You are on page 1of 24
, , , ,
,
,
,
,

I , , , , SUMMER 2007

SUMMER 2007

, , , , I SUMMER 2007
, , , , I SUMMER 2007

3

WinningWarriors

6

The Fight Goes On

II

10

14

16

• •

• •

• •

• •

 

••

• •

••

by Patrick F. McConn

Year-End Re port : HCCLA Speaker 's Bureau & Publ ic Relations Committee

by Wendy M. Miller

Strategy : S tre ngth In DeFense

by Joseph WVarela

Easy Ways To Acco un t For Your Ti me In Criminal Work

by Patrick F. McConn

Annual Ba nquet

HCCLA Shawna l. Shawna l. Reagin Reagin &Christina Appelt limb Design 7026 Old Katy Road,
HCCLA
Shawna l.
Shawna l.
Reagin
Reagin &Christina Appelt
limb Design
7026 Old Katy Road, Ste. 350
Houston, Texas 77024
713-529-1117

~~@I1f~~EDITOR

Now that the name of a former North Caro lina District Attorney has become a verb meaning "to be unjustly prosecu ted , often for the perso nal aggrandizement of the proseclltor," the world outside the legal community ha s been alerted to the dan ge rs inh e rent in unbridled pros ecu torial discretion. Just one day's reading of The Houston Chronicle raises questions abollt whether the Harris County District Attorney's office is due for some reining in of that same discretion. On the front page of the Jun e 6 editi o n was a report of a no-bill in the shooting death of an

the accused

originally was charged with murder " because someone had been shot and authorities needed time

to inv es tigate." The investigati o n apparently validated what scene witnesses revealed at the time

of th e shootin g: The man shot in self-defense. Unfort unately, the shooter had to be arrested, make bail and get a lawyer while this inv es tigation took place. H ere's a novel co ncept : Why not investigate first, then file charges only if substantiated by the evidence> In th e same day's paper, a woman initially charged with murd er for allegedly killing her bedridden m othe r by unplugging her ventilator entered a plea of "no contest" to criminall y negligen t homi cide and was sentenced to five years' deferred adjudication. Although the facts as reported don't seem to constitute any form of ho micid e, the more interesting aspect

is the rea son th e State disregarded her exp lanati o n of what happ e ned : The woman's

unarmed man that occurred on a M etro bus . A pr osecu tor was qu o ted as say ing

of the article hu sba nd had

HCClA@~~~~~~~ ~2007-2008

PRESIDENT

Patrick f. McCann

PRESIDENT ElECT

Ma rk Bennett

VICE PRESIDENT

JoAnne Musick

SECRETARY

Nicole DeBorde

TREASURER

Steven H. Halpert

PAST PRESIDENT

Robert J fi ckman

BOARD OF DIRECTDRS:

Thamos Berg Neal Davis Christopher Downey Todd DuPant II Tyler flood Tucker Graves Mark Hachglaube Randoll Kallinen

feral Merchant Marjorie Meyers Earl D. Musick John Parras Robert A. Scardino Charles StanPield Amonda Webb

O. Tate William s

PAST PRESIDENTS:

left her the same day th e ventilator came unplu gged, so "b ecau se of the timing, " she was charged with murder. Pretty slim evidence for a murd er charge.

1971-2006

More recentl y, a mi sdemeanor tre s pass to protest the illegal detention and mistr eat ment of

C. Anthony friloux

Stuart Kinard George luquette Morvin D. Teogue Dick DeGuerln W.B. House, Jr. David R. Bires Waody Densen Will Groy Edwo rd A. Mollett Corolyn Gorcio Jock B. Zimmermann Clyde Williams

Robert Pelton Candelaria Elizanda Allen c. Isbell David Mitcham Jim E. Lavine Rick Brass Mory f. Co nn Kent A. SchoPPer Don Cogdell Jim Skelton George J. Pornhom Gorlond D. MC innis Robert A. Moen lloyd Oliver Danny Ea sterli ng Wayne Hill Richord fronkoPP W. Troy McKinney

Cy nthio

St

Wendell A. Ddom, Jr.

Henley G. Sch neider

onley

immigrant children was hijacked into a felony charge of unlawful use of a criminal instrument. The criminaJ instrument> A bicycle chain and lock.

Prosecutors over-c harge because they can, and because they know that is the only wa)' they can

cases that should never have led to criminal charges in the

rep ort ed in Winnin g Warri ors,

the prosec utor initially so ught a murder indictm ent for an incid e nt inv estigated by th e police as a

tragic traffic accident.

any tim e a child is kill ed or injured, som eo ne must be cri minally respon sible. This pro sec utor a lso

pLlblicly argued that manslaughter was not an appropriate charge; he then prosecuted that very

charge and filed a mot ion in limine demanding

Chronicle as say ing that he knew from the

outset that the case would be difficult to win, "[b]ut to honor [th e complainant] we had to try to make sure he was he ld accountable for hi s ac tion s." On thi s log ic , we drag people throu g h the criminal justice system, regardless of whether or not they have en gaged in criminal conduct, to

"ho nor" the dead. And what arrogance to pretend that an individual involved in such an accident will not hold himself responsible a thou sand times over for the res t of hi s life.

saJvag e a ny conviction out of marginal first pla ce. In the case of the Pasadena

The pro secuto r's

bus driv er who se acquittal is

reasoning, as reported by the m ed ia , appeared t o be that

that th e defen se not mention hi s about-face.

