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Danny Easterling

J
1018 Preston 6th fl.
Houston, TX 77002
September/October 1994
A Publication of Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
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HCClA 
Officers &Directors
1994-1995
President  .  . . . . . .  . . . .  .  . ... . Jim  Skelton 
President-Elect  . ...............George  Parnham 
Vice-President  . . . .. . . . . .  . .. Mark A. Goldberg 
Treasurer.  · ....Dick  Wheelan 
Secretary  .  . .....Kenneth  W.  Smith 
Immediate Past President  · ..... Dan  Cogdell 
Chairman  of the  Board  · ... Lloyd  W.  Oliver 
Directors: 
Loren A.  Detamore 
Joseph A. Porto 
Mary  E. Conn 
Danny  Easterling 
Wayne  Heller 
Clyde  Williams 
Judith  Martin  Prince 
W.B.  Bennie  House. Jr. 
J.  Charles  Whitfield 
John  E.  Crow 
Harry A.  Loftus,  Jr. 
Jonathan  Munier 
Will  Outlaw 
Moses M.  Sanchez 
Winston  E.  Cochran,  Jr. 
Past-Presidents  1971-1994 
C.  Anthony  Friloux  (1  972-1973) 
Stuart Kinard  (1973-1974) 
George  Luquette  (1974-1975) 
Marvin  O.  Teague  ( 1975-1976) 
Dick  DeGuerin  ( 1976-1977) 
W. B.  "Bennie"  House, Jr.  (1977-1978) 
David  R.  Bires  (1978-1979) 
Woody  Densen  (1979-1980) 
Will  Gray  (1980-1981) 
Edward A.  Mallett  (1981-1982) 
Carolyn  Garcia  ( 1982-1983) 
Jack  B.  Zimmermann  (1983-1984) 
Clyde  Williams  (1984-1985) 
Robert  Pelton  (1985-1986) 
Candelario  Elizondo  (1986-1987) 
Allen  C.  Isbell  (1987-1988) 
David  Mitcham  (1  988-1989) 
Jim  E.  Lavine  (1  989-1990) 
Rick  Brass  (1990-1991 ) 
Mary  E.  Conn  (1991-1992) 
Kent  A. SchaHer  ( 1992-1993) 
Dan  Cogdell  (1993-1994) 
President's Club 
David  Cunningham 
Kent  A.  SchaHer 
Docket Call
Editor  .  ... Allen  C.  Isbell 
Associate Editor  . Robert  Pelion 
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DOCKETCALL September/October1994
Contents 
... 
From the President ...........................................2
Texas Capital Sentencing Statute's Definition of"MitigatingEvidence" is
Facially Unconstitutional ..... .............. ............6
Hearsay .................... ....7
Primerfor HandlingaGrievanceComplaintfor the Honest and
ConscientiousLawyer .......................................9
To Tell the Truth ....... ....................... .15
COUltrooms On the Range .17
EncourageClients and Friends to Vote ... .19
LET'S HEAR FROM YOU! 
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION 
... 
WEDNESDAYAPPELLATE UPDATES
30I San Jacinto
12:00 noon, 177th District Court01:00MCLE
HCCLANuts&  BoltsSeminarSeries1994
183rd DistrictCourtroom, 30I  San Jacinto, 12:00 Noon Friday.
November4,1994  CrossExamination- Ed Mallett
December2, 1994  ClosingArguments- Dick Wheelan
November10, 1994 HCCLABoardMeeting,Thursday noon, Scanlan Bldg.,
December8,1994 405 Main,2nd floor conference
October27,1994  HCCLALuncheonMeeting
Treebeard'satTheChurch, 1117 Texas, 2nd fl. church aud.
12:00 noon Thursday.
Hon. CharlesF. Baird
SignificantDecisions,CourtofCriminal Appeals
November2- 4,1994 "DefensesThatWork"
Doubletree Hotel - Post Oak, Houston NACDL
Call 202-872-8688
WarrantlessSearchWarrantsWorkshop
December9&  10, 1994 Jim Skelton, Innova Bldg., 20Greenway Plaza
December9- 11,  1994  National CriminalDefense College
Theories &  Themes- An Advanced Course in Persuasion
Denver, CO (912)746-4151 for information.
WARRANTLESSSEARCH WARRANTSWORKSHOP - Dec.9- 10,1994
  ~ O M E MEN  LOOK  AT  CONSTITUTIONS  WITH  SANCTIMONIOUS  REVIORENCE,  AND  DEEM 
THEM  LIKE THE  ARK  OF  THE  COVENANT,  TOO  SACRED  TO  BE  TOUCHED.  THEY 
ASCRIBE  TO  THE  MEN  OF  THE  PRECEDING  AGE  A  WISDOM  MORE  THAN  HUMAN,  AND 
SUPPOSE  WHAT THEY  DID  TO  BE  BEYOND  AMENDMENT." 
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12,  1816 
DOCKETCALL I
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
97'rom the  
BY JIM SKELTON
[Editor's Note: In this issue, President lim Skelton presents a useful reference guide to all
Penal Code offenses and their punishment. In the next issue, he will present a similarly use-
ful reference guide to all Drug Offenses and their penalties.]
PENALTIES
Felonies:
F-I Life or 5-99 years, may fine not to
exceed $10,000.
F-2 2-20 years, may fine not to exceed
$10,000.
F-3 2-10 years, may fine not to exceed
$10,000.
FA 180 days - 2 years may fine not to
exceed $10,000
Misdemeanors:
M-A Up to I year injail, may fine up to
$4,000.
M-B Up to 180 days in jail, may fine up
to $2,000.
M-C Fineup to $500.
OFFENSES:
Abuse of a Corpse. (42.08) M-A
Abuse of Official Capacity: 39.02
Violates a law relating to capacity. 39.02
M-A
Misuses property less than $20. (39.02)
M-C
Misuses property $20-$500. (39.03) M-B
Misuses property $500-$1,500. (39.03) 
M-A 
Misusesproperty$1,500-$20,000. (39.03) 
F-4 
Mi suses property $20,000-$100,000. 
(39.03) F-3 
Misuses property $100,000-$200,000. 
(39.03) F-2 
Misuses property more than $ 200,000. 
(39.03) F-I 
Acceptance of Honorarium (Public
Servant). (36.07) M-A
Aggravated Perjury. (37.03) F-3
Aggravated Robbery. (29.03) F-l
Aggravated Sexual Assault. (22.021) F-
I
Agreement to Abduct from Custody.
(25.031) F-3
Aiding Suicide: (22.08)M-C
Causesuicide/seriousbodilyinjury (22.08)
FA
Arson: (28.02) F-2 
Deathorserious bodily injury. (28.02) 
F-I 
Assault: (22.02) 
Aggravated. (22.02) F-2 
Aggravated (by a public servant) . 
(22.02) F-l 
Aggravated (victim is public servant). 
(22.02) F-l 
Aggravated (retaliation). (22.02) F-l 
Bodily injury. (22.01) M-A 
Physical contact. (22.01) M-C 
Threats. (22.01) M-C 
Bail Jumping/Failure to Appear:
38.10 M-A
Fine only. (38.10) M-C
Felony. (38. 10) F-3
Barratry: (38. 12)
Solicits/financessolicitation (38.12) F-3
Sends anotherto solicit. (38. 12) M-A
Sends another to solicit(priors). (38.12)
F-3
Bigamy. (25.01) M-A
Boating While Intoxicated. (49.06) M-B
72 hours minimum confinement
One prior. (49.09) M-A
15 days minimum confinement
Two priors. (49.09) F-3
Serious bodily injury. (49.07) F-3
Breach of Computer Security: (33.02)
No benefit/harm.(33.02) M-A
Benefit/harm less than $20,000.(33.02)
FA
Benefit/harm more than $20,000. (33.02)
F-3
Bribery (Commercia\). (32.43) FA
Fiduci ary gaining benefit-fine double
benefit
Bribery (Public Official). (36.02) F-2
Burglary: (30.02)
Building. (30.02) F-4
Habitation. (30.02) F-2
Habitation;felony otherthan theft.
(30.02) F-l
Coin operated machine. (30.03) M-A
Vehicle. (30.04) M-A
2DOCKETCALL
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
Capital Murder.  (19,03)  Li felDeath 
Child  Pornography-PossessionJ 
Promotion.  (43,26)  F-3 
Civil  Rights  Violation  - Prisoners: 
39,04  M-A 
Failure  to  report  prisoner ' s death. (39.05) 
M-B 
Coercion of Public ServantNoter: 
(36.03)  M-A 
Threat  to  commit  felony,  (36.03)  F-3 
Communicating Gambling Information. 
(47.05)  M-A 
Consumption of Alcohol  in  Motor 
Vehicle.  (49.03)  M-C 
Credit Card Abuse.  (32,32)  F-4 
Credit Card Laundering:  (32,35) 
Less  than  $20,  (32.35)  M-C 
$20-$500,  (32,35)  M-B 
$550-$1,500.  (32 .35)  M-A 
$1,500-$20,000.  (32,35)  F-4 
$20,000-$100,000.  (32.35)  F-3 
$100,000-$200,000.  (32.35)  F-2 
$200,000 or more.  (32.35)  F-1 
Criminal Attempt.  15.01  Degree  lower 
Criminal Conspiracy.  (15.02)  Degree 
lower 
Criminal Instrument:  (16.01 ) 
Possess  with  intent.  (16.01)  Degree 
lower 
Manufactures.  (16.01)  F-4 
Criminal Mischief:  (28.03) 
Less than  $20.  (28.03)  M-C 
$20-$500,  (28.03)  M-B 
$500-$1,500.  (28.03)  M-A 
$1,500-$20,000.  (28,03)  F-4 
$20,000-$100,000.  (28.03)  F-3 
$100,000-$200,000. (28,03)  F-3 
$200,000 or  more.  (28.03)  F-I 
Less  than  $1,500;  impair public  services. 
(28,03)  M-A  Less  than  $20,000;  church/ 
monument/etc,  (28.03)  F-4 
Substantial  inconvenience (28.03)  M-C 
Criminal Negligent  Homicide.  (19.05) 
Criminal Non-support.  (25.05)  F-4 
Criminal Simulation.  32.22  (M-A) 
Criminal Solicitation:  (5.03) 
Capital  Murder.  (15.03)  F-I 
Second Degree Felony.  (15.03)  F-2 
Criminal Trespass:  (30.05)  M-B 
Habitation/shelter.  (30.05)  M-A 
Carries deadly  weapon.  (30,05)  M-A 
Cruelty to Animals.  (42.09)  M-A 
Dog fighting  (fighting/training).  (42.10) 
M-A 
Dog  fighting  (money/property).  (42.10) 
F-4 
Dog  fighting  (spectator).  (42.10)  M-C 
Deadly  Weapon  - Penal  Institution. 
(46.10)  F-3 
Deceptive Business Practices:  (32.42) 
Using  false  weight/selling  less.  (32.42) 
M-C 
Intentional  or priors,  (32.42)  M-A 
Selling  adulterated/  misrepresenting. 
(32.42)  M-A 
Destruction of Flag.  (42. 11)  M-A 
Disorderly  Conduct:  (42.01)  M-C 
Displays/discharges  firearm.  (42 ,01 )  M-B 
Official  Proceedings.  (38.13)  M-A 
Disrupting Meeting/Procession.  (42.05) 
M-B 
Dog Fighting:  (42.10) 
Cause a fight  or train  for  fighting.  (42.10) 
M-A 
Earn  money  from  fight  or own  property. 
