conviction
from Article 42.12 Sec. 3(g) will not remove
it in the eyes of the Board. The Board will
view the case as a 3(g) and vote it in a way
that equalizes it with other cases that actually
are 3(g) convictions. Anything in the record,
including the indictment and the police
report, can tip off the Parole Board as to what
was really going on. One way to avoid this
could be to plead to a revised information
upon dismissal of the original indictment.
Another bargaining tool could be getting the
prosecutor to agree not to protest parole.
Parole-type supervision in Texas is certainly
no cakewalk. Even given the hardships, most
inmates would rather be out of prison than
in. Clients facing potential prison terms
should have the benefit of knowing what to
expect from the fUture if they are convicted,
or if they choose to plead guilty. This includes
knowing that being released on parole or
mandatory supervision is never a sure thing,
and for some offenders it's next to impossible.
1. Sean Buckley is a 1999 grad uate of the
University of Texas School of Law. He
currently operates the Houston office for the
firm of Habern, O'Neil & Buckley, which
specializes in state and federal prison, parole,
corrections, and sentencing matters.
2. Mandatory supervision was once
mandatory, as its name implies. Since 1996,
it has been discretionary with the Parole
Board. It's not even available anymore for
many offenses.
3. Governor's Criminal Justice Policy
Council. Statistical study applies to figures
for parole and mandatory supervision. "Flat-
way" discharge numbers were not parr of the
statistical study.
4. It's also interesting to note that offenders
who "flat-way discharge" tend to be the real
bad actors - either people who committed
heinous offenses or who have serious prison
disciplinary records. These are the people
who couldn't get parole or mandatory
5. Numbers for the month of August ,
6. 2,581 eligible inmates considered,
22 approved.
7. 2,831 eligible inmates considered,
187 approved.
8. 43,606 eligible inmates considered,
11,397 approved.
9. 10,663 eligible inmates considered,
5,882 approved.
Spring 2001 THE DEFENDER· 15
In State v. Hardy, 963 S.W2d 516(Tex.
Crim. App. 1997), the Court of Criminal
Appeals held that there was no right of
privacy in one's medical records in Texas. On
December 28, 2000, President Clinton
signed federal regulations providing a federal
privacy right in medical records. The new
rules, which become effective February 26,
200 I , are the result of the 1996 Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA), and are authorized and required
by §§ 117l through 1179 of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C 1320d-1329d-8, as
added by § 262 of Pub. L. 104-191 , 110
Stat. 2021-2031 and § 264 ofPub. L. 104-
191,42 U.s.C 1320d-2 (note) . The federal
regulations restore to Texans the privacy
rights expected by most Texans before the
decision in Hardy.
While the primary focus of HIPAA was
to ensure that workers would not lose their
insurance if they cha nged jobs, it also
required new privacy standards. According
to the Preamble of the regulations:
This final rule establishes, for the first
time, a set of basic national privacy standards
and fair information practices that provides
all Americans with a basic level of protection
and peace of mind that is essential to their
fuJi participation in their care.
The final rule can be found at http:// An index to the
regulations and links to various formats for
viewing and download ing the regulations
can be found at
final/index.htm. The text of the regulations
(other than the Preamble) can be found in
HTML format at
admnsimp/final/ Pvc TxtO 1. htm
The final rules were the result of proposals
made more than a year earlier. Over 66,000
statements from consumer and industry
groups were filed and considered before the
final rules were adopted. The regulations
provide broad privacy protections, covering
nor only electronic transactions as originally
proposed, but paper records and oral
communications as well. The new rules also
established criminal and civil penalties for
improper disclosures of personal medical
information. Intentional disclosure can result
in a $50,000 fine and a one-year prison
sentence, and penalties for selling medical
information are even higher.
These regulations effectively overrule the
Court of Criminal Appeals' decision in
Hardy because they expressly preempt
contrary or conflicting state laws - which
include state court decisions that have the
force of law. 45 CF.R §§ 160.201 through
As it relates to obtaining blood test results
from a hospital by using a gtand jury
subpoena, § 164.512 provides:
§ 164.512 Uses and disclosures for which
consent, an authorization, or opportunity
to agree or object is not required. A covered
entity may use or disclose protected health
information without the written consent or
authorization of the individual as described
in §§ 164.506 and 164.508, respectively, or
the opportunity for the individual to agree
or object as described in § 164.510, in the
situations covered by this section, subject to
the applicable requirements of this section.