After the verd ict, the pros ecu tor was quot ed in th e

Around th e same tim e as th e Pasadena bu s acc ident , a

woman ran ove r and killed a young ch ild

who ran into an intersection in northwes t H ous ton. No prosecutor appeared on TV to den o unce

her behavior and accuse her of murd er. A few years ago, a friend's family member was run down like an armadillo by a drunk driver as she walked home alon g a narr o w street with no sidewaJks. Despite the presence of an eyewitness, the driv er 's lic e nse plate layin g in the road by her man g led body, a driver who fl ed the sce ne and the driver s till being drunk when arreste d , the Harris County D.A.' s offi ce stea dfa st ly refused to even seek an indictment for into xication manslaughter, opting instead to file separate misdemeanor DWl and state jaiJ felony FSGI charges , to which the driver was allowed to plead to concurrent misdemeanor tim e . Try expJai ning to these families why their loved ones were not worthy of" honor." So h ow do es the office decide who ge ts Nifo ng-ed and wh o doesn't> Unlike the N ort h Caro lina case , the chosen ones in Harri s County are m ore likel y to be the po or and di se nfranchised. These are the people who ca n least afford the costs of bail and a lawyer, and are of course the easiest to

coerce into some kind o f plea bargain. By forcing the se bogu sly charged cas es to

trial , we can

raise

loca l taxpayer awarene ss of the consequences of pr osecLl torial indiscretion an d muz z le our

own

budding Nifongs.

Shawna L. Rea gin, Editor

• 171e Editat·'s opinion is purely personal, and in no way reflects the viewpoint or position of the H arris CMtnty Criminal Lawyers' Association.

SUMMER 2~DEFENDER

Gilbert Villareal won a Not Guilty on a burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit aggravated assault.

In yet another instance of a tri al court refusing to admit defensive character evidence, Rosa Eliades reversed the

lors~

The jury only took five minutes to hand Joe Wells a Not Guilty verdict on a DWI in CCCL #8 on March 26, 2007.

At least part of the jury was so appalled by the State's expert's claim that parents have no right to bathe their own children that Jerald Crow got a mistrial on an aggravated sexual assault of a child trial in Montgomery County.

Katherine Scardino and Danny Easterling again prevailed in obtaining a life pl ea for a client facing the death penalty, three weeks before trial was scheduled to begin . The client was accused of beating up and strangling his 5-months-pregnant girlfriend and having sex with her corpse the next day; he gave two confessions.

Katherine then teamed up with Jimmy Phi11ips on a death capital in Angleton , wh ere their stellar performance during guilt/innocence earned them a life offer before commencement of the punishment phase. Client convicted of killing 3 people and wounding a tourth on orders of a Texas Syndicate gang leader.

Proving that some hot streaks never cool, after working

a capital in Montgomery County for nearly two years , Ms. Scardino recently negotiated a plea to aggravated

robbery

for five years TDCJ -ID.

351 st

District Court in Melgar v. State, _

S .W.3d

,

A

quick win was awarded to James Alston , who got a

2007

WL 852636 (Tex.App . - Houston [1 st Dist.] No .

6 -1/ 2 mioute Not Guilty on

a criminal trespass.

01-05-01049 , delivered March 22, 2007) [designated for publication].

Cynthia Rayfield and Annette Henry scored an acquittal for their client charged with indecency in the 228[h District Court.

A no

Dennis Craigs a Not Guilty 00 April 12, 2007.

test,

no

accident DWI

in CCCL #10

brought

That same day, Doug Murphy added to the string of

victories over form er DWI

when he heard Not Guilty in CCCL #3.

task force officer Robinson

[How many

----------------------------------------------~

~

defeats does this make for the officer whose supporters publicly claimed that his woes were solely attributable to disgruntled defense lawyers who were unable to beat him in court?]

After Lisa Benge investigated the post­ arrest firing of the police officer involved, she gleaned a dismissal of her client's second DWI with a breath test, even though said client had also taken a slightly unauthorized leave of absence during pendency of the case.

Michael Gillman overcame the odds to achieve an acquittal on an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon , enhanced to first degree, in the 263 rd District Court.

mInimum.

the Jacinto City police department.

Improperly obtained confession courtesy of

Emily Detoto persuaded a Burleson County jury whose foreman had twice before convicted to acquit her client accused of two counts of aggravated sexual assault, despite DNA evidence and underhanded prosecutorial tactics. A co-defendant was also acquitted.