(42.10)  F-4 
Spectator at  fight.  (42 .10)  M-C 
Drinking While Driving.  (49.03)  M-C 
Driving While Intoxicated:  (49.04)  M-8 
72  hours  minimum  confinement 
One  prior.  (49 .09)  M-A 
15  days  minimum  confinement 
Two  priors.  (49.09)  F-3 
Open  container.  (49.04)  M-8 
6 days  minimum  confinement 
Serious  bodily  injury.  (49.07)  F-3 
Employment Harmful to  Children 
(43,251)  M-A 
Endless Chain Scheme.  (32.48)  M-B 
Engaging in Organized Criminal (71.02) 
Activity.  One degree  higher Conspiring  to 
engage.  (71 .02) 
The same degree as  the  most serious 
offense  Renunciation  before  the  offense. 
(71,02)  The same degree  as  the  most 
serious offense Renunciation of conspiracy 
to  engage. (71.02)  Degree  lower 
Enticing a  Child.  (25.04)  M-B 
Escape:  (38.06)  M-A 
Felony/confined  in  correctional  institution 
(38,06)  F-3 
Causes  bodily  injury.  (38.06)  F-2 
Causes  serious  bodily  injury/deadly 
weapon.  (38.03)  F-l 
Facilitating,  (38.07)  M-A 
Facilitating (felony/confined  in  correction-
al  institution).  (38.07)  F-3 
Facilitating (deadly  weapon) . (38.07)  F-2 
Implements.  (38.09)  F-3 
Implements  (deadly  weapon) .  (38.09) 
F-2 
Evading ArrestlDetention:  (38.04) 
M-8 
Serious  bodily injury  or death.  (38 .04)  F-3 
Failure to  Identify;  (38.02)  M-C 
Fugitive.  (38,02)  M-8 
Failure to  Report Prisoner's Death 
(39 ,05)  M-8 
False AlarmlReport:  (42.06)  M-A 
Public  school/public  facility.  (42.06)  F-4 
False  Identification  as  Peace  Officer 
(37,12)  M-B 
False Imprisonment:  (20.02)  M-B 
Risk  serious  bodily  injury.  (20.02)  F-3 
False  Report  to  a  Police  Officer  (37.08) 
M-8 
False Statement for CreditlProperty 
(32.32)  M-A 
Flying While Intoxicated  (49.05)  M-B 
72  hours  minimum  confinement 
One  prior.  (49.09)  M-A 
15  days  minimum  confinement 
Two  priors.  (9.09)  F-3 
Serious  bodily  injury. (49.07)  F-3 
Forgery:  (32.21) 
Will/deed/check/commercial  instrument. 
(32,21)  F-4 
Money/securities/postage stamps.  (32.21) 
F-3 
Government record .  (32.21)  F-3 
Fraudulent DestructionJRe-moval of 
Writing  (32.47)  M-A 
Will /C 0  d i c i 1/ M 0  rtg a g e/ Sec uri t y 
Agreement.  (32.47)  F-4 
Fraudulent Transfer Vehicle:  (32.34) 
Under $20,000.  (32.34)  F-4 
$20,000 or  more.  (32.34)  F-3 
Gambling.  (47.02)  M-A 
Gambling  - Communicating  Information. 
(47.05)  M-A 
Gambling Paraphernalia.  (47.06)  M-A 
Gambling Place - Keeping.  (47,04) 
M-A 
Gambling Promotion.  (47 .03)  M-A 
Gift to Public Servant:  (36.08)  M-A 
Offering  gift.  (36.09)  M-A 
Harboring Runaway  Child. (25 .06)  M-A 
Harassment:  (42.07) 
DOCKET CALL 3 
F-4 

 
- CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3
Telephone.  (42.07)  M-B 
Harassing  more  than  one time.  (42.07) 
M-A 
Harassing  more  than  one time  (priors). 
(42.07)  F-3 
Hindering  Apprehension/Prosecution: 
(38.05)  M-A 
Charged/convicted  for  a  felony.  (38.05) 
F-3 
Hindering  Secured  Creditors:  (32.33) 
Under $20.  (32.33)  M-C 
$20-$500.  (32.33)  M-B 
$500-$1,500.  (32.33)  M-A 
$1,500-$20,000.  (32.33)  F-4 
$20,000-$100,000.  (32.33)  F-3 
$100,000-$200,000.  (32.33)  F-2 
$200,000 or  more. (32.33)  F-I 
Homosexual  Conduct  (2l.06)  M-C 
Illegal  Divulgence  of  Public 
Communications:  (16.05)  F-4 
Divulgeslbenefit.  (16.05)  M-A 
Cellular  phone/pager.  (16.05)  M-C 
Illegal  Recruitment of an Athlete. 
(32.441) 
Benefit  less  than  $20.  (32.441)  M-C 
Benefit  $20-$500.  (32.441)  M-B 
Benefit  $500-$1,500.  (32.441)  M-A 
Benefit  $1,500-$20,000. (32.441)  F-4 
Benefit $20,000- $100,000.  (32.441)  F-3 
Benefit  $100,000-$200,000.  (32.441)  F-2 
Benefit  more  than  $200,000.  32.441  F-I 
Impersonating  Public  Servant:  (37.11) 
M-A 
Police  Officer.  (37.11)  F-3 
Implements  for  Escape:  (38.09)  F-3 
Deadly  weapon.  (38.09)  F-2 
Improper  Influence  (Public  Servant) 
(36.04)  M-A 
Incest  (Prohibited  Sexual  Conduct). 
(25.02)  F-3 
Indecency with  a  Child:  (21.11) 
Sexual  contact.  (21.11)  F-2 
Exposes .  (21.11)  F-3 
Indecent Exposure.  (21.08)  M-B 
Injury  to  Child,  Elderly,  Disabled: 
(22.04) 
Bodily  injury  (intentional).  (22.04)  F-3 
Bodily  injury  (reckless).  (22.04)  F-4 
Criminal  negligence.  (22.04)  F-4 
Serious  bodily  injury.  (22.04)  F-2 
Serious  mental  impairment.  (22.04)  F-2 
Intercept  Communication:  (16.02)  F-2 
Manufacture/sell/possess.  (16.02)  F-4 
Obstructs  law  enforcement.  (16.02)  F-4 
Interference with Child Custody.  (25 .03) 
F-4 
Interference with Public Duties.  (38.15) 
M-B 
Interference with  Railroad  Property: 
(28.07) 
Throws  object or shoots at  train .  (28.07) 
M-B 
Throws/shoots  and  bodily  injury.  (28.07 
(F-3) 
Enters  railroad  property.  (28.07)  M-C 
Tampers  with  railroad  property. (28.07) 
M-C 
Place obstruction  on  tracks.  (28 .07)  M-C 
Causes derailment.  (28.07)  M-C 
Tampers/obstruct/derail;  loss  $20-$500. 
(28.07)  M-B 
Tampers/obstruct/derail;  loss  $500 
$1,500.  (28.07)  M-A 
Tampers/obstruct/derail;  loss  $1,500-
$20,000  F-4 
Tampers/obstruct/derail;  loss  $20,000-
$100,000  F-3 
Tam pers/obstruct/derai I;  loss  $100,000-
$200,000  F-2 
Tampers/obstruct/derail;  loss  $200,000 
or  more  F-I 
Intoxication Assault.  (49.07)  F-3 
Intoxication Manslaughter.  (49.08) 
F-2 
Issuance Bad  Check.  (32.41)  M-C 
Keeping a  Gambling Place. (47.04)  M-A 
Kidnapping:  (20.03)  F-3 
Aggravated.  (20.04)  F-I 
Release  in  safe  place.  (20.04)  F-2 
Leaving Child in  Vehicle.  (22.10)  M-C 
Manslaughter.  (19.04)  F-2 
Intoxicated.  (49.08)  F-2 
Misapplication Fiduciary Property. 
(32.45) 
Property  less  than  $20.  (32.45)  M-C 
Property  $20-$500.  (32.45)  M-B 
Property  $500-$1,500.  (32.45)  M-A 
Property  $1,500-$20,000.  (32.45)  F-4 
Property  $20,000- $100,000. (32.45)  F-3 
Property  $100,000-$200,000. (32.45) 
F-2 
Property  more  than  $200,000.  (32.45) 
F-I 
Misuse of Official  Information:  (39.06) 
F-3 
Coerces  another  not  to  report.  (39.06) 
M-C 
Murder:  (19.02)  F-I 
Sudden  passion.  (19.02)  F-2 
Negligent Homicide.  (19.05)  F-4 
Obscenity:  (43.23) 
Promote/possess/produce.  (43.23)  M-A 
Promote/possess - wholesale.  (43 .23)  F-A 
Sale/display  to  minor. (43.24)  M-A 
Sale - hires  minor.  (43 .24)  F-3 
Obstructing Highway/Passageway. 
(42.03)  M-B 
Official Oppression.  (39.03)  M-A 
Pen Register, Tap and Trace.  (16.03) 
FA
Perjury:  (37.02)  M-A 
Aggravated . (37.03)  F-3 
Possess  Components of Explosives. 
(46.09)  F-3 
Possession - Gambling Paraphernalia. 
(47.06)  M-A 
Possession  of Alcohol  in  Motor  Vehicle. 
(49.03)  M-C 
Possession  Prohibited  Weapon:  (46.05) 
F-3 
Switchblade/armor-piercing  ammo. 
(46.05)  M-A 
Prohibited  Sexual  Conduct  (Incest). 
(25.02)  F-3 
Prohibited Substances - TDCJ.  (38.11) 
F-3 
Prostitution:  (43.02)  M-B 
Priors.  (43.02)  M-A 
Compelling.  (43.05)  F-2 
Promotion.  (43 .03)  M-A 
Promotion  - aggravated.  (43.04)  F-3 
Public Intoxication.  (49.02)  M-C 
Public Lewdness.  (21.07)  M-A 
Reckless Damage/Destruction.  (28.04) 
M-C 
Resisting ArrestiSearchffransportation: 
(38.03)  M-A 
Deadly  weapon.  (38.03)  F-3 
4  DOCKET CALL 
Retaliation/Obstruction.  (36.06)  F-3 
Robbery:  (29.02)  F-2 
Aggravated.  (29.03)  F-I 
Riot:  (42.02)  M-B 
Same  classification  as  an  offense  commit-
ted  during  a riot. 
SalelPurchase - Child.  (25.08)  F-3 
SalelPurchase - Human Organs.  (48.02) 
M-A 
Sexual Assault:  (22.0 II)  F-2 
Aggravated.  (22.021)  F-I 
Sexual  Performance by a  Child:  (43 .25) 
Employlinduce one  under  18.  (43.25)  F-2 
Produce/direct one  under  18.  (43.25)  F-3 
SilenUAbusive Calls - 911.  (42.061)  M-B 
Smoking  in  Prohibited  Places.  (48.01) 
M-C 
Taking  Weapon  from  Peace  Officer. 
(38.14)  F-4 
Tampering  with  Consumer  Product 
(22.09) 
Sale  to  public.  (22.09)  F-2 
Seriolls  bodily  injury.  (22.09)  F- I 
Threatens  to  tamper.  (22.09)  F-3 
Tampering  with  Government  Record: 
(37. 10)  M-A 
Intent  to  defraudJharm  another.  (37.10) 
F-4 
License  permit,  seal,  title,  etc.  (37.10)  F-3 
Tampering with Identification Numbers. 