When the covered entity is required by this
section to inform the individual of, or when
the individual may agree to, a use or
disclosure permitted by this section, the
covered entity's information and the
individual's agreement may be given orally.
a.) to e.) [Omitted in this paperJ.
f.) Standard: disclosures for law
enforcement purposes. A covered entity
[basically a health care provider] may disclose
protected health information for a law
enforcement purpose to a law enforcement
official if the conditions in paragraphs (F)( I)
through (f)(6) of this section are met , as
(1.) Permitted disclosures: pursuant to
process and as otherwise required by law. A
covered entity may disclose protected heal th
(i.) As required by law including laws that
require the reporting of certain types of
wounds or other physical injuries, except for
laws subject to paragraph (b.)( 1.)(ii .) or
(c.)(1 .)(i.) of this section; or
(ii.) In compliance with and as limited by
the relevant requiremen ts of:
(A.) A court order or co urt-ordered
warrant, or a subpoena or summons issued
by a judicial officer;
(B.) A grand jury subpoena; or
(C) An administrative request, including
an administrative subpoena or summons, a
civil or an authorized investigative demand,
or similar process authorized under law,
provided that:
(1.) The information sought is relevant
and material to a legitimate law enforcement
(2.) The request is specific and limited in
scope to the extent reasonably practicable in
light of the purpose for which the
information is sought; and
(3.) De-identified information could not
reasonably be used.
Thus, a hospital "may disclose protected
health information ... [iJ n compliance with
and as limited by the relevant requirements
of ... [aJ grand jury subpoena." Importantly,
the disclosure must be (1.) "in compliance
with" and (2.) "as limited by the relevant
requirements of" a grand jury subpoena. A
disclosure that is not in compliance with a
grand jury subpoena or that is contrary to
the requirements of a grand jury subpoena
is not authorized by the regulations and
would be illegal.
For example, the disclosure of "all medical
records" in response to a grand jury subpoena
seeking "laboratory records of a blood
alcohol analysis" would not be in compliance
with the grand jury subpoena . Any
information contained in such records -
beyond those authorized by the grand jury
subpoena, i.e., the "laboratory records of a
blood alcohol analysis" - would be illegally
obtained and subject to exclusion under T EX.
CODE CRIM. PRO. ANN. art. 38.23.
Further, a disclosure of records to some
peace officer serving the grand jury
subpoena, rather than to the grand jury as
directed by the subpoena, would be contrary
to both the subpoena and the statutory
"requirements of" a grand jury subpoena.
While the federal privacy regulations
permit disclosures in response to grand juty
Spring 2001
subpoenas  so  long  as  the  disclosure  is 
consistent  with  the  subpoena  and  the 
requirements  of the  laws  regulating  grand 
jury subpoenas, it is  no longer carte blanche 
to  disclose  any  medical  records  in  any  way 
that some  prosecutor wants. 
There  are  a  variety  of requirements  for 
grand  jury  subpoenas  in  Texas  that  are 
seldom  observed  or  obeyed  when  the 
prosecutOr  issues  a grand jury subpoena for 
blood  test  results. 
First,  although  a  document  may purport 
to  be  a  grand  jury  subpoena,  it  may  not 
actually  be such:  the label  on the document 
does  not  mean  that it  is  what  the  label says 
it  is.  For example,  I  could call  this  article  a 
grand  jury  subpoena,  but,  even  if  I  was  a 
prosecutor,  the  mere  label  would  not  make 
it  a  grand  jury  subpoena.  While  the  law 
allows  the attorney representing the state  to 
issue  a  grand  jury  subpoena,  TEX.  CODE 
CRlM.  PROe.  ANN.  arts.  20.10,20.11, 24.15 
(Vernon  1977) , it may be done only for any 
offense  subject  to  indictment.  TEX.  CODE 
CRfM.  PRoe.  ANN.  arts.  20 .03,  20.09 
(Vernon  1977) ; TEX.  CONST.  art.  Y,  17. 
Moreover,  in  order  for  a  document  to 
actually be a grand jury subpoena,  there had 
to  have  been,  at  the  very  least,  an  actual 
investigation  by  a  grand  jury.  I f  there  was 
no grand jury investigation and  the  piece of 
paper was issued by the attorney representing 
the state solely for  the purpose of discovery, 
a  legitimate argument can be  made that  the 
document  is  a  sham  and  is  not,  in  fact,  a 
grand jury subpoena. Grand jury subpoenas 
were  never  intended  to  be  used  as  a 
prosecutorial  fishing  pole,  wholly 
independent of the grand jury process. Such 
use  subverts  the  independence  of a  grand 
In  the  case  of a  grand  jury  subpoena 
seeking  the  production  of records,  rather 
than only the appearance of a witness  before 
the grand jury,  there must be an application 
made to the district court. While TEX.  CODE 
CRlM.  PROe.  ANN.  art.  20.10  provides  for 
subpoenaing  a  witness  to  a  grand  jury  to 
testify,  it  does  not  provide  for  a  subpoena 
deuces  tecum;  that  is  for  the  production  of 
records .  Rather,  in  order  to  obtain  a 
subpoena  duces  tecum,  the  provisions  of 
TEX.  CODE  CRIM.  PROe.  ANN.  art.  20.11 
(Vernon  1977)  must  be  followed.  Section 
one  of Article  20.11  in  pertinent  part 
The foreman or the attorney representing 
the  State  may,  upon written application  to 
the  district  court  stating  the  name  and 
residence  of  the  witness  and  that  his 
testimony is  believed  to  be  material, cause a 
subpoena  or an  attachment  to  be  issued  to 
any  county  in  the  State  for  such  witness, 
returnable to  the grand jury then in sess ion, 
or to the next grand jury for  the county from 
whence the same issued,  as  such foreman or 
attorney  may  desire.  The  subpoena  may 
require  the  witness  to  appear  and  produce 
records  and  documents. 