Todd Dupont scored a IS-minute Not Guilty on a no

test /

no accident DWI in CCCL #4.

'''!hen his own photos proved the cop lied about the accused entering a crosswalk that did not exist, Roger Bridgwater secured a directed verdict in CCCL #13.

In Amad01' v. State, _ S .W . 3d _,2007 \VL 1217267

(Tex.Crim.App. PD-0786-06, delivered April 25, 2007), Troy McKinney reversed the Beaumont Court of Appeals for assuming that the contents of a videotape not included in the appellate record would be adverse

to the defendant on the issue of probable cause to arrest

for DWI, rather than remanding the matter to the trial court to resolve the disputed issue of whether the record should be supplemented and to what extent.

a cooperation from certain quarters, Roland Moore avoided a probable life sentence for his aggravated robbery client in the 179[h District Court, when he

a case

In

full

of obstacles

and

lack

of

Blair Davis preserved error that helped Joe Varela reverse a conviction due to the 178 th 's failure to charge the jury in accordance with Art. 38.23, Tex. Code

in Holmes v. State, _ S.W.3d _, 2007 WL

Crim . P.,

convinced Judge Wilkinson to suppress the confession

1245891

(Tex.App . -- Houston [14[h Dist.] No. 14­

and thereby garnered a trial offer for the 2S-year

06-00269-CR, delivered May 1, 2007) [designated for

pll blication] .

A domestic violence assault ended in acquittal for John

Perez in CCCL #1.

Along with Mark Hochglaube, Nicole DeBorde successfully argued to the Court of Criminal Appeals that

Along with Mark Hochglaube, Nicole DeBorde

successfully argued to the Court of Criminal Appeals that it is constitutional error to prevent a lawyer from

asking a proper question during voir dire in Jones v. State ,

_ S.W.3d _ , 2007 WL 984571 (Tex.Crim .App .,

delivered April

4, 2007) . The case was originally tried

in the 263 rd and remanded to the First Court of Appeals

for harm analysis .

vVith

aggressive"

verdict on a DWl in CCCL #11 on May 7, 2007.

what

has

been

described

as

Nicole

also

her

"gracious

a

but

directed

manner,

finessed

Jed Silverman and Steve Gonzales took a 25-minute

Not Guilty in a no test, no accident, task force DWI in

CCCL #13, even though the client admitted to having

three drinks.

A domestic violence assault conviction was reversed on

denial of confrontation in Zapata v. State, _ S.W.3d

[1 st

Dist.] No. 01-06-00286-CR, delivered May 17, 2007) [designated for publication], thanks to Bob Wicoff.

Keith Hampton preserved error when he tried the case

_ , 2007 WL 1439872 (Tex.App. -- Houston

in CCCL #8.

Aggravated robbery dissolved into 12.44(a ) time on theft from a person for two co-defendant brothers when

Paul St. John and Ken McCoy hung the jury after three days of trial in the 180 th District Court. Two of Paul's

client's three jail assaults were also dismissed, leaving him

to do 2 years on the remaining charge.

Tom Stickler won an acquittal in only 12 minutes for felon in possession of a firearm charges in the 412 th District Court of Brazoria County.

Laine Lindsey and Tyrone Moncriffe garnered an 11 th_

hour capital life plea for their death penalty client in the

209 th District Court.

Relying on the time-honored "swiss cheese" defense, Kyle Allen convinced a Montgomery County jury to return a Not Guilty for his client accused of retaliation; the verdict should also allow the client to remain in the United States.

David Cunningham scored a Not Guilty for his client charged with possession of 28 grams of cocaine in the

262 nd District Court.

Fox Curl helped select the jury.

Mter getting a felony terroristic threat refded as a misdemeanor, Sarah Wood turned a trial loss into a win by successfully suppressing the complainant's ID of her client, following Judge Mike Fields' grant of a new trial.

Last, but certainly not least, Robb Fickman and Stan Schneider prevailed in a hard-fought and closely­ watched trial where the State prosecuted a Pasadena school bus driver for manslaughter in the traffic death of an 9-year-old girl, despite no alcohol or drugs being involved. The State initially sought a murder indictment for the accident, but Robb convinced the grand jury to return on the lesser charge .

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THESE WINNING WARRIORS!

the grand jury to return on the lesser charge . CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THESE WINNING WARRIORS!
MY I cannot express enough thanks to Robb Ficlunan as out going Presjdent for all
MY I cannot express enough thanks to Robb Ficlunan as out going Presjdent for all
MY I cannot express enough thanks to Robb Ficlunan as out going Presjdent for all

MY I cannot express enough thanks to Robb Ficlunan as out going Presjdent for all his work and heJp this past year. Robb did an outstanding job, and I am grateful for

FRIENDS

I

ail the assistance and advjce he has given me.