(31.11)  M-A 
Tampering with Witness.  (36.05)  F-4 
TamperinglFabricating  Physical 
Evidence.  (37.09)  F-3 
Terroristic Threat:  (22.07) 
Causes  reaction  by  agency.  (22.07)  M-B 
Fear of serious  bodily injury.  (22.07)  M-B 
Interrupt  public  place.  (22.07)  M-A 
Interrupt  public  service.  (22.07)  F-3 
Theft:  (3 I .03) 
Under $20.  (31.03)  M-C 
Under $20;  one  prior.  (31.03)  M-B 
$20-$500.  (31.03)  M-B 
$500-$1,500.  (31.03)  M-A 
$1,500-$20,000.  (31.03)  F-4 
less  than  $1,500;  two or  more  priors. 
(31 .03)  F-4 
$20,000-$100,000.  (31.03)  F-3 
$100,000-$200,000.  (31.03)  F-2 
$200,000 or more.  (31.03)  F-I 
Firearm.  (31.03)  F-4 
Human  corpse  or grave.  (31.03)  F-4 
Livestock  under $20,000.  (31.03)  F-4 
Person.  (31.03)  F-4 
Public  servant (one  category  higher) 
(31.03)Service less  than  $20.  (31.04)  M-C 
Service  $20-$500.  (31.04)  M-B 
Service  $500-$1,500.  (31.04)  M-A 
Service  $1,500-$20,000.  (31.04)  F-4 
Service  $20,000-$100,000.  (31.04)  F-3 
Service  $100,000-$200,000.  (31.04)  F-2 
Service $200,000 or more.  (3 1.04)  F-I 
Trade secrets.  (31.05)  F-3 
Unauthorized Absence  - Community 
Corrections.  38.113  F-4 
Unauthorized  Use  Motor  Vehicle. 
(31.07)  F-4 
Unlawful  Access  to  Stored 
Communications:  (16.04)  M-A 
If benefit/harm. ( 16.04)  F-4 
Unlawful Carrying Weapon:  (46.02) 
M-A 
Licensed  Premise.  (46.02)  F-3 
Schools/airports/etc.  (46.02)  F-3 
Violation  of  Protective  Order.  (25.07) 
M-A 
Weapons:  (46.01) 
Carrying.  (46.02)  M-A 
Carrying  (licensed  premise).  (46.02)  F-3 
Deadly  weapon  - penal  institution. 
(46.02)  F-3 
Designated  places  (school!  airports/etc). 
(46.03)  F-3 
Possess  components  of explosives. 
(46.09)  F-3 
Possess  hoax  bomb.  (46.08)  M-A 
CHARLES  FORD 
INTERNATIONAL 
INVESTIGATIONS,  INC 
9301  SOUTHWEST FRWY. 
SUITE  605 
HOUSTON,  TEXAS  77074 
713·774·1575 
Possess  prohibited  weapons.  (46.05)  F-3 
Possess  switchblade/armor piercing 
ammo.  (46.05)  M-A 
Sell  to  minors/drunks/felons.  (46.06)  M-A 
Wiretapping.  (16.02)  F-4 
SEMINAR  FOR  THE 
PRESENTATION  IN 
ASYLUM  &: 
DEPORTATION 
PROCEEDINGS 
YMCA  International 
Services  Houston 
Refugee  Pro  Bono 
Project 
Saturday, 
November  19,  1994 
8:45  am - 5:00  pm 
Thurgood Marshall 
School of Law 
Texas  Southern 
University 
For more information, contact: 
Kim Shelton at the 
YMCA  International Services 
at (713) 995-4005 
DOCKET OALL 5
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  1994 
TEXAS CAPITAL SENTENCING
STATUTE'S DEFINITION OF
IIMITIGATING EVIDENCE" IS
FACIALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL
by Allen C. Isbell
()7he  Texas  capital  sentencing 
V s t a ~ ~ t e   s definition  of mitigating  evi-
dence  is  facially  unconstitutional  because 
it  Iimjts  the  Eighth Amendment concept of 
mitigation  to  factors  that  render  a  capital 
defendant  less  morally  blameworthy  for 
committing  a  capital  murder.  V.A.C.C.P, 
Article  37.071  Section  2.  (e)  (t),  effective 
Sept.  I,  1991,  provides: 
(e)  The  court  shall  instruct  the  jury 
that  if  the  jury  returns  an  affirmative 
finding  to  each  issue  submitted  under 
Subsection  (b)  of this  article,  it  shall 
answer the following  issue: 
Whether,  taking  into  consideration  all 
of the evidence,  including the  circum-
stances of the  offense,  the  defendant's 
character  and  background,  and  the 
personal  moral  culpability  of  the 
defendant,  there  is a sufficient mitigat-
ing  circumstance  or  circumstances  to 
warrant that  a  sentence  of life  impris-
onment rather than a death sentence be 
imposed. 
(f)  The  court  shall  charge  the jury 
that  in  answering the  issue sub-
mitted  under  Subsection  (e)  of 
this  article, the jury: 
(1)  shall  answer  the  issue  "yes"  or 
"no",
(2)  may  not  answer  "no"  unless  it 
agrees  unanimously  and  may 
not  answer  "yes"  unless  10  or 
more jurors agree' 
(3)  need  not agree on  what particu-
lar  evidence  supports  an  affir-
mative finding  on  the issue; and 
(4)  shall  consider  mitigating  evi-
dence  to  be  evidence  that  a 
juror might  regard  as  reducing 
the  defendant 's  moral  blame-
worthiness. (emphasis  added) 
Subsection  (e)  uses  the  phrase,  "per-
sonal  moral  culpability  of the  defendant," 
and  subsection  (t)  uses  the  phrase,  "defen-
dant's  moral  blameworthiness".  These 
mean  the  same  because  "moral  culpabili-
"MITIGATING EVIDENCE
IS NOT SIMPLY THAT
WHICH RELATES TO A
DEFENDANT'S MORAL
CULPABILITY. "
ty"  and  " moral  blameworthiness"  are  syn-
onymous.  See,  WEBSTER'S  ENCYCLO-
PEDIC  UNABRIDGED  DICTIONARY 
353  (1989). Therefore,  the  only  type  of 
evidence  which  the  Texas  statute  autho-
rizes  the  jurors  to  regard  as  mitigating  is 
evidence  which  reduces  the  defendant's 
culpability  in  committing  the  crime. 
There  are  numerous  types  of constitu-
tionally  relevant  mitigating  evidence  that 
have  no  bearing  on  the  issue  of moral  cul-
pabjlity,  such  as  a  history of positive char-
acter  traits,  religious  devotion,  voluntary 
service,  kindness,  or special  genius  in  sci-
ence,  mathe matics,  or  the  arts .  See 
Franklin  v.  Lynaugh, 487  U.S.  164 (1988) . 
A capital  defendant  who  is  especially  gift-
ed  in  a  field,  may  be  no  less  morally  cul-
pable  or  blameworthy  for  committing  a 
horrible  capital  crime  than  an  ordinary  or 
below  ordinary  person.  A  rational  jury 
may  be  less  inclined  to  sentence  the  espe-
ciall y  gifted  capital  defendant  to  death, 
however, believing that hi s genius could be 
used  positi vely,  even  in  prison.  This  miti-
gating  evidence  against  the  imposition  of 
the  death  sentence  has  nothing  to  do  with 
"moral  culpability"  or  " moral  blamewor-
thiness". 
The  United  States  Supreme  Court  has 
held  that  constitutionally  relevant  mitigat-
ing  evidence  is  not  simply  that  which 
relates  to  a  defendant ' s  moral  culpability; 
it includes any  and  all  evidence relevant to 
his  character,  history  or  circumstances  of 
the  offense  that  militate  in  favor  of a  life 
sentence.  In  Skipper  v.  South  Carolina, 
476  U.S.  1 (1986)  the  trial  court refused  to 
allow  testimony  regarding  the  appellant's 
good  behavior  and  adjustment  during 
incarceration  pending  his  trial.  The United 
States  Supreme Court  recognized  that  any 
favorable  influence  from  this  type  of evi-
dence  "would  not relate  to  petitioner's cul-
pability  for  the  crime  committed",  but 
would  be  mitigating  in  the  sense  that  it 
might  serve  "as  a  basis  for  a  sentence  Jess 
6  DOCKET CALL 
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  1994 
than death." Because the jury was not
allowed to consider this type of mitigating
evidence, the sentence of death was vacat-
ed pursuant to the holdings in Lockett v.
Ohio, 438 U.S. 2d 586, 604 (1978).
In Lockett v. Ohio, id., the United
States Supreme Court, in a plurality opin-
ion, held that the Ohio death penalty
statute was "constitutionally infirmed"
because it unduly limited the range of mit-
igating circumstance that the sentencer
could consider:
The Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments require that the sen-
tencer, in all but the rarest kind of
capital case, not be precluded from
considering as a mitigating factor,
any aspect of a defendant's charac-
ter or record and any of the cir-
cumstances of the offense that the
defendant proffers as a basis for a
sentence less than death.
... a statute that prevents the sen-
tencer in all capital cases from giv-
ing independent mitigating weight
to aspects of the defendant's char-
acter and record and to circum-
stances of the offense proffered in
mitigation, creates the risk that the
death penalty will be imposed in
spite of factors which may call for
a less severe penalty. When the
choice is between life and death,
that risk is unacceptable and
incompatible with the commands
of the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments. Id., 604, 60S.
In Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302
(1989), the United States Supreme Court
reaffirmed that "a sentencer may not be
precluded from considering, and may not
refuse to consider, any relevant mjtigating
evidence offered by the defendant as the
basis for a sentence less than death." The
Court reasoned that case law "makes clear
that it is not enough simply to allow the
defendant to present mitigating evidence to
the sentencer. The sentencer must also be
able to consider and give effect to that evi-
dence in imposing sentence." The Court
stated that only if the sentencer is able to
consider and give effect to that mitigating
evidence can society be assured "that the
sentencer has treated the defendant as a
uniquely individual human being, and has
made a reliable determination that death is
the appropriate sentence."
The statutory definition of mitigating
evidence narrows the type of evidence to
that which relates to the accused's "culpa-
bility". This precludes the sentencing jury
from assessing, weighing, and considering
as mitigating other evidence which relates
only to whether a "sentence less than
death" is appropriate, simply because that
evidence has no relevance to the defen-
dant's moral blameworthiness or personal
culpability.
"IT  IS  NOT  ENOUGH 
SIMPLY  TO  ALLOW  THE 
DEFENDANT  TO  PRESENT 
MITIGATING  EVIDENCE." 
The constitutionality of VA.c.c.P.,
Art. 37.071 rests on the breadth with which
the statute permits a capital jury to consid-
er and give effect to mitigating evidence.
By narrowing the scope to evidence relat-
ing to Appellant's moral culpability [i.e.,
blameworthiness] for the crime committed,
the Legislature violated the principles of
the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments as
explained in Lockett v. Ohio, Supra; [
Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104, 102
S.Ct. 869, 71 L.Ed.2d, (1982); Skipper v.
South Carolina; and Woodson v. North
Carolina, 428 U.S. 280, 305, 96. S.Ct.
2978, 49 L.Ed.2d 944 (1976) [Opinion of
Stewart, Powell, and Stevens, JJ].