Frequently,  the  attorney representing  the 
State will, without firs t having made written 
application to the district court, issue a grand 
jury  subpoena  ordering  the  custodian  of 
records for a hospital to appear and produce 
a person's  medical  records.  Such a subpoena 
is  in  violation  of TEX.  CODE  CRlM.  PROe. 
ANN.  art.  20.11.  If records  are  obtained  in 
this  manner  without  complying  with  the 
statutOry requirements, they are obtained in 
violation of the foregoing statutes and should 
be suppressed  pursuant  to Article 38.23. 
Finally, even assuming that the grand jury 
subpoena  was  not  a  sham  and  that  it  was 
legall y  issued,  the  records  and  the 
information  in  them  may  be  illegally 
obtained  by  the  attorney  representing  the 
state  by  virtue  of the  manner  in  which  the 
grand  jury  subpoena  is  executed  and 
returned.  Generally,  a grand  jury subpoena 
for  medical records is executed by delivering 
it  to  the hospital's custOdian of records, who 
immediately  produces  the  records  to  the 
officer  serving  the  subpoena.  The  officer 
serving  the  subpoena  then  delivers  the 
records directly to  the attorney for the state. 
Seldom, if ever,  does such officer deliver the 
records  to  the  District  Clerk  or  to  the 
foreman of the grand jury as  required by TEX. 
CODE  CRlM.  PROe. ANN.  art. 20.13 (Vernon 
1977) , which  provides: 
The  bailiff or other  officer  who  receives 
process to be served from  the grand jury shall 
forthwith  execute  the same and  return  it  to 
the  foreman,  if the grand jury be in  session; 
and  if the grand jury  be  not  in  session,  the 
process shall be returned to the district clerk. 
Frequently,  the  return  of the  documents 
will  be  made  only  to  the  attorney 
representing the state precisely because there 
is  no true grand jury investigation.  In either 
event,  however,  the  knowledge  of  the 
attorney  representing  the  state  about  the 
contents  of the  records  will  have  been  as  a 
direct result of the violation ofArticle 20.13. 
Unless  disclosure  of the  medical  records 
is  " [iJn  compliance  with  and  as  limited  by 
the  relevant  requirements  [aJ  grand  jury 
subpoena," it is  prohibited under federal  law. 
When  the  attorney  representing  the  State, 
or other law enforcement official,  has learned 
about  the  contents  of the  medical  records, 
i.e., specific blood test results, as a result of a 
process  inconsistent  with  the  terms  and 
requirements of a grand jury subpoena, such 
attorney  will  have  gained  such  knowledge 
in  violation  of federal  law.  Information 
gained  in  violation  of  federal  law  is 
inadmissable  under Article  38.23. 
Even  though  many  doubted  the 
correctness  and  intellectual  honesty  of the 
decision in Hardy, the new federal  regulations 
have  made  such  debate  moot.  Hardy is  no 
longer  the  law.  Texans  once  again  have  a 
privacy  interest  - this  time  a  supreme, 
preemptive, federally granted privacy interest 
- in  their medical  records. 
Forensic Science Associates
Criminal/Civil ConsultinG  •  Crime Scene  Reconstruction  •  Firearmsffool Mark Exams 
Complete Laboratory Analysis  •  Lab Accreditation Consulting· Forensic Training Classes 
Edward E. Hueske
541  Halifax Lane Coppell, Texas 75019 
Phone:  (972)  304-8668· Fax: (972)  393-3612 
Spring 2001  THE DEFENDER·  17 
The Children's Assessment Center 
In Ocrober 2000, the Children's
Assessment Center senr a letter to every
Harris County judge; trial and appellate,
juvenile and adult, district and county, and
family. This letter announced the formation
of the Judicial Council of the Children's
Assessment Cenrer (CAC). After publication
of this lerrer on the HCCLA web site, two
motions to recuse that raised the issue have
been granted. The lerrer follows this article.