Looking to the future, I am fortunate to have a motivated and

talented group of offlcers and an energetic board working with me. Together we will make this an exceptional year, and here is why:

HCCLA will continue to be an aggressive and strong voice for our members and their clients. Whether standing up against abuses of power, or for an individual member, HCCLA will speak out against any attempts to limit our members in their role as counselor to deprive their clients of their civil liberties . No one who is a member of this organization will stand alone . Whether that voice of HCCLA is spoken qujetiy or shouted, it will be heard. As an organization, this year we must strive to expand our membership and increase our diversity. I will take the lead on that, but I will urge every member to recruit at least one new member, and to speak to our minority colleagues who are not members and encourage them to jojn. We must also strengthen and renew our reputation as the organization on the Texas Gulf Coast for great legal education and exciting professional CLE. Our officers and board members are especially qualified to help guide us back to this spot; they have run an outstanding series of CLE sessions for the past two years and this year will be even better. In order to sustain our organization's commitment to having a voice for our members and for the people we represent, we must shore up our ability to pay for the things that reach out to and speak for our supporters, fi'om broadcast programs to our magazine , The Defender. This is a long term effort and will require help from all the membership at large . Last, we have many new fights to take on in the public arena and the courts. From a colossal white elephant of a proposed new jail for Harris County, to the

• recent efforts to limit bond in our legislature, to the new efforts by courts to permit DWI suspects to have blood drawn against their will, to efforts to deny Hispanics the ability to qualify for community supervjsion unless they prove they are citizens, to the utter lack of serious funding for drug treatment and probation programs that might actually help solve some of the long term problems with jail and prison overcrowding, we have much to do. As your President I will speak out on these jssues, and your voice will be heard.

I LOOK FORWARD TO SERVING YOU ALL.

Yours truly,

PATRI(K f. M[(ANN

YEAR-END R PORT HCCLAS BakBrS'BurBaU& PUBliC Rf ATIONS COMMITTH BY WENDY MILLER [ [ RS'

YEAR-END R PORT

HCCLAS BakBrS'BurBaU&

PUBliC Rf ATIONS COMMITTH

BY WENDY MILLER

PUBliC Rf ATIONS COMMITTH BY WENDY MILLER [ [ RS' BUR [A U provides volunteer [attorneys
PUBliC Rf ATIONS COMMITTH BY WENDY MILLER [ [ RS' BUR [A U provides volunteer [attorneys

[

[ RS' BUR [A Uprovides volunteer

[attorneys willing to

speak - free of charge - to schools, church groups, civic groups, and other organizations on many different topics relevant to criminal law and criminal defense (adult and juvenile). Recent speaker events include presentations to law students and clinics at local law schools, to the general public at the People's Law School, to elementary­ school campers at Camp C.O.O.L. (Children's Orientation On Law), and to teenagers participating in local Teen Court programs. To volunteer as a speaker in the HCCLA Speakers' Bureau or to arrange a speaker, please send contact information and speaker topic to SpeakersBureau@hccla.org.

Wh at has this committee done In the past year for HCCLA?

• HCCLA Speakers' Bureau has the names of 25 HCCLA members (& particular speaker topic expertise) willing to speak at community events when requested.

• HCCLA speakers made over t.hree dozen presentations in the past year in the Houston community -- with audiences ranging from educating law students at the University of Houston Law Center -- to teens at the HAY Center aging out of foster care -- to high school students participating in the Teen Civic Leadership Academy.

HC C LA speakers Colin Amann and Wendy Miller [center 1 with UH Law Center's

HC C LA speakers Colin Amann and Wendy Miller [center1with UH Law Center's Criminal Defense Law Students Association officers Rachel Wall and Heather Kostc

• HCCLA members have volunteered in the past year to assist high school student attorneys and jury members in three different Teen Court programs in the Greater Houston area.

• HCCLA has averaged sending at least two volunteers every month to assist a Teen Court program since June of 2006.

• HCCLA members made presentations for four consecutive months at the CLE lunches benefiting attorneys in the Harris County Municipal Justice Bar Association (February through M ay 2007 ).

• HCCLA members received a discount on tickets to attend a pre-mixer reception and showing of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird " in April of 2007 at the Alley Th eatre.

• HCCLA Public Relations hosted a reception and private exhibit viewing at FotoFest in Houston in May of 2007 for the photo exhibit "Guantanamo. Pictures From Home. Questions of Justice."

• HCCLA Public Relations is consistently working to increase HCCLA involvement in wortll\vhile volunteer projects -­ such as the presence of a "HCCLA Team" in April of 2007 at the Houston Helping Elder Hands event (organized by the Houston Young Lawyers Association) . The event completed "handyman" tasks for 25 homes of senior citizens and helped 100 residents at the U.S. Veterans Home in Houston.

THE DEFENDER *" 9

IT IS EASIER FOR THE DEFENSIVE THAN FOR THE OFFENSIVE TO MAKE ATTA(KS FROM SEVERAL QUARTERS, BE(AUSE, AS WE HAVE ALREADY SAID, THE FORMER IS IN A BETTER SITUATION TO SURPRISE BY THE FOR( E AND FORM OF HIS ATTA(KS.