[Editor'S Note: With this issue I begin a
series of articles on the Constitutionality
of the Death Penalty Statute.]
Hearsay 
by  Allen  C.  Isbell 
Received notice that Walter Boyd no
longer resides in a house at 4654 Ingersoll,
his new residence appears to be a post
office box!
How about that examination for recertifi-
cation by the Harris County Judges for rep-
resenting indigents! Actually, kind of fun.
Expect some enterprising lawyer to put
''judicially certified in criminal law by
virtue of written examination!" in his let-
ters to new arrestees! Two questions drove
me crazy. Was the reference in question
one to the "42.18, section 3 g" offenses, a
typo, and should have read" 42.12, section
3g" offenses? I presumed so, and
answered accordingly. Also, how did you
construe the option in question 20 about
appealing from administrative license sus-
pensions, which said: "The petition for
appeal must be filed with the State Office
of Administrative Hearings". Of course,
the petition for appeal must be filed with
the clerk in the county where it was sus-
pended, but a certified copy of the petition
sent to the SOAH. How was the question
using the word, "filed"? I wish I could
think like Hal Hudson. He did not think
about it.
Ex-prez Jim Lavine sends this note about
partner ex-prez Jack Zimmermann.
Seems Jack was honored at a formal retire-
ment parade by two Marine Corps Reserve
units he commanded jn the past. People
assumed he was retiring from the practice
of law! Jim and Jack say this is not true,
and that he is returning to full-time practice
of crirrunal defense law. Our friend was
retired royally! He received the
Meritorious Service Medal on behalf of the
President of the United States for outstand-
ing service as a military judge. The cita-
tion stated that "through, his extensive
experience, scholarly approach to resolv-
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
DOCKET CALL 7
•  • 
•  • 
Hearsay 
- Continued from page 7
ing  complex  legal  issues,  innate  common 
sense,  and  considerable  hard  work, 
Colonel  Zimmermann  produced  trials  that 
were  unquestionably  thorough  and  legally 
correct."  Personally,  I  thought  the  movie 
"A Few  Good  Men"  was  about Jack, 
which  character I  shall  not  say. 
Soon,  he  will  be  Lt.  Col.  Terrence 
Windham  of the  Airforce  Reserve.  He  is 
the prosecutor's office response to  our own 
Banquet  honoring  her  featured  Clint 
Eastwood  and  Meryl  Streep,  who  were 
filming  "Bridges  of  Madison  County"  in 
Winterset.  Lori  founded  the  art  center 
there. 
If you  have noticed a great improvement in 
the last two issues of Docket Call,  the cred-
it  belongs to  Lou  Linden who has  stepped 
in  with  suggestions  and  a  lot  of  work! 
Walter Boyd  has  always  had  suggestions. 
H.C.C.L.A.  is  fortunate  to  have  an  out-
standing  trial  lawyer  and  scholar  at  the 
helm.  Jim Skelton combines  those  quali-
ties  and  is  a  great  example  for  lawyers  to 
follow.  In  the  "good  news  is  never  old 
Col. Jack Zimmermann.  Query:  is  a Lt. 
Col.  in  the  Airforce  Reserve  a  higher  or 
lower  rank  to  a  Col.  in  the  Marine 
Reserve? 
Lori  Corrigan,  the  very  nice  person  who 
married  John  Corrigan,  was  honored 
August  31 st  in  Winterset,  Iowa,  for  her 
work  as  an  artist  and  patron  of  the  arts. 
news"  department,  Haley  Margurette 
Norton,  Margaret  C.  Lombardo's 
daughter,  is  her  mother's  joy.  Father  is 
David  Norton,  of  Norton  Pictures  Inc. 
Promised  to  tell  about  her  severaL  issues 
ago; just found  the  note  to  myself. 
New Members 
Welcome! 
Name  Sponsor 
C.  Don  Gutman  Lloyd W.  Oliver 
Susan  F.  Cobb  Lloyd W.  Oliver 
Scott Kerman  Randy  McDonald 
Tex Tonroy  Lloyd  W.  Oliver 
Tracie  L.  Tippen  Jane  C.  Disko 
John  G.  Garza  Angel  Fraga 
MichaelOjo  Lloyd W.  Oliver 
James S.  Healey 
Cynthia A.  Brown 
682-5932 
Certified  paralegal,  experience 
in  family  and  criminal  law. 
Extensive  training  in  personal  injury. 
Excellent  people  skills. 
LAWYER ARRESTED 
Defense  lawyer Mary Conn  was arrested  on the  First  Floor of 301 
San  Jacinto in the Criminal  Courts Building,  on April  26, 1993,  at 
about 9:00 a.m. 
If you  saw,  heard,  or otherwise witnessed  her arrest or any distur-
bance"  before or after the arrest,  or if you  have  any information 
which  may be important to the  criminal  or civil;  action  pending, 
please contact: 
J.  Patrick Wiseman 
c/o Mary E.  Conn 
3000 Smith Street 
Houston, Texas  77006 
Telephone:  (713)  520-6333 
facsimile:  (713)  520-6399 
Thank you. 
8 DOCKET CALL 
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  1994 
PRIMER  FOR  HANDLING  AGRIEVANCE 
COMPLAINT  FOR  THE  HONEST  &
CONSCIENTIOUS  LAWYER 
BY  JOHN  R.  GLADNEY 
E
ach year the State Bar receives
more than 9,000 grievance com-
plaints against attorneys and
presently handles more than 550 grievance
committee hearings per month. The pur-
pose of this article is to discuss various
aspects of substantive and procedural dis -
ciplinary law that inevitably impacts the
most honest and conscientious lawyer.
Many lawyers believe that because they
are well meaning, decent, honest, and fair
with their clients that they will never be
called upon to respond to a glievance com-
plaint. In today 's complaint oriented envi-
ronment, and in consideration of the nebu -
lous content of some disciplinary rules ,
this bel ief is probably wrong. This article
will discuss the procedure following
receipt of the grievance packet through the
"just cause" hearing.
Since January I,  1990, all Texas
lawyers have been governed by the Texas
Disciplinary Rules of Professional
Conduct. These latest rules add new
requirements on Texas lawyers that the
well intentioned and honest lawyer may
inadvertently violate. In particular, the
general areas of neglect, communications,
and fees will be discussed.
I. Substantive Law
A. Neglect
Rule 101(a) of the Texas Rules of
Di sciplinary Conduct states that a lawyer
shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to
him . Under the old State Bar Rules, a
lawyer violated the disciplinary rule only if
it could be proven that he "intentionally
neglected" a legal matter entrusted to him.
The burden on the State Bar of proving
"intentional neglect" was to show con-
scious indifference of a serious degree.
The present rule basi cally differentiates
between a single act of neglect and several
different acts of neglect by a lawyer toward
his client.
Rule 101(a) states that a lawyer shall
not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him.
/I A LAWYER  SHALL  NOT 
NEGLECT  A  LEGAL  MAnER 
ENTRUSTED  TO  HIM./1 
"Neglect" is defined as conduct which sig-
nifies inattentiveness involving conscious
disregard for the responsibilities owed to a
client or clients. Thus, a single act of
neglect falls under the sa me old rule stan-
dard of intentional negl ect. Further, the
comment to
Rule 101(a) speCifically states that a
lawyer who acts in good faith is not subject
to discipline under these provisions for iso-
lated, inadvertent or unskilled acts or omis-
sions, tactical error or errors of judgment.
The key word here is "isolated," and, an
isolated act of negligence, even a serious
one, is specifically not to be treated as a
violation of disciplinary rules, unless it can
be shown to be an act of conscious disre-
gard by a lawye r for his responsibilities to
a client.
A different standard applies for a
series of acts of neglect or for frequent acts
of neglect, because Rule 1.01 (b)(2) of the
Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional
Conduct states that a lawyer shall not fre -
quently fail to calTY out the obligations that
a lawyer owes to a client or clients. Here,
it appears that frequent unskilled acts and
omissions, et cetera, even when not a
result of conscious indifference or con-
scious di sregard for a lawyer's obligations,
may result in di scipline to an attorney.
B. Communications
Rule 1.03(a) of the Texas Disciplinary
Rules of Professional Conduct states, "A
lawyer shall keep a client reasonably
informed about the status of a matter and
promptly comply with reasonable requests
for information." The term "reasonable"
and "reasonably" are words of art and
when used in relationship to conduct by a
lawyer, refers to the conduct of a reason-
abl y prudent and competent lawyer. (See
definitions section in preamble of the
Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional
Conduct).
The second part of this rule demands
prompt responses to reasonable requests
for information and is one of the most
ambiguous of the disciplinary rules. Under
certain circumstances, it may be so vague
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  1994  DOCKET CALL 9 
Primer  for  Handling  a 
Grievance  Complaint... 
- CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9
as  to  be  unconstitutionally  void  for  vague-
ness.  Before  a  lawyer  can  be  disciplined 
for  fai ling  to  keep  his  client  reasonably 
informed  about  the  status  of activities,  the 
lawyer  must  be  shown  to  have  acted  in  a 
fashion  below  the  standard  of the ordinari-
ly  prudent  lawyer.  It  is  not  entirely  clear 
whether  the  same  standard  applies  to 
promptly  responding  to  reasonable 
requests for information, since the "reason-
able  requests"  language  relates  to  the 
client's  request,  not  the  lawyer's  conduct. 
As  a  matter  of  practicality  a  lawyer 
should  document when and  to  what degree 
he  has  discussed  with  his  client  various 
aspects  of  his  case.  As  noted  below,  cer-
tain  specific  aspects  of  a  case  must  be 
talked  about  with  the  client.  However, 
since  the  rule  requires  prompt  response  to 
reasonable  requests  for  information,  the 
lawyer  is  also  advised  to  keep  records  of 
making such responses.  In  addition,  if it  is 
consistent with  the  facts,  it  is  wise  to  bring 
evidence  to  the  grievance  committee  to 
show  that  the  client's  request for  informa-
tion  far  exceeded  his  legitimate  need  to 
know  the  progress  of the  case.  Often,  this 
can  be  done  by  calling  associates  to  talk 
about  how  often calls  were  made. 
In  addition,  disciplinary  Rule  1.03(b) 
requires that a  lawyer explain the  matter to 
the  extent  reasonably  necessary  to  permit 
the  client  to  make  an  informed  decision 
regarding  the  representation.  Rule  1.02(a) 
of  the  Texas  Disciplinary  Rules  of 
Professional Conduct states that,  subject to 
some  limitations, the  lawyer must abide by 
the  client's decisions: 
a.  concerning  the  objectives  and 
general  methods  of  the  represen-
tation. 
b.  whether  to  accept  an  offer of set-
tlement in  a  matter. 
c.  in  a  criminal  case,  after  consulta-
tion  with the  lawyer as  to a plea to 
be  entered,  whether  to  waive  a 
jury  trial,  and  whether  the  client 
will  testi fy 
Compliance  with  this  rule  is  based 
upon  the  "reasonably  prudent  lawyer" 
standard.  In  a  close  case,  one  should  sub-
mit  the  expert  opinion  of another  attorney 
that  the  discussion  was  at  least  adequate 
based  upon  the  "reasonably  prudent 
lawyer" standard. 