The stated goals of the CAC include,
among other things, providing experts to aid
prosecutors in the prosecution of sexual
abuse cases, to provide a videotaped forensic
interview of a child alleging sexual abuse, to
provide medical examinations to children
alleging sexual abuse and to thereafter testifY
to such medical findings, and to advocate
for the children throughout the prosecution
process. Twelve local judges agreed to be part
of the initial Judicial Council. The judges
are named in the lerrer. It was the goal of the
CAC to have every Harris County judge
eventually serve on the Judicial Council. The
stated purpose for the creation of the Judicial
Council was to "open the dialogue regarding
our mutual concerns about the sensitivity
ofchild sexual abuse cases." The first meeting
of the Judicial Council was in September,
2000 and concerned "medical subpoenas."
In the first case, Chris Flood moved to
recuse Judge Joan Huffman from a sexual
assault of a child case. On December 7,
2000, after a full evidentiary hearing, Judge
Suzanne Stovall, who is the elected judge of
the 221st District Court in Montgomery
County and who was appointed by Judge
Olen Underwood, Presiding Judge of the
Second Administrative Judicial Region, to
hear the motion, gran ted the motion to
recuse. Interestingly, Judge Stovall is also the
Chairperson of the Commirree on Judicial
Ethics of the Judicial Section of the State
Bar of Texas. This committee issues ethics
opinions relating to the Code of Judicial
In the second case, Luis Vallejo sought to
recuse Judge Ted Poe from hearing an
aggravated sexual assaulr of a child case based
on his membership on and leadership role
in the CAC Judicial Council. This time,
Judge Underwood did not appoinr another
judge to hear the motion to recuse - he
heard it himself. After a full evidentiary
hearing, the motion to recuse was granted.
Even though it was not a basis on which
recusal was sought, Judge Underwood
claimed to be granting the motion to recuse
only because Judge Poe appeared at the
hearing represented by John O'Quinn,
which injected Judge Poe as an advocate and
made him subject to recusal on that basis.
Judge Underwood claimed to deny the
motion as it concerned the CAC issue.
Interestingly, the following day the State
dismissed the charges when the case was
called for trial in the IBOth District Court.
Anyone who has a case in a court where
the judge is a member of the "Judicial
Council" should investigate the
appropriateness ofa motion to recuse in their
case. In Arnold v. State, B53 S.W2d 543 (Tex.
Crim. App. 1993), the Court of Criminal
Appeals held that TEX. R. Civ. P. IBa and
IBb apply to the recusal ofjudges in criminal
cases. Rule IBb(2) provides:
10514 Hondo Hill 
Houston, Texas 77064 
Fax: 281-477-8948 
Pager: 713-878-0024
Cellular: 713-539-3751 
A judge shall recuse himself in any
proceeding in which:
(a.) his impartiality might reasonably be
(b.) he has a personal bias or prejudice
concerning the subject marrer or a party ....
The provisions of Rules IBa and IBb are
mandatory. Gonzales v. Gonzales, 659 S.W.2d
900 (Tex. App.-EI Paso 19B3, no writ).
At the very least, a colorable (if not very
persuasive) argument can be made that the
impartiality of a judge might reasonably be
questioned (even if such judge has no actual
bias or prejudice) when (1) such judge is a
member of the CAe's Judicial Council and
in such capacity aids the CAC in providing
berrer services related to the prosecu tion of
sexual abuse cases and (2) such judge presides
over a sexual abuse case and particularly a
case in which the CAC has had actual
involvement. For example and rhetorically,
one could reasonably question how objective
(i.e., how impartial) a judge would be in
response to a motion to exclude the
testimony ofwitness who is a CAC employee
when the judge is on a commirree of the
witness' employer and when such
commirree's purpose is to aid the CAC is
providing the kinds of services that the
witness is in court testifYing about; indeed,
when such witness is a service aided by the
committee's purpose.
Whether a lawyer should seek to recuse a
judge in any particular case will always
depend on the individual case and the
inrerests of the client in that case. However,
in order to adequately advise the client, the
lawyer should be familiar with the facts and
law relating to the issue so that an intelligenr
and informed decision can be made.
In early February, the Committee on
Judicial Ethics issued Ethics Opinion 270.
This opinion held that it violates the Judicial
Cannons of Ethics for a Judge to serve on
the Judicial Council of the Children's
Assessment Center. The index page for the
committee's ethics opinions may be found
at}udethicsl. The
web page conraining the opinion may be
fou nd at
Judethics/261-270.htm. The opinion is
reproduced with the CAC letter below it.
Spring 2001
Is it a violation of the Judicial Canons of Ethics for a judge to serve
on the judicial council of the Children's Assessment Center?