WE (HOOSE OUR OWN GR OUN D FO R THE TR IAL OF STRENGTH.

WE ARE HIDDEN ON FAMILI AR GROUND;

GROU ND TH AT IS LESS FAMILIAR. WE CAN LAY TRAPS AND

PREPARE SURPRISES BY COUNTER-ATTACK, WHEN HE IS MOST

DANGEROUSLY EXPOSED.

THAT WHERE DEFENCE IS SOUND AND WElL DESIGNED THE ADVANTAGE OF SURPRISE IS AGAINST rHE ATTACK.

HE IS EXPOSED ON

HENCE THE PARADOXICAL DOCTRINE

Corbett, Some Principles of Maritime Strategy

(1911),

I, ii.

Clausewitz, On War (1832), VI, ii.2

There is something counterintllltlve

theory of conflict which holds that the defense is

inherently stronger than the attack. Corbett 3 had to

call this observation

sour note in vVestern ears . Indeed, one considering any competitive enterprise, be it warfare, litigation or

a

"paradoxical" because it rings a

about

a general

football, would likely hold that "The best de fense strong offense."4

is

While it is true that the attacker picks the time and place at which he will appear, once he has committed himself to that time and place, he has "used up" the

Surprise

advantage of surprise and is now fully exposed .

and the ability to maneuver now shift to the defender, who may pick the time(s) and place(s) of his counter­

strokes.

LET'S ILLUSTRATE THESE ABSTRACTIONS BY VISITING A HISTORICAL EXAMPLE.

Both Germany and Japan defended coasts against invasion. Over the objections of senior generals, Hitler demanded that all available resources be deployed at

the Allies met immediate

resistance but penetrated the vaunted "Atlantic Wall" in one day.s

Japanese commanders watched and learned. At Iwo Jima they abjured their signature strategy of heavy beach defense and banzai charges in favor of a dug-in defense in the interior, where many elaborate traps and surprises were prepared . 6 The invasion eventually succeeded due to numerical superiority and lack of Japanese reinforcement? but it took five weeks and the cost was terrible . s Had the defenders

the beach . At Normandy

was terrible . s Had the defenders the beach . At Normandy started the battle with

started the battle with more soldiers, or been able to call in reserves, the invasion might have failed . The Japanese exploited the inherent strength of the defensive where the Germans did not. The defense lawyer is sometimes daunted by being "on the defensive." Our cultural bias predisposes us to believe that the advantage lies with the prosecutor, who selects what charge to file, what theory of guilt to advance, what witnesses to call, and what exhibits to present (i n what order). But the authorities quoted above tell us that the defense lawyer has an advantage inherent in his defensive position. Corbett implies that information favors the defense . Although discovery rights against the prosecutor are few, tl1ey do exist and should be exercised. Particularly in a Texas state case, the information flow is asymmetrical. 9

neglected .

Informal "open file" discovery allows for additional asymmetrical information gathering. Another source is affidavits for search or arrest warrants; these should always be obtained and scoured for information. When the trial starts, the prosecutor goes first. As early as the voir dire he may commit himself to a specific theory. The defense can listen to his questions and "read" how he will try his case. The prosecutor may compound his problem when he mal<es his opening statement. The opening statement should receive utmost attention; while the prosecutor is giving the jury his "roadmap," he is informing the defense what he intends to do and what he thinks is important. The prosecution opens the evidence. Once the prosecutor has revealed his evidence, he has to live with his case-in-chief and is now "exposed" in Corbett's terms. The defense can tailor its presentation to counter-attack the prosecutor's evidence.

Nor should other sources of discovery be

attack. 10

Rather than becoming unnerved defensive, the defense lawyer should eXJ)lO:lt strength. Consider taking Corbett's advice. Emulate th Japanese at Iwo lima, not the Germans at Normandy. Defense may indeed be stronger than attack. S e, c.g., 11 .

reciprocal discovery in Fcclafdiliil 39.14(b) is the exception, aD(I~~ experts. HI H urd v. State, 725 S.W.2d 249 (To v. State, 95 S.W.3d 488 (Tex. App.-HoUlton [1st rcf' d)(denial of such cross is constitutional crror).

EZ INTERLOCK An Alcohol Specific Ignition Interlock Provider J o h n B u r

EZ INTERLOCK

An Alcohol Specific Ignition Interlock Provider

EZ INTERLOCK An Alcohol Specific Ignition Interlock Provider J o h n B u r n

John Burns, President

Laura 0' Brien, Public Relations

*' Most accurate and reliable ignition interlock available

*' Patented fuel cell eliminates false readings

*' Easy to read instructIOns

*' Convenient scheduling for installation and recalibration

"* Locally owned and operated *' Superior quality at a reasonable rate

Request EZ Interlock through Court Services, CLO or Coordinator. Free installation with your business card.