C.  Fees 
The  basic  rul e  under  Rule  1.04 of the 
/I A NON-REFUNDABLE
RETAINER FEE IS
PERMISSIBLE IN TEXAS
ONLY UNDER CERTAIN
CONDITIONS. /I
Texas  Disciplinary  Rules  of  Professional 
Conduct  is  that,  "A  lawyer  shall  not  enter 
into  an  arrangement  for,  charge,  or  collect 
an  illegal  fee  or unconscionable fee.  A fee 
is  unconscionable  if  a  competent  lawyer 
could  not  form  a  reasonable  belief that  the 
fee  is  reasonable."  However,  there  are 
specific  rule  provisions  of  which  some 
practicing  attorneys  are  apparently  not 
aware,  namely  the  requirements  regarding 
contingency  fee  contracts  and  non-refund-
able  retainer  agreements  in  a  straight  fee 
context. 
Rule  I .04(d) of the Texas Disciplinary 
Rules  of  Professional  Conduct  dealing 
with  contingent  fees  specifically  require 
that  the  following  information  be  given  to 
a  client in  writing: 
a.  State the  method by  which  the  fee 
is  to  be  determined. 
b.  State  the  specific  amount  or  per-
centage  to  be  charged  for  settle-
ment,  trial  and/or appeal. 
c.  State  whether  litigation  or  other 
expenses  are  to  be  deducted  and 
whether  such  other  expenses  are 
to  be  deducted  before  or after  the 
contingent fee  is  calculated. 
d.  Upon  conclusion  of a  contingent 
fee  matter,  the  client  must  be 
given a  written  statement describ-
ing the outcome of the  matter,  and 
if there  is  a  recovery, showing the 
remittance  to  the  client  and  the 
method  of its determination. 
A  written  agreement  is  not    se 
required  for  non-contingent  fee  agree-
ments,  but  is  suggested.  However,  except 
where the  lawyer has  regularly  represented 
the  client,  the  basis  or  the  rate  of  the  fee 
shall  be  communicated  to  the  client before 
or  within  a  reasonable  time  after  com-
mencing  the  representation  [Rule  1.04(c) 
of  the  Texas  Disciplinary  Rules  of 
Professional  Conduct].  Thus,  the  practice 
of  telling  the  client  that  "I  will  let  you 
know  what  you  owe  when  I  finish  your 
work"  is  a  black  letter violation of discipli-
nary  law. 
The greatest area of misunderstanding 
in  the straight fee context is  that of the  non-
refundable  retainer  and  whether  there  is 
any  obligation  to  refund  a  portion  of  that 
type  of  fee  in  the  event  that  the  attorney 
withdraws  prior  to  the  time  the  work  is 
completed. 
Rule  1.15(d) of the Texas Disciplinary 
Rules of Professional  Conduct states: 
Upon  termination  of  representa-
tion,  a  lawyer  shall  take  steps  to 
the  extent  reasonably  practicable 
to  protect a client'S interests, such 
as  giving  reasonable  notice  to  the 
client,  allowing  time  for  employ-
ment  of other  counsel,  surrender-
ing  papers  and  property  to  which 
the client is entitled and  refunding
any advance payment offees that
has not been earned.
Ethics  Opinion  431  of the  Texas  State 
Bar  Professional  Ethics  Committee,  pub-
lished  November  1986,  makes  clear  that 
non-refundable  retainer  fees  are  permissi-
ble  in  Texas  only  under certain  conditions. 
A  true  non-refundable  retainer  fee  is  not 
the  payment  for  services;  it  is  rather,  an 
advance  fee  to  secure  a  lawyer's  services 
and  remunerate  him  for  loss  of the  oppor-
tunity  to  accept other employment.  To  the 
degree  that  it  can  be  shown  that  a  fee  is 
truly  for  this  purpose  as,  opposed  to  an 
advance  payment  for  services  to  be  per-
formed,  the  fee  is  earned  at  the  time  it  is 
received  and  should  not  have  to  be  refund-
ed,  unless  the  attorney  voluntarily  with-
draws  or  is  discharged  for  cause  before  it 
can  be  shown  that  he  lost  any  opportunity 
to obtain other and additional employment. 
To  the  degree  that  the  fee  is  truly  only  an 
advance  payment  for  future  services,  a 
refund  should  be  made  if the  attorney  vol-
untarily  withdraws  or  is  discharged  for 
10  DOCKET CALL 
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
cause, to the extent of the amount that the
fee has not been earned at the time of the
voluntary withdrawal or discharge for
cause.
It is respectfully submitted by this
writer that the grievance committee will
give consideration to the above ethics
opinion as the standard of review of a
refusal to refund a non-refundable retainer
fee when the lawyer has terminated
employment prior to completion of the
work. Obviously, if the facts support the
allegation, the lawyer should show that his
withdrawal was a result of discharge with-
out cause or constructive discharge without
cause by the client, such as where the
client does not abide by his fee agreement
to make future payments or does not coop-
erate in a significant fashion with the attor-
ney. However, beyond the text of Ethics
Opinion 431, this writer also believes that
the grievance committee will view a
refusal to refund a non-refundable fee
when the work has not been completed
based upon a fairness standard, keeping in
mind that a lawyer always has an obliga-
tion to deal fairly and equitably with his
client.
II. Procedural Law and Considerations
A. Overcoming Initial Response
The above discussion of the substan-
tive law relating to neglect, communica-
tions, and fees probably will convince
most lawyers that it is possible to be chal -
lenged for violation of a disciplinary rule,
even when the lawyer has a pure heart and
the best of intentions. A lawyer will first
know that a grievance has been filed
against him when he receives a certified
mail, return receipt requested mailing from
the General Counsel ' s Office of the State
Bar of Texas which is marked "personal
and confidential." The first and critical
thing a lawyer must do after receiving this
communication is to overcome hi s initial
shock and unwillingness to participate in
the process he may believe has falsely
accused him.
Statistics from the general counsel's
office reflect that a significant number of
lawyers do not respond to grievance com-
plaints at the "just cause hearing", do not
make an election to proceed in district
court or an evidentiary hearing panel, and
thus, by default, end up before an eviden-
tiary hearing panel of the State Bar of
Texas, and even at that phase, do not
respond. Frequently, the consequences for
such attorneys is needlessly harsh.
A lawyer who receives a grievance
complaint must overcome reactions such
as ''1' m not going to play" or the "frozen
with fear" response, and prepare to devote
a significant amount of time to properly
defend himself before a "just cause" panel
of a grievance committee of the State Bar
of Texas . This article is intended to give
some idea of the procedure through the
"just cause" phase. Frequently, an attorney
wi II be well advised to employ an attorney
who regularly handles grievance matters,
and this will be discussed in more detail in
another section.
B. The Grievance Packet
The grievance packet will contain a
"You CAN BE
CHALLENGED EVEN IF
YOU HAVE A PURE HEART
AND THE BEST OF
INTENTIONS."
letter from the General Counsel's Office of
the State Bar of Texas notifying the attor-
ney that there is enclosed a grievance com-
plaint that has been filed against him to
which the attorney must respond within
thirty days. In addition, the accused attor-
ney will receive the actual grievance filed
against him, an appeal form to the Board of
Disciplinary Appeals and the names and
addresses of the grievance committee
members, from which you may make
recusals (discussed below).
1. Grievance Complaint
The grievance complaint itself is fre-
quently filled out by the lawyer's client.
The attorney needs to carefully read this
complaint and then refer to the Texas
Disciplinary Rules of Professional
Conduct to see if he can identify what is a
potential violation of disciplinary law of
which the client is complaining. Every
attorney respondent is entitled to receive
notice sufficient to apprise him of that
which he is charged so he can make an
informed response. If this minimal infor-
mation has not been provided, the attorney
should so state in his response. However,
in making a response, the attorney should
not treat the complaint as if it were pre-
pared technically by another attorney, but
keep in mind that all that a layman must do
is to allege grounds of misconduct which,
if true, would constitute a disciplinary rule
violation and do so with sufficient speci-
ficity to allow the attorney a reasonable
opportunity to make a response.
2. Appeal Form to the Board of
Disciplinary Appeals
The appeal form to the Board of
Disciplinary Appeals is designed to be used
if the lawyer believes that if all the allega-
tions made against him are true (but not
admitted), they would not constitute a viola-
tion of a di sciplinary rule. In this instance,
the attorney should fill out an appeal form to
the Board of Disciplinary Appeals and mail
it to the designated address.
Many lawyers find it strange that they
would file an appeal form to the Board of
Disciplinary Appeals when no decision has
been made by the grievance committee.
The lawyer questions "what am I appealing
from?" The answer is that before the griev-
ance complaint was mailed to the attorney, a
member of the General Counsel's staff
made a decision that if the allegations as
presented by the complainant are true, a vio-
lation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of
Professional Conduct has occurred. The
staff is sometimes erroneous in making this
decision. For example, the staff may deter-
mine the complaint alleges negligence, even
though all that is alleged is a single isolated
act of attorney negligence. In this circum-
stance, the Respondent simpl y completes
the appeal form and mails it to the Board of
Disciplinary Appeals. While the instruc-
tions state that no correspondence is desired
to be sent with this appeal, this writer sug-
gests that the Respondent send a letter of
less than one page in length to explain why
the attorney believes that the complaint
does not state a basis for discipline, even if
all facts in the complaint are true.
3. List of Grievance Committee
Members
The final information sheet in the
grievance packet lists the names and
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
DOCKET CALL II
Primer  for  Handling  a 
Grievance  Complaint •.. 
- CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11
addresses  of  all  grievance  committee 
members.  This  information  is  given  to  the 
respondent  attorney  for  the  purpose  of 
complying  with  Rule  2.06  of  the  Texas 
Rules  of  Disciplinary  Procedure. 
Providing  the  Respondent  with  a  list  of all 
of the  grievance  committee  members  and 
their addresses  may  not  comply  with  Rule 
2.06  of  the  Texas  Rules  of  Disciplinary 
Procedure.  Rule  2.06  states:  "Each  mem-
ber  of a  Committee  shall  act  through  pan-
els assigned  by  the  chair of the Committee 
for  investigatory  hearings  and  evidentiary 
hearings.  Promptly  after  assignment, 
notice  must be  provided  to  the  Respondent 
by  United  States  certified  mail,  return 
receipt  requested,  of  the  names  and 
addresses  of  the  panel  members  assigned 
to  each  grievance." 
The  issue  of  whether  the  General 
Counsel's  Office  must  provide  a  specific 
list of panel  members for  the specific  "just 
cause"  hearing  is  being  litigated.  At  pre-
sent, the General  Counsel's position  is  that 
a  global  listing  of  all  the  grievance  com-
mittee  members  is  sufficient  and  that 
recusals,  if  any,  must  be  made  from  the 
entire  list  within  ten  days  after  receipt  of 
the  list  of the  grievance  committee  mem-
bers.  The  recusals  are  to  be  made  on  the 
same  basis  as  the  recusal  of  a  district 
judge. 
C.  Suggestions for a Response to
Complaint
The  attorney  should  make  a  complete 
and  accurate  response  to  the  charges 
against  him.  For example,  if the  client  is 
complaining  the  attorney  neglected  the 
matter and  did  no  work,  the  attorney  needs 
to  detail  his  efforts  on  behalf of the  client. 
Most  grievance  panel  members  have care-
fully  read  the  complaint  and  the  attorney's 
response before the  hearing and many  have 
a  good  idea  how  seriously  they  view  the 
complaint  based  upon  the  written  materi-
als. Therefore,  care  in  giving  a  detailed 
and  accurate  written  response  cannot  be 
overly emphasized. 