Ethics Opinion 270 (2001) 
Question:  Is  it a violation  of the Judicial 
Canons of Ethics for a judge to serve on  the 
judicial council of the Children's Assessment 
Center.  The  center  is  a  public/private 
partnership whose  mission  is  "to  provide  a 
professional, compassionate and coordinated 
approach to the treatment ofsexually abused 
children  and  their  families  and  to  serve  as 
an  advocate  for  all  children  in  our 
community."  The  center  provides  various 
servIces  to such  children  such  as:  1. 
videotaping  a  forensic  interview  with  the 
child sexual abuse victi m; 2.  provide a sexual 
assault  examination;  3.  provide  expert 
testimony  in  civil  and  criminal  court;  4. 
provide advocacy for  children as  they make 
their  way  through  the  justice  system. The 
purpose of the judicial counsel  is  to  open a 
dialogue  regarding  mutual  concerns  about 
the sensitivity of child sex  abuse cases. 
Answer: Yes,  it is  a violation of the Judicial 
Canons of Ethics for a judge to serve on such 
a  council.  It  is  a  judge's  function  to  aCt 
impartially and to be seen as  neutral . Canon 
2 provides, ''A judge...should act at all  times 
in a manner that promotes public confidence 
in  the  integrity  and  impartiality  of  the 
judiciary. Canon 2B provides, ''A judge shall 
not  allow  any  relationship  to influence 
judicial conduct or judgement. A judge shall 
not  lend  the  prestige  of judicial  office  to 
advance the private interest of ... others;  nor 
shall  a  judge  conveyor  permit  others  to 
convey  the  impression  that  they  are  in  a 
special  position  to  influence the judge."  For 
a  judge  to  give  advice  to  an  organization 
whose  mission  is  to  advocate  for  witnesses/ 
parties  in  law  suits  is  a  violation  of  this 
Cannon  4  which  requires  a  judge  to 
conduct extrajudicial  activities  so  as  not to 
interfere  with  judicial  duties  would  be 
violated. Membership on this council would 
require frequent recusal  in cases in  which the 
members of the organization were testifYing. 
The committee has issued several opinions 
regarding  similar  organizations  and  has 
consistently  found  membership  in  such 
groups  to  be a  violation  of the  Canons.  See 
Opinions 66,  86,  133,  225  and  240. 
T II  C C Ii i I  of r C II A  .'  .'  C .'  !  111 .. II'  l C JI ,  " r
Oclolltr S.  2000 
The  (' enrt"r  rrccnlly  .,I JUIIICI;.1 II) help 
U:i soxuilily  ,hdllr," in Hwna Count)'.  ThIS cLln,-iiSIS of 
Judges  repre5.enHni:Juvenilc:.  f;Jlllily. appellate  and  crimlMI  coun.s 
I"ht  purpOSe  of Ihe  Jodiclill  council  Ii (0 open  Ihc  dilloo.ue  rcgardlnll  l)Ui' n1Ulull 
cOllcena;  aboUI  Ihc  .'en5IIIVI["l,·  chilll  c:u.cs..  11 is  our  goal  ILl h3... e  all 
in fUrn);  Counry  e"encually  u:rve  nn  thili: jUdlCll1  cnunclI.  Our  fl)und;:lIl1m 
Oll:lrd  a);  lwC'I\'r:. 10 lOt(ve  on  rhc= [In.l JudiCial  ciluncil.  These 
Twelve judllef.  II) a  Iwn ' yelt lerm. 
We  art'  lIT:l.l&!'(ul (nr Ih&!' enlhwtial;lIc  U.I uur  firsl  Judl clIJl 
council.  The    on  \lur  judiCia l  wunt:il  3r.,: ·  h ldgr  Ted  Poe 
Chilli),  Judse  Eva  lU  VI.::e.(' hllu),  Judgt  rrtC  Ar\MII . JudQt  Mi):t 
"ndenun.  J\ldboC MOIrl.. Judge  J\l Oln Ca."pbell ,  Judge  Ken) Ellis,  JUt.lgl·
hill .  Jud(:1." 11l3n lIuffmOln,  J",dQe  MII:had M,Spiidclcn.  Judill.:  1.. lAd" 
and  Jud.>c  Olm  A"oI,".  w," Ihe  eOUTe Jullil.:l;ary  fur  thm 
SuppOrt  o( The  Children  ... " ;; :>c:""menl  olnd (11111 twel ve  Imllt,; ::, lur 
!ll:fCCtn\!  10 ')C.rve lin nllr Juc1iclill  l ·I'UO\:il. l'hc  first  meeune  I..UOtJUl"lctl un 
Scplclllber  14. 2.000  and /lts,,:u:ision:l  ....·t.rt:  helJ  rtl:ardin,;:  medicO'l l l' Uhrl(ICflilS
A.s you  m"yLc  uW;)rt  HIC  C'hl\LJrtn· .\ ...... l.enlcf \,\,' ;u. 11)1)1 01:-
a j1uhhc/pn'lall; p.mncrshlp. Till'  mll·.j /cHI uf'/"lft' Chi(dTfn  ...· AiH'HlIIl'lII  Ct'lIlo'r  Ii 10
tI PrQrt>.HlfJl/(ll.  uml CoWlilllull!d uppTlulclr  '" fiu: ITcu(1m.'1If  IlJ 
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chUdreft  ift  Ollr  cOn/mUIll/y.  To  !'ullill  ml .:'lolM,  The  Cenlt'r  Ihe 
followlnll  t:hlldrc-n .  1)" vtdc:oupcd  fore!'51>= of a child'5 
.!;fIUemt.n[ Ihllli reducI!"S Ihl; need fur  multiple  lnlervicWIO  by lhe  \larlou!O
IIIvol ... ed  In il. o.:hilJ '"""LIlli C,I..": C:  2) •  ultuaJ lu.ult  utJlil:JnS 
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hc:lp  c.hild  4t:xual  Ibu!OC' heal:  S) c:\pc:n  U::.oiollmony tn 1.:11,111 .UlU cnmtnal  coun 
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""""ny  of  children  ilOd thDt  In (he  liuuil y.  ILI \ tlllic.  crunlll  .. 1;,uw
IIppd  liJllt couns  have  received  &I lk Children:.  I\:.x:o:.mrlll  (I.: o\tr  ThiS 
IS .Iut'  10 eiftU!r crllrunal    DtmS  lilo!:d AIIII"'I.I th.:  1I1Ir!8ctJ flc:rpL'lrJt Or . 'hc:  l:h,IJ 
or c.:h,\ctr!;n  bcmR  plBc.:d  mllllcmplmuy pratecllvc custody.  or a ll adler  mllller, 
fhc);c  iIIpcC;lilt'tcO  arc: pr01mJrd  10 children  ;) cullJbur:illll!l  M 
  hnu.seu al  'fhe  "SlOCs..rnll.'nL  
Thmughou\ Ihe  yenr,  WI:' wll1lw.:p yuu  abrt':lfOl 1l.\O 10 QI\y  Illfomlalion our rOllnd:!flon
liOil,,1  of Olftt rl)r!o and/or  IIw  Judicial  CounCil  wanl!:! 10 commlUlICBIC 
di .. cUi"Olli  p!ertlillnlng  10 it'xu:llly    children  in our  Ctlmmunlf)'.  Wr:. :ue 
f(l tg... c Ihe  <It" ,he Judi'llry  in  County  10 ... blc  tu  fullill 
I)ur  In Ihe  children  We Serve. 
[ -:-1' \/L-- ! (t"  /, :",'""j'
EII..:n T  CoktnOj,  LMSW 
i::--.eculI"'"  Director 
' rllC' (';hildren ' s 
C<:lIter faund:lllon
cc:  The HOnorable Ene  Andell 
Th(" Honorablt- Mih AI}dt:($01'I
The  H{) nuril\'llt:  Mark 
Inc  Hono)f;)ble: 1O):l n 
The H"M(uhl..:  Keot  f li t::>
'I'hl:'  HOllorallte:  h'l LU2mOIl 
Th..· HLllll,)rlll:llc Belinda  Iidl 
' J he  II0110I<ll:lk Jllan  lluffm.Jn 
HonQI';Jl:lle Linda  MOIiIera) 
The: HOllorlble  Ted  ["10(:
The  l'Iollo(OI.hle PUI Shell!)n 
The  Hunornblc  DOll
Povld  flnyd ,  Jim  Funlrno's  OffIce 
SlIlIy uhr. Th"  1-1unurlblc Judge  01Tlce 
Selinda  f'fl ce,  Ii:&d:ick's  Office 
Con nyc  TlIOIMS. [.1 Fri1nw  Lee's:  Orficc 
JOJllyt  YOUIII>, Cllnlml';hlilner Jerry  Onicc: 
Spring 2001  THE DEFENDER·  19 
Tribute To The Warrior Of 
Quarter:  Emily Munoz. 
Emily's extreme efforts in representing her
clients have been richly rewarded in the short
time she has been on this side of the bar.
One client was charged with twO cases of
aggravated assault against police omcers and
possession with intent to deliver 4 to 200
grams of cocaine in the 17S'h. HPD
executing a questionable search warrant,
stormed into the ice house that Emily's client
managed. Client, a Spanish speaker, heard
what he though t were screams from the
patrons in the bar. In fear for his life, client
hid and fired a warning shot because he had
been shot in a storm-in tobbery at the ice
house a couple of years before. Client shot
several more shots into the air. The officers
responded with a barrage of gunfire. In fact
they shot apptoximately SO times. Finally,
after client repeatedly told the officers to
show them some i.d., and only after they
ptoduced some, client surrendered. After
spending almost a year in jail, client walked
away with three not guilty verdicts.
Not having done enough, Emily and
Stanley Schneider tried a non-death capital
in the 24S,h where they convinced the jury
what they always said - the evidence was far
too weak to convict; client was acquitted.
Finally, Emily and Stan paired up again
to represent a boxing coach charged with
sexually assaulting the three children of his
former live-in , and recently ousted,
girlfriend. The first jury hung S-4 for the
defense but the State would not be deterred,
and headed to trial again, this time going
forward on their "strongest" case whil e
attempting to prevent Emily and Stan from
introducing testimony about the accusations
made by the other two kids. (Can you
imagine?! The State argued the other
accusations were irrelevant). Emily delivered
a unique and creative closing argument
accusing the mother of manipulating the
jury, exploiting her own children and
abusing the criminal justice system. The jury
acquitted, and the State dismissed the other
two charges.
HCCLA is proud ofour current treasurer,
Emily Munoz, and congratulates her and her
clients on her recent successes.
Other  warriors  have  also  had 
success on behalf of their clients: 
John Reed earned his client a dismissal
on an assault of an elderly person after jury
selection in the IS3,d.
Nancy Botts and John Sullivan claim
multiple victories in an assault case that
started as a third degree felony in the 176'h.
A week before trial, the case was dismissed
and re-filed as a misdemeanor in CCCL 5.
The jury disagreed with the Cl ass A charge
and slapped his wrist with a Class C. Not to
be stopped, John also won a contested
competency hearing in the 351 ".
Jonathon Gluckman has been kickjng his
heels around the courthouse. A juvenile
client was found "not guilty" of felony
criminal mischief in the 314,h while a
habitual felon charged with assaulting twO
officers while in booking (he was being
processed for a blue warrant), was found not
guilty in the IS2
Greg Cox got a not guilty on an assault
charge in CCCL #6, David Lyon won a
suppression hearing on a theft case in County
Court #3 in Ft. Be nd while Danny
Easterling received an instructed verdict
from Judge Jean Hughes in OWl
combination alcohol/pot OWL (Danny
advises that the ORE training manuals are
very useful for serving an officer his lunch.)
Michael Turner convinced a jury that "if
the keys aren't with his shit, you must
acquit." The issue was whether the client or
his daughter was driving. Michael argued
that the State had not brought the only
evidence that would have supported the cop's
testimony - the property slip on which the
keys should have been listed. He saved the
ammunition for argument rather than use
it in cross where it would alert the prosecutor,
and when the cop heard why the jury
acquitted, he thought of the fitting one-liner.
Jay Karahan had a court-appointed
murder case in which he asserted the insanity
defense. Jay prevailed despite evidence that
his client undertook efforts to cover his act
of shooting the complainant by retrieving
and hiding the spent hulls.
Norm Silverman notched one in his belt
with a not guilty on possession with intent
to deliver more than 4 but less than 200
grams of crack cocaine in the 337'h where
the crack was found in the glove box.
Kyle Sampson represented a sailor whose
prior conviccion for raping his step-daughter
had been overturned by the Navy-Marine
Corps Court of Criminal Appeals after he
served twO years. The jury deliberated less
than one hour on the re-trial before returning
a not guilty verdict.
Jack Zimmermann's client was charged
with conspiracy, bank fraud, money
laundering, and extortion in the Southern
District of Texas. Jack's efforts resulted in a
dismissal of all charges.
David Bires has been hot lately. He got a
federal judge (not in Houston) to grant a
motion to suppress on a III-kilo cocaine
on which the judge made findings that the
tramc stop was not made for the purposes
espoused by the cop. Judge Belinda Hill
granted a motion to suppress based on an
unlawful search of his client's person in a
child pornography case and Judge Ted Poe
granted a motion to suppress in a possession
with inten t to deliver, enhanced wi th a
weapon case.
Congrats to David Cunningham for two
NGs in a federal drug theft case. David got
"stuck" in trial when lead trial counsel
became ill, an unacceptable excuse for a
federal judge (even though David had only
recently been hired and was not "up to
speed" on the case.)
Rick Hurlburt drug in from Longview to
kick butt not once but twice on OWls in
Robb Fickman and Stanley Schneider gOt
a not guilty by reason of insanity in a federal
case in which the client threw a Molotov
cocktail at a church.
Steven Lieberman got a PCS case reversed
after a motion to suppress was denied and
client was sentenced to 20 years; the State
did not bothet with a PDR, requested a
mandate issue, and then dismissed the case.
Steven also won a possession of over 400
grams of Cathinone case (a weird plant with
a short-lived in toxicant rhar was gone by rhe
time the case got to trial 4 months after the
arrest). Obviously Steven made the right
decision when he tried it to Judge Doug
Jonathon J. Paull, III pu t together a great
packet including positive results on twO
polygraphs (private and police) then put his
50-year-old client before the grand jury
20 • THE DEFENDER Spring 2001
where  he  admirred  having  sex  with  his  17-
year-old  niece  (not  relat ed  by  blood). 
Complainant alleged acts occurred  before she 
was  17;  grand  jury  no-billed.  JJ  also  gOt  a 
motion  ro  suppress  granred  in  the  232
whe re  the  iss ue  revolved  a round  the 
definition  of consent. 
Leora Kahn and Belinda Chagnard gOt  a 
not guilty  on  an  aggravated  assault case  on 
which  Leora  had  been  appoinred  in  the 
Richard Frankoff, our fearless leader, won 
a  no-test  OWl case  in  CCCL #  6. 
Rosa  Eliades  and  Abbey  Keenan's  clienr 
pled  guilry  ro  sexual  assault and  not  guilry 
to  a  kidnapping  charge  in  the  same  trial  in 
the  262
.  The  jury  found  the  clienr  not 
guilry on the kidnapping and gave probation 
on  the sexual assault. 
In  his  first  trial  after  crossing  over  to  the 
good  side,  Randy Ayers  got  a  not  guilry  in 
the 351" on  a drug delivery case. 
Finall y  Ned  Barnett  had  a  good  time  in 
C CCL  #6.  During  the  cross  of the  first 
officer  in  his  OWl  jury  trial,  the  DA  said 
"Srop Ned" Why you ask?  . .  Because she had 
a  Motion  to  Dismiss.  Apparentl y  Ned's 
impeachmenr  of rhe  officer  with  hi s  prior 
"restimony" from  the ALR hearing made rhe 
officer implode.  Ir's  doubtful that the officer 
is  being  referred  to  the  DA's  office  for  a 
perjury  inves rigation  ala Anna  Nicole  " I
don't  understand  rhat  word"  Smith.  Great 
job Ned. 
Alice  DeGregori  Morales  won  a  morion 
ro  suppress  in  a  trace  cocaine case  based  on 
a search  warranr  in  the  179th. 
Jim Sullivan won a conrested competency 
hearing in  the 351st even  though defendanr 
came  back competenr from  Vernon's after a 
60  day Stay. 
Jack Carroll  tried  a  murder - inroxicated 
manslaughter  - aggravared  assault  - FSRA 
with  a  sheriff's  depury  victim  ro  a  jury  in 
the  182nd.  T he  jury  deliver  fo r  37  hou rs 
when  the  D.A.  offered  the  client  7  years 
deferred  on  negligenr  homicide  and  time 
served  on  the  FSRA. 
Congratulations  to  all  rhese  Winning 
If you  have  informarion  abour  your  win or a 
fell ow warrior's win  rhar you  would  like included 
in  rhe nexr edirion of The D efender, please  e-mail 
me  ar  cy or  call  me  ar 
7 13-228-8500.  If you  wi sh  to nominare  some-
one for recogni rion in  rhe  Tribute To The warrior
O/ The Quarter, conracr  me wirh  derails. 
Applicant: _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  ___  _____Mailing Address: ____  _  ____________  _  _  _ 
Telephone: _  _  _  _  _  __________  __ Firm Name: _________  _______________ 
Date admitted to Bar: ______  Law School: _  _  _ _____Date, Degree from Law School: _____  _  _  _  _  _  _ 
Professional Organizations in  which you are a member in good standing: ___  _  _  ____  ______________ 
Have you ever been disbarred or disciplined  by any bar association or are you the subject of disciplinary action now pending? _  _  _ 
Type of Membership 
Studenr ($25.00 Annual  Fee) 
(Expecred  graduation date _  _  _  ) 
Newl y  Licensed  (first  year)  Membership 
Advisoty Membership 
Regular  Membership  ($125.00) 
Affiliate Membership  ($ 100.00) 
Sustaining Membership  ($500.00) 
signature of member 
I,  a  member  in  good  standing  of HCCLA  believe  thi s 
applicant ro  be a person of professional competency, inregriry 
and good  moral character. The applicant is  activel y engaged 
in  the  defense  of criminal  cases. 
dare  signature of member 
P.O. BOX 2273 •  HOUSTON, TEXAS 77027 
Spring 2001
We  advocate that a paid-In-full allorney is a client's best defense 
Refer a DWI bond and receive a free DWI video We testify at bond reduction hearings
Open  24 Hours  • Prompt  • Courteous  • Notary Available  • Bilingual Staff 
Credit  Cards Accepted • Terms Available  • Free  Parking 
john,  Shaun,  Carol,  Shannon,  Shelby,  and Chris 
B09  Houslon  Avenue  • Houslon,  Texas 77007 
  c = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = ~
THE DEFENDER Spring 2001
1610 Richmond Ave.
Houston, Texas 77006
PERMIT NO. 11500