"Assuring a Designa ted Driver "

your business card. "Assuring a Designa ted Driver " SHAWNA L. REAGIN ANNOUNCES HER CANDIDACY IN
your business card. "Assuring a Designa ted Driver " SHAWNA L. REAGIN ANNOUNCES HER CANDIDACY IN

SHAWNA L. REAGIN

ANNOUNCES HER CANDIDACY

IN THE 2008 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR THE 176 TH DISTRICT COURT.

JUSTICE,

WITH

COURTESY FAIRNESS FOR ALL

Political advertisement paid for by the Shawn a L. Reagin for Judge Campaign. in compliance with the voluntary limits of the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act.

AND

Mark Bennett. Treasurer. 735 Oxford Street. Houston. Texas 77007.

S UMMER 2~DEFENDEfl

S UMMER 2~DEFENDEfl P A T R I C K F . M C C A
S UMMER 2~DEFENDEfl P A T R I C K F . M C C A

PATRICK F. MCCANN

EASY WAYS TO

ACCOUNT

FOR YOUR

K F . M C C A N N EASY WAYS TO ACCOUNT FOR YOUR I
K F . M C C A N N EASY WAYS TO ACCOUNT FOR YOUR I

I

I kn ow, you didn ' t bec ome a crilllinallawyer to track time. In fact, it may be that you hate tracking your time, and love the I easie r method of charging in crirninallaw; i.e., up front an d a se t price on the barrel-head. I Yet increasingly, for appointments in the state, county, and even federal district courts, one is forced to provide an I accounting in order to get paid promptly and properly. So, in or der to avoid cheating yourself on the time you really do schedule and commit to your clients each week, here are some

I simple tips, both low-tech and middle-tech, to help you get

a Blackberry/Palm­

-I

pa i d. If you use a day planner religiously or

type device you probably do not need this advice, but if you can use one of these tips to track your time, and thus your mone y, then it will be worthwhile.

your time, and thus your mone y, then it will be worthwhile. 1 U,e block, of

1 U,e block, of time in you t d,y pl' n no</ " Ie nd" . We

all often mark down the court time for docket call on our daily calendar; how many times do we actually input the time we know we will spend on that docket? In other words, instead of putting down a 0830 docket call for Mr. Smith, why not put the two hours we know it will take for us to get through the docket, read the file, negotiate with the State, visit the holdover, wait for the myriad other items that will take place, etc.? Then at the end of each week you tally up your hours by the calendar, and either place them in the file or on a spreadsheet/ list, and voila, your time is magically in a usable form. [FYI, this also works with the inevitable two to four hours one spends at the county jailor federal detention center, at the state prison, etc.].

2 Put the county/ CJA/ di,ttict coutt fotm IN the file,

along with the worksheets for extra hours on the first day. This requires some pre-planning; you need to get that set of forms in bulk early or often from the court coordinators, clerks, or case managers, or wherever YOLl can get them. Put them in the file so that every time you are in court on that case YOll can fiJi the darn thing Ollt right there, so on the day the trial is done, or the plea or sentencing is finished, the voucher gets filed immediately. Or your assistant can gather them and place tbem in the files as they prepare them; it simplifies record keeping and prevents that "after the fact" effort to compile the hours and reconcile them for the voucher. Also, fill them in going forward, not backwards as we sometimes do . As long as the final hours match it only matters that the sheets exist as a record, not in which order you filled out the form.

3 U,e youe eell phone. OK, ,imo" emy one ofm h" one. Almost every model

3 U,e youe eell phone. OK, ,imo" emy one ofm h"

one. Almost every model also has a voice record function.

a client, hit the record button

or selection on the phone, say the client's name , the court, the activity, and th e time spent with the date. Example:

5 th , suppression hearing,

three hours." You can do the same with texting, by the way.

Give the phone to your assistant or your kind spouse, the neighborhood kid who does your taxes, whomever, at the end of each week, and have them do the tally. Presto! You have accollnted for your time.

"Smith, 333 rd District Court, May

Wh enever you do something for

r d District Court, May Wh enever you do something for Repeat the above for your

Repeat the above for your own message service, voice mail, or secretary, as soon as you have visited a jailed client, finished a morning of appointments, or completed a plea or hearing or a day of trial. You will have an easy-to-use record of your time . This is very handy when you are o ut of town on trial or some other event and cannot get back to your office.

5 Ifyou have email, at the end of the day, ,hoot you",if

or your assistant a quick accounting of your activities. It does not have to be long, just a quick note as to the hours you spent on whatever you did, and you can create a folder in almost every system (Outlook, Web mail, etc.) to store these emailsin.This creates an easily accessible, easily forwarded or printable record.