Because  there  is  a  question  whether a 
lawyer  should  receive  specific  notice  of 
the  panel  members  to  be  assigned  to  his 
grievance  matter,  this  writer  suggests  a 
lawyer  request  this  specific  notice  at  the 
time he responds to  his complaint.  Further, 
when  he  responds  to  the  complaint,  if  the 
attorney  wishes  to  have  a  record  made  of 
"AT  THE  HEARING 
THE  ATIORNEY'S 
FUNCTION  IS  TO  BE  A 
WITNESS  FOR  HIMSELF." 
the  proceedings,  even  though  the  record 
will  always  be  kept  in  the  custody  of  the 
grievance  commi ttee,  unless  the  same 
should  be  used  in  other  disciplinary  pro-
ceedings,  the  attorney  should  make  that 
request,  and  offer  to  pay  the  reasonable 
cost for  videotaping  and/or transcription. 
D. Preparation for the Hearing
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
Every lawyer accused of a disciplinary 
violation  and  facing  a "just cause"  hearing 
before  a  grievance  committee should  con-
sider  whether  to  hire  an  attorney.  At  the 
grievance  committee  hearing,  the  accused 
attorney's  primary  function  will  be  as  a 
witness  for  himself  and  answer  the  ques-
tions  posed  to  him  by  members  of  the 
grievance  panel.  It  is  advisable  to  prepare 
for  the  hearing  with  a  lawyer familiar  with 
disciplinary  law.  Additionally,  there  are 
occasions  when  it  is  particularly  important 
to  have  an  attorney  who  the  substantive 
and  procedural  disciplinary  law  present: 
a.  To  attempt  to  limit  the  scope  of 
the  committee's  inquiry  - a 
lawyer  should  not  be  called  upon 
to  answer  charges  that  were  not 
made  in  the  complaint.  If  the 
lawyer  has  any  concern  that  the 
committee  may  seek  to  expand 
upon  the  specific  allegations,  the 
accused  attorney  needs  a  lawyer 
to  assist  him  in  preventing  this 
from  happening.  The  accused 
attorney  is  not in  a  good  position, 
as  a  witness,  to  act  as  his  own 
advocate. 
b.  To  discuss  areas  of  substantive 
and  procedural  disciplinary  law 
- frequently,  these  will  not  be 
raised  by  the committee.  If areas 
of disciplinary  law  need  to  be  dis-
cussed  to  show  why  the  attorney 
is  not  guilty  of  professional  mis-
conduct,  the  accused  attorney 
should  rely  upon  another  attorney 
to  present those  arguments. 
c.  The  Respondent  should  avoid 
bragging  or  touting  his  profes-
sional  accomplishments.  A 
lawyer  before  a  disciplinary  panel 
must  avoid  appearing  arrogant. 
Yet,  his  professional  abilities  may 
be  a  very  significant aspect of the 
defense  (such  as  in  the  case  of a 
charge of an  allegation  of a  clear-
ly  excessive fee).  The respondent 
attorney  needs  a  lawyer to  do  this 
on  his  behalf so  he  can  remain  a 
dispassionate  witness. 
d.  It  is  poor  form  for  a  respondent 
lawyer  to  be  in  a  position  of 
impeaching  or  discrediting  his 
former client.  Although  the  com-
plainant  may  have  lied  about  the 
accused  attorney  or  the  com-
plainant's  problems  his  own 
shortcomings,  including  at  times, 
his  basic  lack  of  honesty,  it  is 
preferable  for  the  Respondent's 
lawyer  than  for  the  Respondent 
himself  to  speak  of  his  former 
client's faults. 
e.  Rarely,  and  regrettably,  a  commit-
tee  member may  unfairly  treat the 
respondent attorney  or mischarac-
terize  his  conduct.  The  accused 
attorney needs a  lawyer to prevent 
this  abuse  in  a  way  that  does  not 
create  antipathy  against  him  from 
other  members  of  the  panel. 
Additionally,  the  recusal  of  a 
panel  member  should  be  handled 
by  the  accused  attorney's  lawyer. 
2. Know the Facts of the Complaint
Whether  represented  by  a  lawyer  or 
not,  the  respondent  attorney  must  be  thor-
oughly  familiar  with  the  subject  matter of 
the  complaint,  have  all  relevant  names, 
dates  and facts  in  mind,  and  be  prepared  to 
discuss  his  defense. 
3. What Will the Committee Look For
The  committee  is  charged  with  deter-
mining  whether  any  specific  rule  of  the 
12  DOCKET CALL 
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  1994 
Texas  Disciplinary  Rules  of  Professional 
Conduct has been violated.  In addition,  the 
committee  is  always  concerned  with 
whether  the  lawyer  demonstrates  that  he 
has  been  concerned  about his  client's  wel-
fare  and  is  concerned  about  the  legal  pro-
fession  at large. 
E. The Hearing 
1.  Who is on  the Panel 
Usually,  there  are  three  to  six  mem-
bers  on  the "just cause" panel , one-third of 
whom  are  laymen  and  two-thirds of whom 
are  attorneys.  All  grievance  committee 
members  have  been  recommended  to  the 
Board  of  Directors  of  the  State  Bar  of 
Texas  by  the  President  of the  Board  upon 
the  recommendation  of  the  local  director 
of the State  Bar of Texas. 
Sometimes,  it  suggested  that  griev-
ance  panels  are  stacked  with  "big  firm" 
lawyers.  This  is  true only to  the extent that 
there  are  more  big  firm  directors  of  the 
State  Bar  of  Texas  (especially  from  big 
cities)  and  these  individuals  naturally 
appoint people who they  know and  respect 
to  grievance  panels. 
2.  Procedure 
Committee  meetings  begin  with  the 
chairman  of the  panel  making admonitions 
to  both  the  complainant  and  the 
Respondent.  The  complainant  is  advised 
that  the  purpose  of the  hearing  is  to  deter-
mine  whether  professional  misconduct  has 
occurred,  not  to  handle  the  complainant's 
legal  matters  or  obtain  compensation  for 
the  complainant's  losses.  The  respondent 
attorney  is  advised  that he  has  a right to  an 
attorney  and  is  given  a  Miranda  warning, 
applicable  if the  charges  against  the  attor-
ney  also  involve  potential  violations  of 
criminal  Jaw.  The  complainant  and 
Respondent  are  advised  that  the  proceed-
ings  are  confidential , except in  the circum-
stance  that  the  accused  attorney  agrees  to 
some  type  of public  discipline.  The com-
plainant  and  Respondent  are  advised  that 
the  panel  members  have  read  the  com-
plaint and  the  response  and  that the  parties 
should  limit  their  comments  to  additional 
information  or  to  answer  the  questions  of 
the committee.  Usually,  the complainant is 
asked  first  if he or she has additional  infor-
mation  and  then  questioned  by  the  panel 
members.  Following  this,  the  accused 
attorney  is  asked  if he  or she has  addition-
al  information, followed  by  questions. 
Cross  examination  by  either  party  is 
not allowed.  However, at  the  panel chair's 
discretion,  either  the  complainant  or  the 
accused  attorney  may  present  questions  to 
the  panel  chair  to  ask  of  the  other  party. 
Closing arguments  may  be  allowed . 
3.  Problems with  the Hearing 
Usually,  the  Respondent  has  no  clear 
cut  opportunity  to  present  his  case.  The 
admonition  that  only  new  information  is 
sometimes  used  to  cut  short  information 
the attorney  believes  important.  However, 
with  respectful  persistence,  one  should  be 
able  to  adequately  describe  his  other 
efforts  on  behalf  of  the  client,  or  other-
wise  detail  why  he  or she  has  no  commit-
ted  professional  misconduct. 
"THE LAWYER HAS ONLY
ONE OPPORTUNITY TO
PRESENT HIS SIDE AT THE
GRIEVANCE HEARING."
The  majority  of grievance  committee 
members  are  courteous  and  give  both  par-
ties  an  opportunity  to  present  a  fair  case. 
However,  in  some circumstances,  commit-
tee  members are brusque or appear to  have 
predetermined  the  result.  On  some  occa-
sions, committee members do  not consider 
substantive  disciplinary  Jaw,  but  act  more 
like  a Court of Chancery in  trying  to deter-
mine what  is  fair  or  right.  The lawyer  has 
only  one opportunity  to  present  hi s  side  of 
the  matter  at  the  grievance  hearing.  He 
needs  to  make certain  he  has  covered  rele-
vant  defenses  to  the  pertinent  substantive 
disciplinary  law. 
The  manner  in  which  a  lawyer  pre-
sents  himself  at  a  committee  hearing  is 
critical.  The lawyer  must  give  thoughtful, 
dispassionate  answers  to  questions  posed. 
He  must be prepared  to  respond  to  the sub-
ject matter of the  complaint.  If the  lawyer 
projects concern about his other clients and 
the  profession,  he  or  she  has  gone  a  long 
way  toward  a  successful  conclusion  of the 
grievance  process.  Conversely, arrogance, 
ill  temper,  and  lack of preparation virtually 
guarantee  a  bad  result. 
F.  Decision  by  the  Committee 
1.  Finding of No Misconduct - Decision 
Unanimous 
Success  - the  grievance  complaint is 
over. 
2.  Finding of No  Misconduct -
Decision  Not  Unanimous 
The  complainant  will  be  advised  that 
he may ask  for a  new  hearing  panel to  hear 
the  same  grievance.  The  procedural  rules 
do  not state a time frame in  which the com-
plainant has  to  make  this  request. 
3.  Finding of Misconduct - Range of 
Proposed  Discipline 
The  "just  cause"  hearing  panel  may 
only  make  recommendations  for  disci-
pline.  It  may  not  impose  discipline,  with-
out the  accused  attorney's  agreement.  The 
proposed  discipline  may  be  a  private  repri-
mand  (and  is  available  only  if accepted  at 
the  "just  cause"  hearing  level),  a  public 
reprimand,  a  suspension  from  the  practice 
of law  which  is  fully  imposed  or is  fully  or 
partially  probated,  and  a  recommendation 
of resignation  in  lieu  of disbarment. 
G.  Twenty Days to Accept or Reject or 
Negotiate 
A "Just Cause" Determination 
A respondent attorney  has only  twenty 
days  from  receipt  of  the  certified  mail  to 
accept  or  reject  the  decision  of  the  "just 
cause"  grievance  panel ' s  proposal  or  to 
propose  a  counteroffer.  For  a  grievance 
committee action to  be effective,  the griev-
ance committee proposal  (whether original 
or revised  due  to  the  committee  accepting 
a  counteroffer)  must  be  fully  accepted  and 
signed  by  the  respondent  attorney  within 
the  twenty-day  period.  This  is  one  of the 
most  difficult  time  periods  in  the  rules.  If
a  counteroffer  is  proposed,  the  committee 
must be polled  within  the  twenty-day  peri-
od.  The  findings  of  fact,  conclusions  of 
law,  and  the  judgment  must  be  redrafted 
and  all  documents  notarized  within  this 
same  twenty-day  period.  If this  is  not 
accomplished,  the  respondent  attorney  is 
deemed  to  have  rejected  the  proposed  set-
tlement  offer.  At  the  time  of the  rejection 
of  the  offer  or  after  the  lapse  of  twenty 
days  from  the  date  of the  initial  offer,  the 
grievance  committee  loses  jurisdiction. 