6 Use the Oudook calendar and journal functions in

Microsoft Office. Both of these come bundled with almost every Office package, home, student, business, whatever. You do not have to buy any new programs, and their use is easy and intuitive . The journal function can actually serve as a printable series of memos to the file as well as a good diary - like capture of your time, while the calendar's function is essentially that of an automated day planner; hence, block time entries can work here as well.

7HandheJd,jPDru/new multi-function cell phones - all of these have calendar functions and memo functions. If you have one, and have not mastered those functions, do so, and use it to record the time you spend immediately after completing the action . At the end of the week, hand it to the person who does your tallies. If YOLl do not have a twelve-year­ old in your office who works for bubblegum, and that person who does your tally is you, then schedule a Friday cup of coffee with yourself, and do the recording before YOLl head home.

yourself, and do the recording before YOLl head home. • I 8 Bill your tmel time.
I
I

8 Bill your tmel time. We ,11 [Nget ,bou, 'hi, When

you drive from Brazoria to the Harris County jail, or vice versa, you will run up bet\veen a half and one hour of travel time each way. Just counting this could add up to fifty or more hours billed per year. Even at county rates, that is still a nice piece of change, say a week-long cruise for you and your spouse or significant other. Use one of the methods discussed above to do this, but do it .

9 Use your phone bill. \iVhen paying your bills each

month, and looking over your phone charges, why not make it a party where YOU get paid? Looking at your phone bill , eliminate aU charges to your house, parents, girlfriends, boyfriends, bookies, substance-abuse counselors, etc. The remainder will normally be client and other attorney calls, with the time spent on them handily annotated next to the number. If you cannot remember who the number belongs to, call it and figure out if you can bill for it. Write down the times and hours and voila, your phone bill will have just paid for itself~

10 Bill foe the time you 'pend doing the ,illy thing, that get your case to a resolution. Take a sip of coffee or [or Scotch, depending how your morning is starting] and think back over how much time you spend during an average week

doing the

bound and copied, going to the Clerk's office and getting copies of the State's sllbpoenas, the vast criminal histories of their witnesses, talking over coffee [or Scotch, it all depends J to other attorneys about your case, chatting with investigators, fielding calls from the same concerned relatives who would

not cough up a dime for your client's bail, etc.

second sip, and say aloud how often you bill for that. That's what I thought. Maybe not on every case, but on one where you worked especially hard, why not quit cheating yourself and actually put in for that time?

following : Going to the printers to get documents

Now, take a

1---------------------------­

to get documents Now, take a 1---------------------------­ If these tips are useful, great. If not, bill

If these tips are useful, great. If not, bill the State for the time, and good luck.

Mike Ramsey, Lifetime Achievement Award

Mike Ramsey, Lifetime Achievement Award o 0 E~@EEDSE~PECTRT onI HCCLA's annual banquet was held May 10,
Mike Ramsey, Lifetime Achievement Award o 0 E~@EEDSE~PECTRT onI HCCLA's annual banquet was held May 10,
Mike Ramsey, Lifetime Achievement Award o 0 E~@EEDSE~PECTRT onI HCCLA's annual banquet was held May 10,
Mike Ramsey, Lifetime Achievement Award o 0 E~@EEDSE~PECTRT onI HCCLA's annual banquet was held May 10,
Mike Ramsey, Lifetime Achievement Award o 0 E~@EEDSE~PECTRT onI HCCLA's annual banquet was held May 10,

o

0

E~@EEDSE~PECTRT onI

HCCLA's annual banquet was held May 10, 2007, at the downtown Hyatt Regency. Over 350 tickets were sold, and many who could not be accommodated for the seated dinner joined the cocktail crush immediately preceding. Faces in the crowd were a veritable "who's

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift gives the Keynote Address

who" of the legal community, as the venerated objects turned out to honor the ultra-venerated Mike Ramsey, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and George "Mac" Secrest, chosen Attorney of the Year. The banquet was outgoing President Robb Fickman's

GRACE accepts the Torch of Liberty Award

Attorney of the Year. The banquet was outgoing President Robb Fickman's GRACE accepts the Torch of

Richard" Racehorse" Haynes with the new board members

New President Pat McCann share a moment

last hurrah, and he made the most of it, regaling the audience with his signature firebrand humor and satirical observations. Robb presented Member of the Year awards to Troy McKinney, JoAnne Musick and Shawna Reagin. Richard "Racehorse" Haynes continued his tradition of swearing in the new officers and board members. Mr. Haynes had graciously agreed to celebrate his birthday with this crowd of admirers, so everyone got to enjoy some delicious cake after singing their good wishes. Once the baton had passed to incoming President Patrick McCann, he awarded this year's Unsung

Hero plaque to Vivian King, for her outstanding representation of the indigent accused . The Torch of Li berty award went to the Gulf Regional Advocacy Center [GRACE], and was happily accepted by Danalynn Recer, Aimee Solway, Gilly Ross and several others of their faithful crew. Attorney of the Year Mac Secrest was specifically commended for rising to the occasion in last year's trial of former Enron CEO Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, but that was just one hallmark in a career defined by quintessential professionalism . When Mike Ramsey acknowledged his Lifetime Achievement award, he also lauded Mr. Secrest for his role in the Enron trial .

Mark Bennett unveils Robb's parting gift - an original movie from" Henry V" Robb thanks
Mark Bennett unveils Robb's parting gift
- an original movie
from" Henry V"
Robb thanks Christina Appelt & Diana Stachmus
for their invaluable contributions

George Tyson and Kent Schaffer entertained the group with various anecdotes from the life and times of Mr. Ramsey, many of which served to remind those of a certain age that, while it sometimes seems as though the good old days are long gone, the Old Guard marches on, bringing excitement and color to a world that desperately needs both . Keynote speaker Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, the military lawyer who successfully challenged the government's plan to deny fair trials for Guantanamo detainees, shared stories of his incredible victory and its aftermath. His remarks weLC an inspirational coda to an evening devoted to the celebration of due process and those lawyers who spend their lives in pursuit of justice.

President Pat McCann presents the Unsung Hero Award to Vivian King Member of the Year

President Pat McCann presents the Unsung Hero Award to Vivian King

Member of the Year JoAnne Musick is thanked by Pat & Robb

of the Year JoAnne Musick is thanked by Pat & Robb BANNED IN BOSTON! CITY COUNCIL'S

BANNED IN BOSTON! CITY COUNCIL'S WORST NIGHTMARE! DENOUNCED FROM PULPITS COAST TO COAST!

Is it Deep Throat? Tropic oP Cancer? Hustler?

NO) irS EVENBmER:

REASONABLE DOUBT

WITH

TODD DUPONT

TUNE IN TO THE CABlE ACCESS CHANNEl THAT HAS HOUSTON'S GUARDIANS OF PUBliC DECENCY TOTAllY A-TWITTER TO SEE TODD) HIS CO-HOSTS AND HIS GUESTS SPIN CRIMINAl JUSTICE CONTROVERSY. BE INFORMED AND ENTERTAINED.

CATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN

BE INFORMED AND ENTERTAINED. CATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN THURSDAYS AT 8:00 P.M. CABLE ACCESS CHANNEL

THURSDAYS AT 8:00 P.M. CABLE ACCESS CHANNEL 17

SPONSORED BY HCCLA

SUMMER2~DEFENDER

fjvteJ V

ADVERTISING RATES:

Full inside page [non-cover] - $700 .00 per issue I $2,520.00 per year

Inside front cover - $800.00 per issue I $2,880.00 per year

Inside back cover - $750.00 per issue I $2,700.00 per year

Back cover

- $800.00 per issue I $2,880 .00 per year

2/3 page - $600.00 per issue I $2,160.00 per year

1/2 page - $500.00 per issue I $1,800.00 per year

1/3 page - $400.00

per issue I $1,440.00 per year

1/4 page - $250.00 per issue I $900.00 per year

Business cud size - $125.00 per issue I $450.00 per year

per issue I $900.00 per year Business cud size - $125.00 per issue I $450.00 per
IN BECOMING AMEMBER? HCClA Promotes aproductive exchange of ideas and encourages better

IN BECOMING AMEMBER?

HCClA

Promotes aproductive exchange of ideas and encourages better communicationwithprosecutorsandthejudiciary. Provides continuing legal education programs for improving advocacy skills and knowledge. Promotes ajust application of the court-appointed lawyer systemfor indigent persons charged with criminal offenses. Rles amicus curiae briefs in support of freedom and human rights.

APPLICATION

Applicant :

Mailing address:

Telephone:

Fax:

Email:

Wehsite:

Firm Name:

Date admitted to bar:

Law school:

Prol'cssional organizations in which yo u arc a member in good sranding:

me of membership:

o

Student ($25 annual tee) Expected graduation date:

o

Newly licensed (first year) attorney ($75)

o

Regular membership ($150)

Date:

Signature of applicant:

Endorsement:

I, a member in good standing ofHCCLA, believe this applicant to be a person of professional competency, integrity and good moral character. The applicant is actively engaged in the defense

of criminal cases.

Signamre of member:

Member name:

MAILTHISAPPLICATIONTO:

HeCLA

P.O. Box 924523, Houston, Texas 77292 -4 523

713.227.2404

II ,,,II. ,,III, ," II, ,II, ,,,,I, I, I,,III, ,,,,I, II, I. ,I, l. " I, ,II

PRESORTED STANDARD U,S, POSTAGE PAID HOUSTON,TEXAS PERMIT NO, 11500

T5-82~~~~~~~AUTO~~SCH 3-DIGIT ??O

MS .

JOANNE

MUSICK

MUSICK

& MU SICK

LLP

3'97'

'»:3;?!'5

' ·.1

S"·'I'·}

HCllI STD ' ·.} Pk"hl',.'

HUt

!.::::;TU;.!

T\'

77060·····;;::>402

E