Future decisions  regarding  whether to per-
mit  a  settlement,  and,  if  so,  for  what 
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994 DOCKET CALL  13 
Primer  for  Handling  a 
Grievance  Complaint ••• 
-- CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13
degree of discipline, are made by the
Commission on Lawyer Discipline and not
the grievance committee.
If the accused attorney and the griev-
ance committee agree upon a sanction
within the twenty-day period, the judgment
has the same effect as if rendered by a dis-
trict court.
H. Limitationson Use ofPrivate
Reprimands, Public Reprimands,and
Probated Suspensions
1. Limitationson Private Reprimands
Under a rule imposed by the
Commission on Lawyer Discipline and in
accord with Section81.072(ll) of the
Texas Government Code, an attorney may
receive only one private reprimand for the
violation of the same disciplinary rule
within a five year period. An attorney may
receive no more than two private repri-
mands for the violation of any disci plinary
rule during a ten year period. A private
reprimand is not to be imposed under the
following conditions:
a. The misconduct includes theft,
mi sapplication of fiduciary property, or the
failure to return, after demand, a clearly
unearned fee; or
b. The misconduct caused substan-
tial injury to the client, the public, the legal
system or the profession; or
c. There is likelihood of future mis-
conduct by Respondent; or
d. The Respondent intentionally
violated the Texas Disciplinary Rules of
Professional Conduct or, if applicable, the
Texas Code of Professional Conduct.
2. LimitationsofPublic Reprimands
When the Supreme Court makes
effective the recently passed disciplinary
rules referendum (possibly as early as
October I, 1994), a lawyer may recei ve
only one public reprimand in a five year
period for a violation of the same discipli-
nary rule. He may receive only two public
reprimands during the same five year peri-
od, whether or not for violating the same
disciplinary rule.
3.  Limitation on Fully Probated
Suspensions
When the Supreme Court makes
effective the recently passed disciplinary
rules referendum, a lawyer may not receive
a fully probated suspension, if he has with-
in the past five years received a public rep-
rimand or a fully probated suspension for
violation of the same disciplinary rule or if
he has previously received two or more
fully probated suspensions whether or not
for violating the same disciplinary rule.
An attorney may not receive a fully pro-
bated suspension, if he has previously
received two or more sanctions of public
reprimand or greater for conflict of inter-
est, theft, misapplication of fiduciary prop-
"A  LAWYER  MAY 
RECEIVE  ONLY  TWO 
PUBLIC  REPRIMANDS 
DURING  THE  SAME  FIVE 
YEAR  PERIOD." 
erty, or failure to return, after demand, a
clearly unearned fee.
4. Electionfor FurtherProceedings
The election to go to district court or
to an evidentiary hearing panel of the
grievance committee must be made within
fifteen days after the Respondent receives
a notice of election from the General
Counsel's Office. There may be some rea-
sons for electing to proceed before an evi-
dentiary hearing panel (this should be care-
fully discussed with an attorney familiar
with disciplinary procedure). As a general
mle, this writer believes most accused
attorneys will be better served by electing
to go before a district court.
Conclusion
This article is limited to discussing
procedure through the first phase of the
grievance process which is the "just cause"
grievance panel hearing phase. Should a
lawyer be involved in the latter phases of
disciplinary action, he requires competent
legal representation. As earlier suggested,
such representation is often needed during
the "just cause" phase.
Hopefully, this article has de-mysti-
fied some specific aspects of substantive
disciplinary law and procedural steps
through the "just cause" hearing. While
some pitfalls and traps for the unwary have
been discussed, others remain.
About theAuthor
John R. Gladney is currently a partner
with the Law Firm of Kreisner & Gladney
and primarily litigates matters concerning
attorney professional responsibility. He
regularly defends attorneys in disciplinary
proceedings, serves as an expert witness in
matters of professional responsibility and
has spoken at seminars concerning attor-
ney conduct. From 1989 to 1991, Gladney
served as Deputy General Counsel and
Chief of Litigation for the State Bar of
Texas, serving as the State Bar s chief trial
attorney and supervising a staff of approx-
imately ten lawyers. From 1983 through
1989, Gladney served as Assistant General
Counsel for the State Bar of Texas prose-
cuting disciplinary actions throughout the
State. Gladney is licensed to practice in
the State of Texas and before the Northern
District and Western District courts of
Texas. He received his Juris Doctor from
Baylor Law School in 1974 and graduated
from the University of Texas at Austin in
1971 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors
in 1971.
Paula  S.  Williams 
864-7302
 
Certified  paralegal--
extensive  training 
personal  injury  and 
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reputable  attorney. 
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14  DOCKET CALL  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  1994 
'1'«)   I   I ~ IJIJ
  I   I I I ~
Louis F. Linden
A television of almost solid-state vin-
tage perched on a tri angular piece of ply-
wood wedged high in the corner and glow-
ered down on the room. It was a major
source of the light in the room aided onl y
by two reluctant fluorescent tubes and the
Jight that occasionally made it through the
swinging double kitchen doors. It wasn't
dark but it wasn' t light. That was fine by
me. I was hiding out. No one would look
for me here at Your Mom' n Them's Fried
Chicken. It's a monument to Houston' s
aversion to zoning. It's a monument to the
three Texas food groups. Tex-Mex,
Barbecue and Grease. It's a monument to
interior designer Sears A. Roebuck, c.
1957. It's a monument. No one looks for
an addict in a monument.
Addictions have an up side and a
down side, often literally. I'm addicted to
democracy. That's the up side. The down
side is that I am therefore addicted to poli-
tics. Painful but true. Democracy is not a
spectator sport. It's my Jones. It ' s a crav-
ing that defies my resolutions never to do
this again. God knows I've tried but it has-
n't altered hi s behavior any. Or mine. The
last binge I was hung over for three
months. I tlied twelve steps to apathy pro-
grams like Politics Anonymous. It didn't
take. I went to meetings of the campaign
worker ' s support group. It didn't help, not
really. I stayed away from the primaries. I
knew that temptation was not my friend.
But deep in my heart I also knew that I
would falter sooner or later. It was sooner.
A person I knew to be an unrepentant
junkie said, "Here, just work at this fund
raiser. Just one li'l 01' fund raiser won ' t
hurt." I knew he was lying even as I start-
ed serving up the barbecue. Even as I
denied it to myself, I knew I was off on
another binge. My practice, my marriage
to the most understanding and long suffer-
ing spouse a junkie could have, my resolu-
tion to quit smoking and aID fifteen miles
a week, all began to fade away in a kalei-
doscope of yard signs, pushcards, and
campaign events. Everything focused on
just keeping all the balls in the air until that
Tuesday in November. If I can just avoid
a grievance, and losing too many clients
and having my duodenal ulcer consume
my lower G.I . tract and have my candidate
win, I prorrtise I'll never do it again.
So there I was at Your Mom'n Thems
where no one can call me and ask when the
pushcards will be ready or when will I
have the big sign put lip at somebody's
cousin's ice house . There were other
junkies there but all careful not to
acknowledge the others. It ' s a safe zone.
Neutral turf. There's a box by the door
with a sign, "check all cell phones and
pagers here." I was watching Dan Rather
doing the pre-game warm-up show for the
Haitian invasion and scarfing some of
YM.'n T.'s burned bird. The initial crunch
through the fried batter then the exquisite,
salubrious drooling of the grease down the
back of my hand toward my wrist. In my
reverie I failed to notice the program had
changed to a piece about jury consultants
until I caught a glimpse file footage of Cat
Bennett sitting next to William Kennedy
Smith. The piece revolved around a new
book written by the "Legal Editor" (as
opposed to the "Illegal Editor" I guess) of
the Wall Street Journal. The theme was
that defense lawyers are rigging trials by
using focus groups and mock trials and
other social science techniques. They did-
n' t imply it, those were the words they
used. A California defense lawyer tried to
explain to the reporter about the adversary
system but she wasn't having any. "Aren't
you keeping perfectly good people from
serving on the jury?" (At least she under-
stood about the effectiveness of leading
questions.) Her moral indignation that
people who would vote to convict were
being targeted for exclusion by the defense
was palpable. Is it any wonder the
American people hate us? Any tactic
which raises the chances of a not guilty
verdict is somehow immoral. Justice is
that which convicts. Fair juries are those
who will vote guilty
After they interviewed the geek who
had written the book (which I haven' t read
and mayor may not concur with what I
saw on the tube) the piece ended. I got
another Lone Star long neck from the
Pepsi cooler by the kitchen doors and
resumed muttering over the comestible
wreckage on my plate. It looked like the
aftermath of a three chicken head-on colli-
sion. The television had ruined my
appetite. It's so hard to enjoy your dinner
when you are foaming at the mouth and
jumping up and down.
When I worked for N.A.C.D.L. I often
found myself in the same position as the
California lawyer, trying to rationally
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
DOCKET CALL 15
explain the workings of the criminal jus-
tice system and the defense function in par-
ticular. Sooner or later the interview
would always get to ' 'The Question."
"How can you represent someone you
know is guilty?" Having answered "The
Question" hundreds of times it was not dif-
ficult to respond. But in my mind I was
always amazed. They just don't get it.
How can it be? They have high school
civics classes even in this age of dumbed
down education. They must understand
the structure, they grew up watching Perry
Mason and nearly a dozen other lawyer
shows. Lawyer movies are the genre of the
day. Scott Trurow and John Grisham
lawyer novels sold literally millions of
copies in the last ten years alone. But they
just don't get it.
I think one of the problems is politics,
the evil twin brother of democracy.
Moreover, I think that judicial politics is
one of the worst offenders. I'll be the first
to admjt that this premise is vulnerable to
chicken and egg analysis. But it is impos-
sible to ignore that virtually all elected
judges' campaign platforms consist exclu-
sively of being "tough on crime." Even
candidates running for courts with no
criminal jurisdiction jump on the band
wagon! The conventional wisdom is that
candidates who promise to be fair to the
prosecution and defense alike remain just
that, candidates. I don' t pretend to know
whether this is a cause or an effect. I don't
know that it matters anymore. What does
matter is that it is a perversion of any sys-
tem that calls itself justice. It violates the
philosophical foundation of our judicial
process. It is an index to how far our soci-
ety is willing to live from our ideals. We
can't afford to be fair anymore, we've got
to be tough, tougher than our opponent.
Crime has replaced corrununism as the
boogeyman of choice.
To be fair one must admit that legisla-
tors and executive candidates are at least as
cynically exploitive of the people's fear,
e.g., congress creates more than fifty new
death penalty offenses. Even Texas which
leads the western world in judicial execu-
tions can only come up with one offense
warranting the death penalty. What pur-
pose do the fifty new capital offenses
serve? Quite simply they serve to get
politicians re-elected . So it has ever been,
at least within my lifetime. Cynics believe
that the electorate is not interested in fair-
ness or, for that matter, in freedom. They
are interested in security. I'm afraid the
cynics are right. Voters are interested in
what a candidate will promise to do for
them, not the good of the society. The dark
side of individual liberty is egocentrism.
What are you gonna do for me?
Judge candidates are hampered in
responding to the self-interest of the voter.
They can't make laws. They can't build
roads or promise to pick up the garbage
more often. In Harris County there are so
many of them, more than a hundred in the
coming election, no one can sort them out
save by party affiliation, a dubious criteria
at best. If we accept the apparent as true,
the voters don't understand the process and
"HAITI  HAS  MORE 
INFLUENCE  ON  JUDICIAL 
ELECTIONS  THAN  ALL 
THE  CAMPAIGNING  BY 
ALL  THE  CANDIDATES." 
are therefore irrevocably handicapped in
evaluating candidates. It is a scenario ripe
for exploitation by any opportunist with a
law license and a willingness to pander to
an often irrational, media inflated fear of
crime. There is no shortage of people of
that description. In most Texas counties
it's not a problem. There are a handful of
judge candidates and everyone in the coun-
ty knows them or their family or their rep-
utation. But Harris County is the third
largest electoral county in the U.S. with
more voters than twenty-six states. Almost
none of those voters know what the various
courts do, who the candidates are or why
they would or would not make good
judges . Hell, I don't even know most of
those folks , at least those running for civil
benches. Whether Haiti gets invaded has
more influence on judicial elections in
Harris County than does all the campaign-
ing done by all the candidates.
If this is so, I wonder why we all do
this. I understand the candidates' motiva-
tions. Some are good and some are not so
.HCADA 
MISSION STATEMENT
"To reduce the incidence and
prevalence of alcoholism and other
drug addictions and their related
problems in the City of Houston
and Harris County."
520-5502 
Ext. 39
The flouslOn Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse ( HCADA)
is an affiliate of Ihe NOIional Council all Alcoholism ami Drug
Dependence, and receives funding from United Way. 'he Texas
Commission on Alcolzol alld Dug Abuse as well as privare om-
friburions, special events and program fees. No Oll e ;s denit:d
service due /0 their financial silLiGtion.
good. Some rise directly from that reptil-
ian stem of the brain that no one wants to
admit to. But what about us? What about
the schlumphs who lug the signs and push
the cards and make the lists and check
them twice? I can't really imagine that
anyone would go through all of this just to
get appointed criminal cases. That's termi-
nal masochism. Beat me, whip me, make
me write hot checks. If there were that
many junkies Your Mom'n Them's could
franchise, open new locations all over
town. I mean, for fun it's right up there
with rolling around in a sandburr patch.
Maybe that's the answer. I just feels so
good when you stop. More likely it's delu-
sional, like Your Mom' n Them's Low Fat
Special Dinner. Beyond all rationality we
delude ourselves into thinking that we real-
ly are working for a better judiciary. What
an age we live in boys and girls, what an
age we live in?
mThomas M. Tompkins
U1UI    2 : : : : : ~ 4 8 1 I 
Seeking Employment
803-B Government Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
16 DOCKET CALL
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  1994 
COURTROOMS  ON  THE  RANGE 
THE  TRIAL  LAWYERS  COLLEGE 
BY JOHN E. ACKERMAN,
AN OLD WARRIOR
1(, 5:30 A.M. TIred lace, are arriving
at the dining hall on Thunderhead
Ranch - each wondering why they were
told to get up in the dark and come to
breakfast. Oatmeal, Granola, Orange Juice
and toast are the morning fare. The Old
Warrior enters the room, gets everyone's
attention, and announces the reason for the
early breakfast. "Upon finishing breakfast
each of you is to walk out into the moun-
tains alone, find a comfortable place, a
rock, a tree, a flat piece of ground, and stay
there until lunch time. Come back for
lunch. There will be no talking during
lunch. We will meet in the big barn at
I :30. Any questions?" There were none.
They were used to surprises from the Old
Warrior. A heavy silence hung over the
group at lunch time. They spoke only with
their eyes, but from deep inside them-
selves. The meeting in the big barn at 1:30
confirmed what each one knew. It had
been a morning of self introspection - a
morning in which they learned something
important about themselves; who they
were, and why. As they began to share the
morning's experience, some laughed and
some cried and they came closer together.
As they learned about themselves, they
gained insight into others.
That night, around the camp fire, they
sang and told stories. Mostly the music
came from their hearts and spoke of their
lives. The stories were of their feelings;
their pain, their anger, their joy at impor-
tant and intimate moments of their lives.
The Young Warriors learned that they are
more like each other than they are different
and that there was something in each of
them worth caring about.
As their days at the ranch progressed,
this day would keep returning to their
minds. It changed the way they did their
daily chores. Somehow they were more
relaxed; more at peace within themselves
and with each other.
The next morning they went off in
groups of eight to the small barn or the
"A DONKEY OUTSIDE
THE WINDOW OFFERED
OCCASIONAL
COMMENTS. "
milk house and worked on Opening
Statements, or Cross-Examination. They
were accompanied by an Old Warrior, one
of America's top trial lawyers. They were
learning from the best. They were becom-
ing trial lawyers.
The place was Thunderhead Ranch,
near Dubois. Wyoming. The event was the
culmination of a IS-year dream of Gerry
Spence, The Old Warrior, to create a col-
lege where young lawyers, who cared
about people and were committed to help-
ing people could come and learn. Spence
converted his ranch into a college. The big
barn became a donnitory and a courtroom.
The small barn became four courtrooms.
Even the old milk house was called into
service. A donkey outside the window
offered occasional comments. The roost-
ers, crowing, seemed to have no concept of
time.
Last Winter, as the snow lay deep
across the valley of the Little Wind River,
full-page ads appeared in The Champion
and in Trial Magazine. For $2,900.
lawyers were invited to come to Wyoming
for the entire month of August and learn
from the best. The application was to be a
letter explaining what the applicants had
done and wanted to do with their lives.
From the 435 letters received, Spence and
the other members of the Board of
Directors selected 50 lawyers. Those who
couldn' t afford the tuition received schol-
arships. They came from all across the
United States. From Washington, Oregon
and California to New York, New
Hampshire and Florida. they were a mixed
group. Some had tried cases for twenty
years, some had never tried a case.
They arrived on July 31, seventy-five
miles from the nearest airport and after rid-
ing down ten miles of some of the bumpi-
est gravel road in Wyoming. They found
accommodations that were Spartan. yet
adequate. The nearest town was 20 miles
and 45 minutes away. There was no tele-
vision and no newspapers. Even radios
found very few waves to grab.
They arrived strangers to each other
and departed the closest of friends.
Mostly their days were spent working
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
DOCKET CALL 17
I
in their sections. They were helped by the
likes of Gerry Spence, some say the best
trial lawyer of the 20th century; Rikki
Klieman of Boston, lawyer for Katherine
Ann Powers; Richard Haynes and Joe
Jamail of Houston; Howard Weitzman of
Los Angeles, lawyer for Michael Jackson,
John DeLorean and OJ. Simpson; Morris
Dees, of Montgomery, Alabama; Albert
Krieger of Miami, Florida, lawyer for John
Gotti; Judge Robert R. Rose, formerly of
the Wyoming Supreme Court, and many
others.
During the final four days they did
one-day trials. Many tried the O.J.
Simpson case. As I watched them try their
cases, I was astounded by how accom-
plished they had become as trial lawyers.
Even those who had never tried a case
before were better than most of the lawyers
I watched try cases from the bench here in
Harris County. Although the magic of the
Trial Lawyers College is hard to define, it
is surely magic. I was there. I saw it with
my own eyes.
On September I st, fifty tired Young
Warriors packed their bags, said their final
good-byes and headed home; some with
anticipation, some reluctantly. They were
not the same people who arrived there on
July 31st. They had been changed. They
viewed the world differently. They viewed
themselves differently. Each and every
one was glad they had come. They felt
privileged by having been there. They just
didn ' t know how the folks back home were
going to take them.
Karen Cauthen is a Young Warrior
from Port Arthur. She has never tried a
case. She says: "When I started law
school back in the fall of 1990, I dreamed
of becoming a good trial lawyer. Since
attending the Trial Lawyers College, I am
now determined that I will not be just a
good trial lawyer but rather a great trial
lawyer. lowe my clients no less since I
have been taught by the very best! "
John Bull from Pearsall, Texas is a trial
lawyer of some significant experience.
John says he applied "with the intent of
becoming a better trial lawyer, but received
so much more. I think the best part of all
of this was that I learned a lot about myself
as a human being. I told Garvin [Garvin
Isaacs from Oklahoma City] that had
known that we would be dancing with
Indians and painting when I applied I'm
not sure I would have come. What a mis-
take that would have been."
So, you want to be a trial lawyer?
Well, if you don't represent corporations or
insurance companies or governments, but
you do represent people, send in your
application now, 1 then mosey on up to
Dubois next August. Find yourself in the
Rockies. "Let the wind do its thing with
your mind."2 Become a Trial  
I Send a leller. Explain what you ' ve done
in your life and what your dreams are. To:
Trial Lawyers College, P.O. Box 548.
Jackson, WY 83001.
' . From Waddie Mitchell. Buckaroo Poet.
VOTE
209th District Court Judge
Pd. Pol. Adv. by L.W. Oliver, P.O. Box 271503, Houston, TX 77277
18 DOCKET CALL
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
Encourage  Clients  and  Friends  to  Vote 
The  following  contested  races  are  very  important to  our  members.  Circle  your  choices,  and  send  acopy  to  your  clients  and  friends. 
APPELLATE  RACES 
Steve  Mansfield 
Court of Criminal Appeals,  Place 2 
Sharon  Keller 
c::setty Marshall 
Associa e Justice, 
1st Court of ru;,peals, Place 3 
Qiichol M  O' Connor 
Mamie  Proctor 
Associate Justice, 
14th  Court of Appeals,  Place  1
Hudson 
c:§b Moore ::; 
Associate   
14th  Court of Apl'eals, Place 2 
Wanda  McKee Fowler 
C RosJ  SearC:::=-
,
Associa e Justice. 
14th  Court of Appeals  Place 4 
Maurice Amidei 
c;&e" L.  DraugfuC> 
Associate Justice. 
14th  Court of Appeals.  Place 5 
John  S. Anderson 

Associate Justice, 
14th  Court of Appeal s. Place  6 
co: Patnce Barron  :J
Leslie Ann  Brock 
ATTORNEY GENERAL 


Don  Wittig 
HARRIS  COUNTY RACES 
180th  DiSLri ct Court,  Criminal 
Debbie Mantooth 
e  san  Spru(j:) 
182nd  District COUlt,  Criminal 
184th  District Court, Criminal 
c:B:Qb  Burdetto 
Jan  Kroeker 
185th  Dis  rict Court,  Criminal 
H.  Lon Harper 
CCarl Walker.  D 
208th  District  Court. Clj minal 
C2nise Colliii:' 
andy M81tin 
209th  Distriet Court,  Criminal 
Michael  McSpadden 
c?L!oyd  W. Oliver::J 
232nd  D'  t  Criminal 
Carlos  (e.e.) Correa 
Mary  Lou  Keel 
314th  District Court, Juvenile 
Mary 
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315th  Di strict Court,  Juvenile 
KentEliis 
C Berta  A.  Mejia:::::;' 
___HARRIS COUNTY COURTS 
AT LAW
Criminal  Court at Law  #2 
50urt at  Law  #9
ed  G.  AI)  LeD 
Analia  Wilkerson 
iminal  Court at Law  #12 
Robin  Brown 
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Norma Jean  Mancha 
oJ ____ADMINISTRA'I'IVE  RACES 
263rd  District Court.  Criminal 
CRuben 
Jim  Wallace 
313th District Court, Juvenile  COUNTY COMMISSIONER,  PCT.  4
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 1994
DOCKET CALL  19 
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c: