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DEFENDER

THE
summer 2017

HARRIS COUNTY CRIMINAL L AWYERS ASSOCIATION
WHAT’S INSIDE SUMMER 2017
LETTER FROM THE
2
CLE EVENTS
EDITOR
THE DEFENDER / WINTER 2016

DONALD DAVIS SEMINAR
DEALING WITH THE PRACTICE
OCTOBER 27
CLE EVENTS
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 2
4
FREE TO ALL LAWYERS
1st Court of Appeals OFFICERS, BOARD OF DIRECTOR
301 Fannin St / Houston TX 77002
A CLE I attended this summer focused on telling our clients’ stories PAST PRESIDENTS
to humanize a client to a judge or jury deciding the client’s fate at
sentencing. It was a small gathering of defense lawyers from around

ANY QUESTIONS?
Visit the calendar at www.hccla.org
the country, and we assembled in Baltimore, Maryland to learn some
skills. I traveled alone to Baltimore, leaving husband and little ones
at home, and fabulously enjoyed this time to learn as well as explore
a new place. I found Baltimore to be charming and had a great time
A WORD FROM OUR PRESIDENT
BY TUCKER GRAVES 5
6
being on my own for a few days, even if I did have homework each
night from the CLE.
WINNING WARRIORS
I walked away from Baltimore and was inspired to defend and
humanize each and every one of my clients, which is at times difficult

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to do. One case in particular has been a difficult one for me to handle HCCLA NEWS ROUND UP
with a client who is an addict, unable to keep her addiction in check WELCOME NEW MEMBERS / 9
while on bond and after a couple of trips to rehab and to Texas 2017 DECLARATION READING / 9
prisons. By the time this is published, I will know her sentence, and
it breaks my heart that the only option for this woman’s sentence is
a rehabilitation program while she is in prison, but I have hope that
she will walk away from her time and her addiction once and for all.
It’s the only thing we can do in our profession: fight like a warrior,
10 2017 HCCLA BANQUET PHOTOS
PHOTOS BY BOB ROSENBERG

emphathize with the plight some of our clients face, and hope the
THE SERPENT AND THE LIGHT
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person in the robe sees the humanity and the story of each and
every one of our clients’ lives. BY TRINIDAD ZAMORA
AS TOLD BY RICK OLIVER
This issue features a story of one of our own: Trinidad Zamora. Before
becoming the great lawyer he is, he worked in the TDCJ system.

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A NEW MODEL OF JURY TRIAL
His story is an interesting one to hear, so I hope you enjoy. Another
PART 2 -WHY & WHEN
We like you...Do you like us? installment of Mark Bennett’s series on voir dire is also within. This
issue also features some great perspectives from other members
BY MARK BENNETT
Find HCCLA on Facebook for latest on ranging from steps in representing intellectually disabled clients and

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the ins and outs of making a record, straight from a court reporter. AND NOW...A WORD FROM
CLEs, Events, Fundraising and Much More! I’m always looking for more stories to tell and more perspectives to A COURT REPORTER
share, so please let me know if there is anything you want to write BY TIFFANI JUNE-YEATES
about for our magazine.

The next issue will be devoted completely to Richard “Racehorse”
Haynes, a great warrior the defense bar lost earlier this summer. 24 HEROES OF HARVEY
BY CHRISTINA APPELT
To further push the point that we are modern day warriors fighting WHY THE INTELLECTUALLY DISABLED

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the good fight, the covers you have seen from me as editor so far ARE SUCH A BIG PORTION OF
are depictions of Warriors from a different artist’s perspective. For OUR INMATES AND CLIENTS
the first cover, I invited an art student to depict Lady Liberty and [AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!]
Lady Justice, holding hands to show unity in the cause. This issue’s BY PAT MCCANN
cover is from a different artist in Houston, and she depicts her idea HCCLA ETHICS
of a warrior as a strong American woman. I look forward to another
artist sharing the idea and story of their representation of a warrior;
because that’s who we are everyday in whichever courthouse
we stand.
30 TRIAL TACTICS
ARTICLE BY JIM SKELTON
INTRODUCTION BY ROBERT PELTON

HAPPY VERDICTS,
Lori Botello
FALLEN WARRIORS
IN MEMORY OF THOSE WE HAVE LOST 32
33
WAR STORIES
ALCOHOL & THE PRACTICE OF LAW
BY JL CARPENTER
4 C. ANTHONY FRILOUX
5
STUART KINARD
the defender
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
GEORGE LUQUETTE
PUBLISHER
MARVIN O. TEAGUE
HCCLA
DICK DEGUERIN
EDITOR
LORI BOTELLO W.B. HOUSE, JR.
a word from your president
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past presidents DAVID R. BIRES
EARL MUSICK
CHRISTINA APPELT

DESIGN & LAYOUT
BROCHURE BUILDERS
BRANDI DELOACH
1971-2017
WOODY DENSEN
WILL GRAY
EDWARD A. MALLETT
CAROLYN GARCIA
Tucker Graves
WWW.BROCHUREBUILDERS.COM
JACK B. ZIMMERMANN HARRIS COUNTY Judges should be uniform in their policies to provide predictability to the bar and the public.
Nobody should have to learn which of 38 different policies apply to his or her case.
COVER ART CLYDE WILLIAMS CRIMINAL COURT
NEVENA ARSEKIN SUGGESTIONS
ROBERT PELTON Defendants with counsel should be allowed resets of at least ninety days between court appearances.
Neve is an artist based in Houston, TX. She studied Graphic POST-HARVEY Hurricane Harvey is going to have a huge financial toll on our county; the lost productivity of the accused
Design and Studio Art at the University of Houston, and loves CANDELARIO ELIZONDO attending multiple unnecessary court appearances would only compound this toll.
to create graphics, paint, sketch, and everything in between. ALLEN C. ISBELL Houston, Texas Bond conditions such as ignition interlock and SCRAM devices should be used minimally.
She currently works at YogaOne as a yoga instructor and September 5, 2017
DAVID MITCHAM
marketing rep for the Midtown studio. In her spare time, she Pretrial intervention and other diversionary programs should not rely on the Court Services Department or
works on art and marketing commissions, creating hand-made JIM E. LAVINE the Community Supervision and Corrections Department. These agencies are going to be overburdened
jewelry, or can be found in her natural element - the great RICK BRASS
HCCLA, which already, and their participation in such programs is not (and has not historically been) necessary.
outdoors - rock climbing or surfing.
MARY E. CONN represents Harris Electronic filing should be speedily implemented. The less physical resources the system needs, the better
KENT A. SCHAFFER County’s criminal- for all involved.

DAN COGDELL defense bar, the The cases of defendants in custody should be prioritized. We recognize that this catastrophe may affect
2017-2018 defendants’ ability to get their cases quickly resolved; those who are unable to make bail should not suffer
JIM SKELTON largest organization
Hccla officers & board
the extraordinary consequences of this storm any more than is necessary.
GEORGE J. PARNHAM of participants in Lawyers should be appointed to indigent defendants at the bail hearing or initial appearance. Court
GARLAND D. MCINNIS the Harris County coordinators should select appointed counsel promptly upon an indigency determination, and contact
that counsel immediately so that they can begin working for the accused.
ROBERT A. MOEN
criminal justice
PRESIDENT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LLOYD OLIVER Bail amounts should be lowered, except in extraordinary cases, to take into account the financial drain that
TUCKER GRAVES CHRISTINA APPELT system, suggests the the people of Harris County are already suffering from destroyed property and a kneecapped economy.
DANNY EASTERLING
following to help Those arrestees who are constitutionally entitled to reasonable bail should be released expeditiously and
WAYNE HILL
PRESIDENT ELECT BOARD OF DIRECTORS ensure a safe, allowed to appear with counsel. Scarce jail and court resources should not be clogged with people who
RICHARD FRANKOFF don’t need to be there.
DOUG MURPHY STACI BIGGAR functioning, and fair
LORI BOTELLO W. TROY MCKINNEY Court-appointed counsel should be paid on interim vouchers. Those defending indigents accused have
CYNTHIA HENLEY criminal justice expenses that are not going to be put on hold. They cannot wait until cases are resolved to be paid.
VICE-PRESIDENT JENNIFER “JL” CARPENTER
THUY LE EMILY DETOTO STANLEY G. SCHNEIDER system for the Defendants with counsel should not be required to appear in court except for a plea or contested hearing.
KATE FERRELL WENDELL A. ODOM, JR. people of Harris The financial cost to Harris County economy of lost productivity because of court appearances at which
defendants’ appearance is required for no good reason has always been huge. This might have been
SECRETARY ROBERT J. FICKMAN ROBERT J. FICKMAN County in the wake bearable in ordinary times, but during this emergency Harris County needs every productive person
working to rebuild.
DAVID RYAN JUSTIN C. HARRIS PATRICK F. MCCANN of the destruction
GEMAYEL HAYNES MARK BENNETT If weekend or evening dockets are instituted, they should be voluntary. The criminal-defense bar is not
rendered by opposed to such dockets, and they may work better for some defendants and lawyers, preventing a
TREASURER JORDAN LEWIS
JOANNE MUSICK productivity loss, but some people are unable because of family obligations to attend such dockets.
STEVEN H. HALPERT PAUL M. MORGAN Hurricane Harvey:
NICOLE DEBORDE No bail should be revoked for failure to appear in court until there is a plan in place and the criminal-
DAMON PARRISH II
EARL D. MUSICK defense bar has had an opportunity to notify our clients of where they must attend court.
PAST PRESIDENT JED SILVERMAN
TYLER FLOOD WADE B. SMITH CHRISTOPHER L. TRITICO We look forward to working with the bench and the prosecutorial bar to build a system that works even
better for the people of our county than it did before the storm.
MARK R. THIESSEN T.B. TODD DUPONT, II
J. JULIO VELA CARMEN M. ROE
JOE VINAS JOANNE MUSICK HOUSTON STRONG!!
SARAH V. WOOD
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THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
Spring turns to love, and the When is a win not NG? When Lloyd van Oostenrijk
gets a misdemeanor theft lesser included offense, time
State thought it had a whale, but Sam Gardner and
Alvin Nunnery put their faith in the jury, and heard NG
Matt Sharp and Max Rabinovich got a 25 minute NG
in CCCL15 on Solicitation of Prostitution and UCW. Just
membership found the power of served on an enhanced BoB for D with 12 felony priors for murder in DC248. CW was high and tossed a brick wondering about the “weapon” and the things happening
in Galveston! Lloyd followed up with a mistrial on DWI through the windshield of D’s car. D called the cops and on the 11th floor of HCCJC…
love in many unique cases… in FBCCL5 when State blurted out in front of the jury waited for them to arrive. D was convicted of Criminally ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• problems with the redacted video. Lloyd needs to change Negligent Homicide, with 15 months back time. Tiffany Hill scored the NG on DWI in CCCL1, despite
Shannon Baldwin got the 2 word verdict on ASA in his last name if he’s going to keep racking up the wins – •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• alcohol and marihuana being present in D’s blood.
DC262. D was falsely accused of beating up and raping a spellcheck is going crazy! SCOTUS ruled unanimously Texas must use medical ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
prostitute, even though DNA excluded D. D suffered the •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• standards to determine intellectual disability, not fictional Wade Smith and Justin Harris heard NG on a noise
further indignity of having his penis photographed and Dan Krieger and Colm Keane got a 10 minute NG in characters in John Steinbeck novels. Congratulations violation. D owns a Midtown bar, and the neighbors
shown to jury for, ahem, identification purposes. CCCL3. D charged with giving a massage without a to Pat McCann for developing an intellectually honest apparently do not care for Katrina and Waves, I Touch
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• license. Despite a month long surveillance, vice could not record in DC185. Myself.
Kyle Sampson got a reversal out of COA1 on an come up with a single witness who got a massage from D. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Assault out of DC179. Kyle thanks trial lawyer Double K followed up with NG in CCCL10 on AFV by Jason Luong, on his first appeal, got a reversal in COA1 Alan Macias scored the NG in CCCL16 on theft.
Jason Lawrence for preserving error on hearsay and showing CW’s cray cray text messages, whom D met on of D’s conviction in CCCL2 for AFV. Jason was the trial ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
confrontation on 911 call. an internet dating site. D should probably have chosen the attorney and objected on hearsay and confrontation. Alli Cannon and Tyler Flood emerged victorious after
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• profile for an antique dealer stranded in Ghana. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• CCCL8 granted MTS on DWI.
The times are a changin’ at HCDAO, and HCCLA •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Patti Sedita won at COA14 in a published opinion a ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Member of the Year, Paul Morgan, was able to get Kerri Donica Anderson heard the sweetest 2 words in the murder transfer to CDC from juvenile court failed to make It is important to get immigration counsel involved early.
his true habitual D time served in DC184. Seems ADA courthouse on Sexual Assault in Corsicana. Seems there appropriate findings. CCA denied State’s PDR. D had an immigration hold and AFV pending in CCCL14.
spoke to multiple witnesses together after The Rule was was birthday party, every witness admitted not being sober, •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• After 5 months, Mark got a dismissal and D was transferred
invoked. ADA owned it, witness did not. Paul thanks and jury did not buy CW was too drunk not to consent. Sometimes, trial is about punishment. Alexander to immigration custody. Mana Yegani was able to get
Emily Detoto and Jay Cohen for their assistance. D’s entire family attended throughout the trial and wept Houthuijzen and Brandon Roy convinced the jury to deportation canceled, and D is now home with family!
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• as the verdict was read. Kerri is based in Corsicana, and give D probation on Agg Robbery, where co-D died in the ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
With a jury in the box, and MTS carried with trial, a TCDLA VP, but Kerri credits the HCCLA listserv for criminal episode, in DC174. What is it with you guys with Faced with tearing and DNA evidence, Doug Atkinson
Joe Varela poked so many holes in the case the State coming to her aid during trial. difficult last names beating the offer? and Brian Burns walked D 25 minutes after the jury got
dismissed before DC232 could rule. D, a true habitual, •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• the case on CSA in DC221. Doug followed up with NG on
walked. Many calculations mean victory; few calculations Brandon Ball got a DV in FBCCL5 on DWLI and NG An incomplete investigation, CW recantation, and Cynthia .16 DWI2 in Montgomery County.
mean no victory; then how much worse when there are no on Prohibited Weapon. State never brought anyone from Henley walked D on AFV. Contrary to popular rumor, no ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
calculations? – Sun Tzu. DPS to show the license was suspended, and cops took 3 kale was harmed in this trial. Incriminating text messages could not stop Julio Vela and
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• searches before finding brass knuckles. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Ricardo Loredo from hearing NG in CCCL11 in criminal
Mark Bennett and Lane Haygood headed out to West •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Joseph R. Willie II is dogged. Joseph went down to mischief. CW and D have a lover’s quarrel. Overnight,
Texas and scored the NG in DC441 on a solicitation of James Fletcher got a 40 minute NG on DWI2 in CCCL Jackson County for D charged with Interference with CW’s car is vandalized, because love is not looking in the
a minor. D was acting as matchmaker in a high school 10. D’s .07 blood draw came over 2 hours after D was Public Duties, Assault, and Resisting x2. MTS filed on all rearview mirror, and D sends messages asking about car
same sex inquiry. CW admitted knowing the real party found asleep at a stoplight, and the court suppressed the charges, and it takes years to get a hearing. State dismissed windows.
in interest on Mark’s cross, and real party in interest had presence of marihuana in D’s blood. before MTS hearing. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
made a pass at CW. Real party in interest is called by the •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Dan Richardson walked D on a .26 Intoxicated
State and trashes D. Jury saw the truth in under 3 hours, George Jacobs won MTS meth and State dismissed. D Mentor of the Year, Prof. Lydia Johnson, has some really Manslaughter in DC178.
including lunch. There is no truth to the rumor D will be was a true habitual. talented students at TSU’s TMSL Defense Clinic. Timothy ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
hosting a matchmaking show on Bravo. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Adams and Maegan Bradley scored an in trial dismissal In a case of first impression, Daucie Schindler
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Te’iva Bell and Damon Parrish got a mid-trial dismissal on a Prostitution reverse sting in CCCL14. Seems the convinced COA14 amendments to charging instruments
Brett Poldosky and Matt Sharp got a quick NG on AFV for AADW. State never noticed the information alleged the vice officer over objection are subject to harm analysis. Since the
in CCCL2, despite testimony from 2 cops, 2 eyewitnesses, •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• agreed to pay herself for sex – Tim and Maegan did. That amendments in 3 different cases all alleged new offenses,
and CW. Jury agreed this was a setup to cost D his job, get Celeste Blackburn saved D from sex offender registration is taking loving yourself to a whole new level! the case is remanded to CCCL7.
D out of the house, and gain the upper hand in a divorce. when CCA ruled per curiam D got IAC at trial on indecency
in DC232.
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THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
2017 DECLARATION
WELCOME
After being repudiated by the trial court and COA for Mark Hochglaube and Amalia Beckner heard
intentionally causing a mistrial, the State dismissed ASAC the sweetest 2 words in the courthouse on PCS –
charges against D, a doctor, performing a medical exam in a kilo of cocaine, 3 lbs. of marihuana, and 625 mg
R E A D I N G
DC176. Stan Schneider has a very relieved D!
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Winning is sometimes beating the offer. Mark Thiessen
codeine in DC183.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Steve Touchstone got NG on AFV in CCCL12
Special thanks to Doug Murphy for leading this year’s reading,
and Robb Fickman for starting this tradition 8 years ago. NEW HCCLA
wandered over to Williamson County to defend a
decorated vet on charges of Intoxicated Manslaughter and
AADW, where CW1 is a 7 month old fetus and CW2 was
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
D is on parole for murder and squatting in a vacant home
when D picks up an Assault in CCCL3. Marjorie Muniz
Photos by Bob Rosenberg

MEMBERS
also intoxicated. The State only offered time, but Mark was appointed and pedaled up a NG.
convinced the jury probation was appropriate… and there new members
goes spellcheck again…
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Chris Ainsworth Meredith Morse
David Ryan is on a roll. D is on bond for prostitution in

david ryan
Bashirah Clark Frank C. Powell
CCCL11 when cops called by concerned citizen as D is Denise M. Crawford Richard Matthew Quiroz
being dragged into another establishment by her hair. D
Brandy Garcia-Gum Weston Prescott Ray
picks up another prostitution charge because, well, it is Pct.
4. With the jury in the hallway, both cases dismissed. David Jayne Griffin Morgan A. Rogers
then teamed up with Matt Tyson to get a DV on criminal Jasmine Henderson Benjamin K. Sanchez
mischief in FBCCL5 after 40 minutes of testimony and Winning Warriors is written by HCCLA Abel Izaguirre Emily Taylor
without his file. The jury said they had decided D was NG Secretary, David Ryan (2015-present). David Tim James Matt Tyson
after opening statements. has been practicing for 24 years, Mentor of Daniel Alejandro De Luna
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Kurt Hopke and Jason Lawrence wanted in on the DV the Year 2013-2015 (ret.), Member of the Year
fun, and got it in FBCCL1 on AFV. CW files ANP and 2016, HCCLA Board Member 2013-2015, co-
does not appear. Cop fired for showing up drunk at SFST chair of TCDLA Rural Practice, and TCDLA new paralegal members
training. Writ of attachment issued for cop before the Board Member (2013-present). The victories
return of service on subpoena filed. Another writ requested Sharon Bass Katya Ligden
by State for a “willing” 16 year old never noticed to are yours. David provides the snark. Pelton Law Offices Mallett & Saper, LLP
authenticate 911 call. What is going on at FBCDAO?

new student members
CONTINUED : WINNING WARRIORS

Blessing O. Ananti Victor Moya

Did you or anyone you know have success? Kasey Brock Carmen Portillo
Miguel Angel Cazarez Maurice Rice

Your fellow Winning Warriors want to know! Luis O. Cueva
Brandy Douglas
Kaila Monae Roberson
Timothy D. Rose
Marcus Esther Laurel Shedd
We do not check social media for your wins. So There. Ryan Fuller Ieshia Smith
Tonyce Avona Gustave Preston Strickland
Submit the names of the lawyers and a brief description to:
Avery Ray Krushall Sierra Laine Tabone
hcclawinningwarriorscolumn@yahoo.com Amber McCray Tiara Thomas
. Diana Mendoza Lakeshia Walton
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

10

MARK PIRTLE
TORCH OF LIBERTY

DICK DEGUERIN

2017
PHOTOS BY BOB ROSENBERG
SWEARING IN NEW OFFICERS
& BOARD OF DIRECTORS

HCCLA
TYRONE MONCRIFFE
LAWYER OF THE YEAR

BANQUET
CHERYL IRVIN
UNSUNG HERO

ALLEN C. ISBELL
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

ROBERT ALTON JONES CLYDE HILL WILLIAMS
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

PAUL MORGAN
MEMBER OF THE YEAR

MANA YEGANI
UNSUNG HERO PROFESSOR LYDIA JOHNSON
& STUDENTS
MENTOR OF THE YEAR

RAND MINTZER
PRESIDENT’S AWARD

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
11
The Serpent
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THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
& the Light
He wasn’t born Andrew Zamora; instead, his young
WRITTEN BY TRINIDAD ZAMORA AND RICK OLIVER

the Army took them nearly everywhere else. Many of
parents named him Trinidad, after his father. But, six Trinidad’s formative years were spent in Killeen, near
weeks later the fear of a first-generation grandmother Fort Hood, but his parents divorced when he was eleven.
convinced his parents to Anglicize his name. Fifteen Soon after, the Army bivouacked his father abroad. His
years after that, “Andy” saw his birth certificate. He mother remained in Killeen and opened a small store
felt betrayed. It was an affront to the ethos that guided called Xpressions Lingerie and Boutique, where they sold
him even then: to thine own self be true. He’d been dresses, undergarments, lingerie, costumes, and a variety
living a lie of someone else’s making. He sought the of novelty items seldom discussed in mixed company.
truth—his truth—from within; he’s been Trinidad It was there, selling underwear and the accoutrement of
Zamora ever since. licentiousness that Trinidad first came to realize a useful
truth: people and things are not always what they seem.
Still, he secured his identity long before he identified his
destiny. Trinidad didn’t grow up thinking one day he’d It was the genesis of a theme that wouldn’t reach maturity
become an attorney. He didn’t organize his early life and for several years. In the interim, he left home just after
affairs as though entering this profession were even a turning seventeen. He got two jobs, an ’87 Camaro, and
consideration; that he would one day become a criminal a one-room efficiency he rented for one hundred dollars a
defense lawyer might have been providence. After all, he month. A window-mounted air conditioning unit blocked
was born on April Fool’s Day in a place called Defiance. the view through his apartment’s only window. He could
cook or he could refrigerate, but he couldn’t do both at
Before joining the Army, Trinidad’s father, Junior, was the same time. The electrical system simply couldn’t
a migrant farmer. That’s what handle that much current, so, to use the Hot Plate, he had
took him to Defiance, to unplug the refrigerator. He had neighbors, at least—
CONTINUED : REMEMBERING RICK JOHNSON

Ohio—where he met an old recluse on one side and a prostitute on the
Trinidad’s mother other. And when she told him she was having
and where company, it was a warning; not an invitation.
Trinidad was None of that mattered, though,
born. After because that little
his father place was his. It
enlisted, was another
one of the
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THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
themes that would come to define him: he is who he is. over its teeth and into its maw, and descended into the fellow officers: care,
And, regardless of whether there’s lace or aluminum foil belly of the beast—the Texas Department of Criminal custody, and control
on the windows, he finds his place, and he owns that, too. Justice—Institutional Division—where he would persist had to be maintained.
for the next fifteen years. There are no niceties
In 1990, Trinidad graduated from high school. He in prison. If an inmate
bounced around in-between McAllen and Killeen until He arrived on the Dolph Briscoe Unit in Dilley, Texas Incredibly, that crucible
is still breathing, of violence taught
1994. During that time, he hawked pasta bowls and bread on February 21, 1995. It housed around 1,300 inmates he’s still part of the
sticks at an Olive Garden. He was married a short while. and had a compliment of about 40 corrections officers him more than simple
count. Armed with aggression. Prison is a
He worked the mic for a girl’s Shave Cream Wrestling to man its gates and pickets. After four or five days of a pistol and riot
Troupe. He thought about becoming a nurse, but none laughably inadequate on-the-job training, his formal stark world of action and
batons, Trinidad consequence. The allure
of it resonated. It was fun, and it was easy, but he was prison education began in earnest. Ironically, some of the and two other CO’s
searching for something more definitive. His path. His most dangerous men and women in Texas were the ones of the action had brought
stood guard over him there, but the
way. His light. who’d be delivering most of the lessons. And, they didn’t the gravely injured man
give lectures. ability to avoid violent
He was his father’s namesake, and he wanted to make to ensure no one—including the inmate’s desperately consequence is among
him proud. He admired the discipline and structure of the On March 7, less than a month after arriving at the worried family—interfered with their care, custody, and the tools he acquired
military. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, but prison, near-constant tension between black and Hispanic control over him. What was embedded into Trinidad’s while inside that ultimately propelled his departure. In
his father asked that he find another way—the military inmates erupted in an 800-man race riot. Dangerously DNA that day was a simple but valuable lesson: prison a twist of fate as ironic as the circumstances of his birth,
was no longer the institution he’d once known and loved outnumbered, prison staff simply monitored the roiling reduces a person to a unit of inventory, and none of their the wise words that would become a personal credo for
and respected. Trinidad acquiesced, but the decision masses until backup arrived. Within hours, officers with inventory is for sale. Trinidad came from the mouth of an old Convict. He was
haunted him. the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Over the years, Trinidad rose through the ranks of still in the earliest stages of his prison career when the
Rangers were able to establish a perimeter. Several of the prison system. To advance his career, he pursued subject of survival arose.
In 1994, the jaws of destiny yawned open. A friend— them were equipped with a riot weapon—the Golden
Jam Pony —regaled Trinidad with prison stories and and obtained a degree in criminal justice from a
Eagle—that operated like a flamethrower. However, correspondence school. By 2003, he was a Major. At
The old Con asked, “You know how you
the guards that manned the pickets. It had a paramilitary
structure. It was intense. It was dangerous. And they were
instead of fire, its ordinance was CS gas. With their every step, the horrors of life inside were manifest, gonna survive in here?”
weapons held to high port, officers quickly extinguished with casualties counted on both sides. During his time
hiring. Within days he was enrolled in the Correctional the fight. For Trinidad, nothing about the fight or its Trinidad waited.
Academy at Central Texas College, but he wouldn’t see with TDCJ, he witnessed the senseless violence of one
ending was particularly enlightening. It wasn’t until inmate stabbing another with a pencil, before breaking
the inside of a prison unit until just before completing the later that day that a one-dimensional paper-policy— The man said, “Keep your word.” Then, he
ten-week program. it off inside him. He felt the rush of adrenaline suddenly
previously discussed in the safety of a classroom— extinguished, as he crossed the threshold of a tier at full leaned in and looked at Trinidad pointedly
Before receiving their certificates, Trinidad’s class took would be embedded into his DNA through the ruthlessness gallop before being knocked unconscious by an inmate and said, “Loyalty is the Serpent; integrity is
a field trip to the Hughes Unit in Gatesville. There, they of experience. wielding a mop handle. He saw an inmate murder the Light.”
were treated to more than just the guided tour. That day, After the riot, Trinidad was part of a small team sent to a guard over a peanut butter sandwich. He has seen a
a violent inmate assault brought ambulances screaming the hospital to guard one of the inmates injured in the man descend into insanity—driving his shins into metal Initially, Trinidad found the remark to be largely
onto the unit. Trinidad could recall CO’s shouting in terse melee. The man’s injuries were serious. During the fracas, shelving to draw blood—so he could glide side-to-side platitudinal. After all, in prison, oral pronouncements
CONTINUED : THE SERPENT AND THE LIGHT

staccato across the airwaves as inmates watching the another inmate had bashed his head using a concrete in his cell on the blood pooling beneath him. He has cut were little more than a way to kill time. Words meant
fight went berserk with bloodlust. When he returned to block. The swelling was so extreme the string to release the recently departed as they dangled little. Action was the only teacher whose lessons were
class the following day, Trinidad was surprised to learn he was unrecognizable. from hand-made garrotes. He has notified the families of truly compelling. In time, though, those words
the experience was enough to encourage some of his He’d lost all his teeth. He two colleagues who committed suicide on the same day would define a circumstance that would
classmates to pursue alternative educational endeavors. was incapacitated. But, he for unrelated reasons. He has broken ribs in his effort to change Trinidad’s perspective, and later,
Several of them washed-out, but not Trinidad. Indeed, he was still breathing. And, deliver life-saving chest compressions. He has made the his life.
admitted he found the “action” alluring. Inside, there was as a TDCJ employee, that charge with other officers to extract inmates who’d set
a caged and constant bellicosity no other Before he was promoted to Sergeant,
meant only one thing fire to their mattresses so they could force the officers to Trinidad recalled being on the tier with
law enforcement beat could to Trinidad engage them. For fifteen years, his employment created
match. A short time another CO. The CO was involved in
and his an intersection forcing him to cross paths and mingle a verbal altercation with a c o n v i c t .
later, Trinidad— with more people who have lost everything than most.
newly-minted Trinidad overheard
What it taught him is how far those with nothing to lose the CO threaten the
corrections are willing to go.
officer— convict. The convict
stepped responded in like-
16 17
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
kind fashion. Angry, the CO wrote-up the incident. As his rage bubbled and boiled, the convict leaned into creed spoke to Trinidad, in response. He heard that
In his report, he claimed the convict had threatened the ambient light, flipped the light switch, and calmly voice and told the Warden he wouldn’t lie; not for
him, unprovoked. In prison parlance, the incident was said, “Remember me?” Instinctively, Trinidad bellowed him or any man. That was the beginning of the end
considered a “Major Case.” Such incidents are the kind at the picket to “Roll this motherfucking door!” But, of Trinidad’s career with TDCJ—ID.
of thing that can cost a convict dearly. A conviction could before the gears could engage to trundle the cell door
bring a variety of sanctions, including a parole set-off, open, the man leaned his forearms on the bars and began On July 21, 2009, Major Trinidad Zamora received
which could delay a man’s release from prison for two or speaking in a perfectly reasonably tone that caught notice of his immediate termination. The allegations
even three years. After the report was submitted, a hearing Trinidad off-guard. He began to listen. The Convict said, were as ridiculous as they were trumped-up. The
Warden—through TDCJ—claimed Trinidad was handle, and they hadn’t
was set. The CO identified Trinidad as a witness. He was “It’s only water.” Trinidad felt the water beading on the dressed him down; instead,
called to testify at the hearing. When the Disciplinary blouse of his starched uniform and immediately felt terminated for “substandard duty performance.” The
substance of the allegation was that Trinidad had failed to they employed Ivory Tower rhetoric and used numbered
Captain asked Trinidad to recount his memory of the relief. The Convict had only wanted to get his attention. statutes to destroy his career. It was a language he didn’t
event, he lied. He wanted to support his CO. He wanted The Convict continued, “I been waiting for this day. I properly maintain “recreation participation records,” and
that he hadn’t posted “Safe Prisons Program” posters on yet speak, so he decided to learn.
to be loyal. The inmate was convicted and his parole was know you’re mad, but I want you to listen to me. I want
set-off. It would be three long years before they would you to remember me. I’m still here because of that day. the wall, as ordered. Initially, the allegations were raised First, Trinidad had to figure out how people became
meet again. I didn’t get to go home because of that day.” Suddenly, in a single complaint. The Warden offered to dismiss the lawyers. In truth, his formal education had ended in
Trinidad remembered, and just as suddenly as it had complaint if Trinidad would accept a demotion and agree 1990. All he could recall learning from his enrollment
The day he was promoted to Lieutenant, Trinidad was on risen, his anger fell away. In a moment of epiphany, the to be transferred to another prison facility. Without the in correspondence school was that a person could earn a
the tier to address a problem inmate. He’d been informed words of an old Con echoed in his ears. need for further reflection, Trinidad said simply, “If you degree by mail. An image flashed in his mind. He recalled
the inmate wouldn’t turn his lights on and wouldn’t leave want these fuckin’ Oak Leaf, you’re gonna have to come seeing a banner on the side of a school, advertising its
his cell. Convicts were conditioned to expect a shakedown Loyalty is the Serpent; integrity is the Light. and take them.” And that’s exactly what the Warden did. program for Paralegals. He didn’t want to be a Paralegal.
of their cells on a bi-monthly basis. They knew how He wanted to be a lawyer, but his TDCJ management
many; they just didn’t know when. Trinidad’s plan was to That moment changed his life. He left the tier that day The Warden re-filed the allegations as two separate
without further incident. The picket never did “roll [that] disciplinary complaints. As a result, Trinidad was fired, experience had also taught him that the assistants were
simply reason with whoever was lurking in the shadows typically more informed than their bosses. Within two
of that particular cell. He couldn’t see the man through motherfucking door.” There was no retaliation against but as hard as integrity is to have, it’s even harder to
the inmate; no exacting of revenge. He didn’t even write relinquish. On March 22, 2010, Trinidad decided to weeks, he was enrolled in the Paralegal program at Alvin
the metal and the bars. He controlled his tone and spoke Community College. He hoped whatever knowledge he
reasonably. There was going to be a shakedown. They him up; instead, he simply internalized and appreciated fight back. He filed an appeal with the Texas Workforce
the wisdom he gained from it. He moved on, a better Commission; perhaps a sub-conscious echo of his future gleaned from that program would ease the transition into
were going to find whatever there was to find. There was law school, but first, he had to get into law school.
no need for violence. Suddenly, Trinidad was doused man for it. Those words became a creed he employed path. During the appeals process, he alleged TDCJ had
with a liquid substance. Inmates referred to this practice when training his men. He would ask them, “What pays filed false disciplinary actions against him and that he Trinidad signed up for and took the LSAT. When he
as “dressing down” an officer. In five years, Trinidad the bills? Loyalty or Integrity?” He would then explain had received disparate treatment than that of similarly received the results, he applied to every law school
had never been dressed down, but he was keenly aware the difference through his experience. That creed is what situated employees. The battle would rage for an entire in Texas. Every single school denied his application.
of its particulars. Most often, inmates hurled urine at propelled him to the rank of Major, and when that creed year. Finally, on July 20, 2010, the Texas Workforce Undeterred, he signed up for and took the LSAT again.
officers they wanted to dress down; however, urine was was once again tested, it is what propelled him up and out Commission ruled in Trinidad’s favor. In its conclusions, For a second time, he applied to every law school in
not the only bullet in the inmate bandolier, so to speak. of TDCJ and back into the world. the TWC noted the actions of TDCJ “amounted to a Texas. Once again, no law school admitted him. Still, he
Occasionally, inmates would concoct a mixture of urine retaliation against the claimant for the exercise of the refused to give up. He heard news of a law school forum
In September 2008, Hurricane Ike laid waste to much of
CONTINUED : THE SERPENT AND THE LIGHT

and fecal matter, boil it on their hot pot, and use that rights given to him by the employer’s policies.” that was being held in a convention center in the Galleria
the Gulf Coast. In the aftermath, Trinidad was tasked with
steaming virulence to dress an officer down; hoping it delivering a busload of pregnant convicts to the hospital Trinidad had won, but it was a pyrrhic victory. He was area. He went. The convention center floor was lined with
would both disgust and infect. Those at UTMB. While there, he got a call from the Warden still unemployed. He went to the beach to smoke and rows of booths. Each booth represented a different law
were the possibilities that went of his unit. The Warden explained he had a home on think. He thought about all that had happened over the school and each was manned by a school representative.
racing through Galveston that had been severely damaged by the storm course of that year. He lost his kids when they moved In the final row, Trinidad recalled seeing someone who,
Trinidad’s and admitted he had left the unit and gone home to assess with their mother to Colorado. He lost his possessions somehow, was almost his reflection. He walked over and
mind as that the damage. The Warden knew he could get in trouble if in the flood waters of Hurricane Ike. He lost his career struck up a conversation with the representative from
rogue wave his unexcused absence from the unit were discovered, so because he refused to lose his integrity. He lost his house the Phoenix School of Law. The culmination of that
of liquid he asked if Trinidad would vouch for him. He asked if when he lost his job. He was lost. discussion was the beginning of Trinidad’s legal career.
doused Trinidad would be loyal; he asked if
him. As he sat perched atop the Seawall—the dust beginning In “The Tempest,” Shakespeare penned the oft-quoted
Trinidad would lie. A familiar line, “What’s past is prologue.” Both the title and the line
to settle over a ruined career—Trinidad contemplated law
school for the first time. At the time, he said he wanted to are a propos to Trinidad’s experience. Today, the tragedies
figure out how TDCJ had been able to get him. He had cut and triumphs Trinidad experienced during his time as an
them, but they had won. They hadn’t used a shank or mop officer of the TDCJ are among the shadows that dance
on the walls as he meets with every potential new client.
18 19
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
Most of the rest of us come into this profession and
are forced to consider the risks our clients face in the
abstract. Few, if any, of us, started there. Fewer still
were Majors.
A New Model of Jury Trial
Trinidad lived in the belly of the beast for fifteen years,
and on his way out, he kicked out its two front teeth.
PART II — WHY & WHEN
As it turned out, a criminal defense lawyer really was by Mark W. Bennett
born on April Fool’s Day in a place called Defiance.
---------------------------------
Why do I call the new model of jury trial “The Bayesian A few jurors likely enter the courtroom having decided
1 Yes, you read that correctly—his buddy’s nickname is Jam Pony.
Model”? whether they are going to acquit or convict our clients,
but at that point they don’t even know what the accusation
“Bayesian” refers to Bayes’s theorem of probability, is, so they haven’t been required to reach a belief, and
which is (very roughly) that when we are determining not having been required to reach a belief, they probably
the likelihood of an event, we can take into account prior have not.
knowledge of conditions that might be related to the
event, and so more accurately predict the event. A few jurors might follow their instructions and wait till
deliberations to make up their minds, but our minds do
While the Classical model of human cognition is that the not like open loops — here, unanswered questions.
brain collects data and forms a theory based on those data
(what we tell juries to do). The Bayesian model is that
the brain “has a theory about what is going on around it,
and evidence is gathered to shore up that theory”i (what LOOP THEORY
jurors — and therefore juries — really do). The brain dedicates attention to open loops; once the
Of course, nobody knows what happens inside the human loop is closed, we no longer need to pay attention to it,
and we can pay attention to other things. The scientific

RICK OLIVER
brain, but the Bayesian Model has proven superior to
other models in artificial intelligence. That is, Bayesian term for this is the Zeigarnik Effect.
programs better replicate our thinking than other Attention requires energy. Because open loops take more
approaches, and the test of a model is its usefulness, attention and closed loops take less, and our lazy brains
About the author: Rick Oliver is a criminal trial
which makes the Bayesian Model the current winner. It prefer to expend as little energy as possible, we tend to
and appellate lawyer. In 2016, Rick was certified doesn’t matter whether it is the literal truth, as long as it move from open loops to closed loops, and not from
by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in works better than the other models. closed loops to open loops. Picture open-loop states as
Criminal Law. He applied for board certification mountains, and closed-loop states as valleys. It takes no
CONTINUED : THE SERPENT AND THE LIGHT

less than 7 years after being licensed, having energy to go from open loop to closed loop, and a lot of
never worked under another attorney or as an WHEN DO JURORS DECIDE? energy to go from closed loop to open. I call this Loop
assistant district attorney, and without relying on Theory.
In the context of a jury trial, “prior knowledge of
a single court appointment in order to meet the conditions” includes beliefs, which may not be trueii I talked in Part I about cognitive biases; Loop Theory
application requirements. He is a 2007 graduate of So it’s important to know when jurors decide whether accounts for all of those observed cognitive biases. The
South Texas College of Law and has been a solo they are going to find our clients guilty or not. Some Bayesian Model, Loop Theory, and cognitive biases are
practitioner since 2008. In 2000, Rick received a
possibilities are: different ways of describing the same phenomenon of
people making up their minds early and then interpreting
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration After considering all of the evidence (as the court the evidence to support their beliefs.iii
from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He instructs them);
completed his graduate-level coursework the At some random point between opening statement and
following year and received a Master of Science jury deliberation;
degree in Accounting. His articles have been
At the end of opening statements;
published in the Voice and The Defender. He is
a member of TCDLA, HCCLA, MCCDLA, NACDL, At some point in jury selection; and
NCDD, and DUIDLA. He lives in Humble with his Before coming to court.
wife and two children.
20 21
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
and now...

A Word from
LOOP THEORY IN TRIAL It is evidence that is:
a Court Reporter
by Tiffani June-Yeates
In the case of a jury trial, “moving from open loop to Dispositive;
closed loop” would be “moving from not having a belief
about the defendant’s guilt to having a belief about the Incontrovertible; and
Attorneys, to refer to the potential jurors by number. Also, every
defendant’s guilt.” So according to Loop Theory, jurors’ Unforeseen. word counts in your page count, so using names
minds tend to look for the earliest opportunity to close Your first trial – like many of life’s other firsts – is both instead of numbers will limit pages you have to pay for
the culpability loop. If you or the State has primed the jury to expect the exciting and frightening. It takes years to perfect your upon appeal.
evidence, it is not unforeseen. If other evidence contradicts craft. As “seasoned” court reporters (ahem, not old), we
An opportunity to close that particular loop might not the unforeseen evidence, it is not incontrovertible. And recognize this. We, too, also take our job as the “keeper Let’s face it, voir dire is one of the hardest parts of the
come before trial begins, but for most jurors it will come if the story of the party whom the evidence seems to of the record” very seriously, and we understand that our record because of the freedom that is given the attorneys
by the end of opening statements. The rare juror who gets disfavor still makes sense in light of the unforeseen role is vital to the overall litigation process. as well as the jury panel. We as court reporters have lots
through opening statements without reaching a decision incontrovertible evidence, it is not dispositive. To have of briefs (shortcuts for words and phrases), but we do not
is probably going to listen to all of the evidence before the energy to move jurors from closed loop to open loop, So, this is one court reporter’s viewpoint on making a have briefs for a jury panel list of names. We will have a
court transcript. Listed are some of our pet peeves in
CONTINUED : A NEW MODEL OF JURY TRIAL: PART II: WHY & WHEN

deciding. the evidence must be unforeseen, incontrovertible, and brief for “Juror No. __” or “Venireperson “ programmed
dispositive. addition to hints.i for ease of transcription.
Most jurors are going to reach a decision about the
guilt of the defendant by the end of the parties opening So … VOIR DIRE Please, we beg of you, let us use our “Juror No. ____” or
statements. Once they have reached a decision (closed “Venireperson ” brief and our number bank to help us not
the loop) they require a lot of energy to reopen it. In a If only shifts in credibility and blockbuster evidence will I’ve noticed a trend among lawyers to see if you can
memorize the jury panel, but please leave this “trick” for be anxious and have a clean, real-time feed just in case of
jury trial, there are two things that can accomplish this change jurors’ decisions made by the end of opening read-back or our transcription time. So please and thank
and get jurors to revise their initial decision. statements, what is the point of the rest of the trial? And the family gatherings and/or social events.
you, numbers only.
how can the trial lawyer best exploit this model of the
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and been seated at
jury trial to get sweet two-word verdicts for her client? The second pet peeve concerning voir dire: when
a 10-person table, and the waiter did not bring a piece
TWO THINGS MAY REOPEN THE LOOP of paper or pen to write everyone’s order down? They addressing a juror, make them raise their number card,
Tune in next issue. and YOU SAY THEIR NUMBER for the record. Just
promise everyone, “Don’t worry. I won’t forget your
The first thing that can reopen the loop is a shift in --------------------------------- because a juror raises their card, that doesn’t mean I, as
order.” But inevitably they do. Well, it is the same
credibility. We are social creatures, and credibility is very the court reporter, have the right to put it in the record.
i Scientific American, Faster than the Speed of Vision, letdown when you do not get it right for an hour in front
important to us — more important to us than factuality. You, as the attorney, have to verbally say it.
December 14, 2016 of your jury panel.
If a juror has decided in favor of one side and that side
suddenly loses credibility, the juror may revise her ii So not really knowledge because we cannot know things From the record standpoint, Here is an example of what it needs to look like:
decision in favor of the other side. In a jury trial, the that aren’t true. when you have an appeal EXAMPLE 2
credibility of the side is the credibility of the lawyer. So if iii Score another one for the model. and you are going over
you do something to lose credibility in trial, you can lose the voir dire portion, VENIREPERSON: I have a question.
jurors. If you can undercut your adversary’s credibility, it is much cleaner MR. ATTORNEY: Yes, Juror No. 3?
however, you can bring jurors from his side to yours.
The second thing that can reopen the loop is blockbuster
evidence. Blockbuster evidence in this context has a
mark bennett
Mark Bennett is an improviser, writer, and
for you (and
appellate
review)
EXAMPLE 2
MS. ATTORNEY: Juror No. 4, can you agree to be a fair
technical meaning.
hypnotist who dabbles in lawyering, with a and impartial juror in this case?
focus on criminal law (he’s Board Certified VENIREPERSON: Yes, but I wanted to say my dad was
in that), appeals, and free speech. in a DWI car accident where the driver was over the legal
limit. I might have some bias.
22 23
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
So if the attorney had this in the voir dire, and the juror NOTICED by the Judge, juries, and opponents. proofed and sent out the door with beginning and ending
was put on the panel (God forbid), this could be grounds pages that take a substantial amount of time to prepare.
for appellate review, but if that number wasn’t included A common court reporter pet peeve is when the trial is in A good rule of thumb: for every one hour on the record,
in the record, it would just be VENIREPERSON, and full speed with the court reporter writing down testimony it will take three hours to push out to a finished transcript.
you (or the appellate lawyer) could not identify who that on her machine, and then an attorney waives a piece of
comment came from. I’ve seen lots of appeals won from paper in front of the reporter’s face wanting her to “mark BREAKS
voir dire panel selections. Make sure you identify ALL your exhibit” when this could have already be done
before trial. Court reporters need a break about every hour and
of your perspective jurors in a way as to preserve your a half. Our brains need to just take about five or ten
record for later review. It is a sign of not being prepared for your trial day and minutes to rest.
most important, your client’s day in court. Believe me, if
IN TRIAL we think this, so does a jury and the Judge. ALWAYS PERSERVE THE RECORD
DO NOT CLICK PENS. Court reporters hear sound, Sometimes juries don’t go our way. What could be
not just words. We are very attuned to our environment, MAKING CLEAR CITATIONS OF THE LAW
worse? Undermining and compromising your client’s
including the sounds around us. During any minute of Please speak up and don’t look down to speak because appeal because you didn’t preserve the record.
the trial, we are typing at speeds of 240 in our head that you are reading from the document.
consist of 2 or 3 people talking, sometimes all at once. I have said this to many “new” attorneys: “You are in two
So can you guess what could disrupt that train of thought? Nothing is more important than being heard when trials today. You are not just having a trial and making a
You guessed it, a CLICKING sound! This is just one YOU AND YOUR CLIENT need a good record, record today, you are making one for future review, your
nervous habit that is disruptive to court proceedings. so when citing law or reading from a transcript, appellate record, so make it look good on paper for the
I have even had judges warn against clicking your pens stand and PROJECT your voice to the Bench. judges down the street.”
because it disrupts their train of thought too. Read slowly and concisely when citing things for the
record. There is no rush; this isn’t a marathon for speed WE ARE NOT BEING “MEAN” TO YOU
OBJECTIONS readers. Let everyone enjoy the work you put in all those
late nights when you were searching for law to recite to Please understand that ANY request made by your court
Have you ever wondered why it was mandatory for the Court. reporter is for the purpose of acquiring the cleanest
attorneys to stand when addressing the court for an possible record for you, your client, and the appellate
objection? Aside from the respect you give to the Bench In fact, the faster you read, the more it becomes clear on review.
and the Court, the practical matter is that you want the how nervous you are, and that translates to you not being
attention to be on what you are preparing to say in the sure of what you are saying, or at least, that is what it We, as court reporters, are here to preserve ALL words
form of an objection, and by standing, you are signaling appears to be. spoken in court for that day. That is our job, which dates
CONTINUED : AND NOW...A WORD FROM A COURT REPORTER

the witness to stop speaking, for the Judge to take notice, back millenia to when court reporters were scribes with
and for the court reporter to HEAR what you are about to The key to courtroom savvy is confidence. One way of scrolls of papyrus and ink. Not much has changed in the
put into the official court transcript. projecting that confidence is a slow, concise recitation work we do today, except now we use state-of-the-art
of your opinions of what the law should be. When this technology; the written word is alive and timeless.
BIG THINGS HAPPEN in that 2-3 minute exchange standard is adhered to, a clean and usable record is
of opinions and chaos of voices. Court reporters need created, and that is the goal. Plus, in your record, we will ---------------------------------
attorneys to stand, wait 2-3 seconds, object slowly, and need to look up all that law you recite, and we do not i …Which will vary from reporter to reporter
speak clearly to the Judge so that your voice projects. want to spend hours looking for things that “sound like”
ii Depending on the volume of pages, more notice may be needed.
Following this protocol will keep your record clear, what it should be. Finally, it is always good practice to
clean, and precise. carry in the paper copies of the law you recite into the
record. Please and thank you in advance.

Come and see me in
Unfortunately, nervousness or emotions often cause a
breakdown in the one-at-a-time scenario, which can result ORDERING A RECORD
in a sloppy record and an incredibly stressed court reporter.
Do not wait to order your record until the week or even
Remember: two weeks before the deadline. Of course, there are County Criminal Court at Law No. 8!
One thing at a time followed by one thing at a time. exceptions to every rule, but I cannot tell you how many
times I have had to say “no” because the timing was off
The court reporters’ collective goal is that each case and the record could not be produced by that date.
before us has a clear, useable, and succinct record of the
proceedings. To achieve this, everyone in that courtroom Just like you, court reporters are people with lives and
must participate. children and deadlines, so please be courteous and
cognizant of when you will need your transcript and have
EXHIBITS it ordered at least two weeks in advance of the hearing.ii
Be prepared. It is an old Boy Scout rule, but having your We are not machines, and it does take time to get a
exhibits pre-marked is a sign of preparedness that is transcript out, even with clean real-time. It must be
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THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
HEROES OF HARVEY BY CHRI STIN A APPEL T
HURRICANE HARVEY WREAKED HAVOC ON OUR CITY. 30,000 CITIZENS SUDDENLY BECAME HOMELESS,
THOUSANDS MORE SUFFERED SEVERE FLOOD DAMAGE TO THEIR VEHICLES, HOMES AND OFFICES.

E
HCCLA MEMBERS JUMPED INTO ACTION RIGHT AWAY -- SOME RISKING THEIR LIVES IN HORRIBL
CONDITIONS AS FIRST RESPONDERS TO RESCUE EVACUEES AND PETS IN PRIVATE BOATS, WHILE
OTHERS DELIVERED FOOD AND SUPPLIES TO RESCUE WORKERS. MANY PUT THEMSELVES IN HARM’S
WAY FAR FROM HOME TO ROCKPORT, PORT LAVACA, BEAUMONT AND OTHER DISASTER AREAS.

--
MEMBERS WASTED NO TIME IN REPAIRING AND REBUILDING OUR COMMUNITY AFTER THE STORM
CLEANIN G, HANDING OUT
COLLECTING AND DONATING ITEMS, VOLUNTEERING AT SHELTERS - COOKING,
SUPPLIES, OR ASSISTING FLOOD VICTIMS WITH FEMA FORMS.

MANY RUSHED TO FLOODED HOMES WITH TOOL BELTS -- TEARING OUT SHEETROCK, CARPETS,
CABINETS, APPLIANCES; MOVING DEBRIS AND FURNITURE TO THE CURB; AND CLEANING UP THE MESS.

IN AN INSTANT, LAWYERS BECAME FIRST RESPONDERS, CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, PLUMBERS,
CLEANING CREWS, AND COOKS. NEARLY EVERY MEMBER CONTRIBUTED IN SOME WAY TO POST-HARVEY
EFFORTS BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT DEFENSE LAWYERS DO: THEY HELP PEOPLE GET THROUGH THE
WORST AND MOST DIFFICULT TIMES IN THEIR LIVES.
26 27
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
This is not a mental health article, and it is not designed
for the health care provider. It is designed for busy
lawyers who deal with a disabled population in their
practices and is only to give them an orientation and a
practical way to cope with the problems these particular
clients face in an indifferent criminal injustice system.
About fifty years ago, a study of inmates across the
country found that almost ten percent of the persons in Allow me to also offer a small tidbit here - the Diagnostic
state prisons had tested intelligence levels of 70 points and Statistical Manual version V [the mental health
or less. A score of 100 is the average normal score. This professional’s handbook]i makes it clear that there is
information is based upon actual prison records kept by nothing to prevent a person who is diagnosable disabled
the institutions back then. This was (to put it mildly) a from having additional conditions, such as a mental
low count. Many states did not test their inmates back illness like depression or bi-polar disorder. There is
in 1969; the states that did test inmates often used an also nothing to prevent drug abuse from co-existing
abbreviated form of the standard IQ tests that were more alongside a person with such intellectual deficits. This is
called “co-morbidity”, and the main concern in DSM V

WHY THE INTELLECTUALLY
of a ballpark estimate since the abbreviated tests tended
to err on the high side of the IQ range. The study also guidance is that a person should not let the presence of
excluded those inmates who were in what psychologists those conditions prohibit the determination of whether a
and psychiatrists call the “margin for error” of five or so person has intellectual disability. It just makes it harder.
points; therefore, if your client went to a Texas prison and

DISABLED ARE SUCH A BIG
We know in a likely practical sense that the proportion of
was tested at 74, he was not included in those numbers. the intellectually disabled in our prison systems is a good
Since IQ was (and remains) a significant indicator of bit higher than that in our general population outside
intellectual disability, this simple study actually showed of prison. We can presume that intellectual disabilities
that the percentage of inmates who were disabled in often go unrecognized from some combination of shame,

PORTION OF OUR INMATES
prison was about ten times higher than the presence in inappropriate testing or lack of it, inadequate resources,
the general population of the United States. and simple indifference in our criminal justice system.
The last count of inmates that TDCJ posted was about In an effort to be fair to the criminal justice system,
156,000 in custody; ten percent of that number means it is often these men [and some women, though the

AND CLIENTS
that about fifteen or so thousand of the inmates directly proportion of intellectually disabled men in prisons
held by TDCJ are eligible for a classification we once appears to be higher] are also let down by a school
called “mentally retarded” but now call “intellectual system that either does not care, wants to avoid labeling
disability” or “developmentally disabled”. Applying that them as intellectually disabled, or is engaged in outright
same logic and calculation to the jails, that would mean “cooking of their own books” to avoid costly special

[AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!] about 1000 or so inmates in the Harris County jail system
are also in that category.
education consequences for the intellectually disabled
segments of their students.

by Pat mccann
28 29
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
Why do these folks wind up in our prisons and jails in ever been arrested can claim that the process seemed them if your client had a favorite boss and simply ask or a parole hearing?
such disproportionate numbers? Well, if one sits down clear and easy to understand. It is fraught with fear and them about the client’s mental and emotional capacity.
over a nice cup of coffee and thinks about it, the answer uncertainty, partly by design, partly by indifference to the Now you know that the intellectually disabled are in
will be plain. First, people with intellectual disabilities fate of those it ensnares. Logically to society, the arrested Once you have identified an intellectually disabled our court system in far higher numbers than you used to
are often protected by their families from a cold and are guilty of something; thus, they merit bad treatment in client, you need to 1) prove he is intellectually disabled; think. You know some ways to identify them and how
cruel world as children and that protection may well the arresting process. If you, the reader, think you would 2) figure out how to get this fact in front of the right to prove it. You have seen some suggestions on how to
vanish once adulthood rolls around. A person with such a have a problem spending just one evening as a guest person who can help in the case; and 3) figure out a use the information to get dismissals, to obtain no bills
disability may do well holding a job or trying to live on of Harris County Jail, being strip searched, de-loused, legal way to let that person do the right thing, if needed. at grand jury, or to prepare a defense at trial. I will leave
their own for a period, outside the warm protection of the forced to shower naked with strangers, and spending a Sometimes, this means giving the prosecutor (a person you with two references not already covered that should
family; however, once a parent passes on or becomes less lovely night sleeping next to a screaming addict coming who works for an elected official) a firm reason or basis be added to everyone’s library or reading list. First: the
physically capable themselves, the disabled individual off a psychotic incident, imagine how fun it must be for for whatever the “right thing” is for your client’s case. treatise Handbook on Intellectual and Developmental
loses one layer of insulation from a cold world. Other a person who suffers from mental retardation/intellectual In step 1, you may already have the records needed to Disabilities on Amazon.com for a reasonable price.
familial difficulties may cause the insulation layer to disability. help you. Intellectual disability is defined as subnormal Second is a website from the American Association for
thin as well – difficulty with siblings, finances, or other intellectual function, two or more deviations below the the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled: http://
unpredictable life events. The intellectually disabled cannot defend themselves norm, and significant adaptive deficits in two or more aaidd.org//. Both of these resources will help you identify,
adequately in this world, so they become the prey of the normal areas of behavior, school, work, social skills, develop, and understand the intellectually disabled client
With less supervision and insulation from the harshness criminal justice system far more quickly and rapidly than etc, all occurring during the developmental period of so that you can help them limit the damage to their lives
of the world, these folks become more involved in the we like to admit. It sometimes falls to us, as lawyers, to a person, i.e. when they are young. For men (since we once the system gets them in its clutches.
more dangerous aspects of adult life: drinking, driving, identify and guide these particular individuals through are not that mature) this can go until age 24. What is
drugs, and sex. These activities, hard enough for the most this ugly neighborhood. Let us now turn to how we, as the biggest source of records on people when they are Good luck!
thoughtful and mature among us to handle in a sensible defense lawyers, can so just that. young? Schools! Get the school records and get medical ---------------------------------
way, are especially problematic for unsophisticated records of treatment, if possible. Social Security records
“adults” with elementary reading levels and How does one identify such clients? First, ask. Ask for disability applications are often useful as well. You i Abbreviated further in this article as DSM V
no ability in abstract thought or social often and in different ways. Ask your client can get these with releases from your client. Do not ii 259 S.W.3d 159 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008)
norms. For most of the intellectually if he finished high school. A common ponder about the irony of getting voluntary releases from
disabled, “life skills” training is red flag for intellectual disability a person you suspect is not capable...just do it. As a final iii 270 S.W.3d 586 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008)
extremely important. This is so is a person’s failure to advance measure, get affidavits from family members, teachers,
that things we take for granted past freshmen or sophomore and friends or bosses who knew your client and realized
are learned: social cues, year of high school. Ask your they were dealing with someone slow. Have these
appropriate age behavior, client if he had a favorite witnesses describe an incident that illustrates the client’s
learning aide, which

pat mccann
socializing with adults problems in dealing with daily life, in filling out forms,
as opposed to younger usually means they were in balancing a checkbook or working a cash register,
children who are their in Special Education, or dealing with people in any type of setting – work,
which is another flag.
CONTINUED : WHY THE INTELLECTUALLY DISABLED ...

intellectual peers, and personal, familial. Get it notarized. Put all this together
proper boundaries Ask family members in a nice, neat folder or package.
Pat McCann is in solo practice in Houston,
in interpersonal (if you can find any) if Texas. He was licensed in 1995 and certified
relationships. your client struggled Now, what to do with all this stuff? Well, depending to handle criminal cases up through death
Responsible use of in school or had a bad on your facts, and the people you are dealing with, be
hospitalization after a creative. Could you use this information to write a nice
penalty matters at trial, appeal, and on
alcohol, for example, is habeas. He is a past President of both the
something that people with beating or an accident. Get grand jury letter, informing the grand jurors that your
normal IQs often do not and read school records. client is intellectually disabled? Can you connect the dots Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
practice - imagine how much Ask your client if he ever for the prosecutor on your case, if you felt it is a problem and the Fort Bend County Criminal Defense
of a challenge it would be for a got services at the Mental with their fact scenario? Can you suppress the confession Attorneys Association. He is a board
person with an IQ of 65? Health Mental Retardation by attacking whether the client really understood his
Authority (MHMRA). Look for rights or knowingly waived them, under Osbourne
member of the Anthony Graves Foundation
Some studies these days also show any IQ scores near or below 70. Ask v. State?ii Is your client impaired enough to raise a and the Thurgood Marshall Innocence
that those with less well-developed brains for an explanation in his own words of competency issue under 46b of the Criminal Code of Project at Texas Southern University, a past
are often more susceptible to the intoxicating something abstract when you visit your client Procedure? Can you raise the issue of intent under Ruffin member of the Governor’s Specialty Courts
effects of controlled substances than their “normal” in jail. Try and find the friend or family member your v. Stateiii if the crime is a specific-intent one? Can you Advisory Council, and past Chairman of
peers. Therefore, not only do these folks often lack the potentially intellectually disabled client depends upon raise involuntary intoxication by showing the disparate
knowledge and maturity to process the bad results of over- for daily task assistance. This will be the person your effect of medications or narcotics or booze on your
the Fort Bend County Defenders Advisory
indulgence in alcohol or drugs, those same substances client always mentions whenever they need to make a client’s under-developed brain? Can you sway a judge Board. He was a founding member of the
actually hit them with more potency than their age group decision, which is another red flag. Ask about prior jobs to believe that this is a case that needs special handling? Harris County Veterans Treatment Court and
peers. Now let us think about how such folks deal with and call these previous employers or co-workers at the Can you prepare a good punishment case for your client is a retired Navy officer.
the criminal justice system itself. No person who has prior job (with permission) for more information. Ask with this information? Is it relevant to a probation offer
30 HCCLA ETHICS HCCLA ETHICS 31
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
TRIAL
few minutes of your time visiting The most that can happen is a fine, so I met Jim when I was in the criminal-
with the gas attendant or store clerk. why can’t you use this as a vehicle to trial clinic at University of Houston
See if you can get him to smile or get trial experience? The same can be Law Center.
laugh, or if time permits, get him to said for JP court. Take these cases to
talk about himself. When you’re trial. If you want more such trials, go Every Wednesday evening at his
shopping, talk to the clerks; get them to other lawyers and ask them to send house/office at 1610 Richmond,
to talk to you. Remember, a good trial you their traffic cases and those Jim used to host a group of young
lawyer never meets strangers, just involving municipal and JP courts criminal defense solos to
prospective jurors. because you are willing to try them. brainstorm cases. We called it the

TACTICS
“Wednesday Night Staff Meeting.”
Experience rule number two should My final suggestion is to take some
start with a mirror. Take a good look time off, hang around the Courthouse, Jim got himself disbarred twice.
at yourself. If you’re perceptive, and watch jury trials. Don’t wait for The first time, the criminal-defense
you will notice that nature has given the so-called “stars” to perform community came together and
you only one mouth and on the other because you may never see a trial. wrote letters of support, and he got
hand has given you two ears. The You can also ask some of the more undisbarred. The second time,
way most lawyers function, this active trial lawyers if they would I think maybe we all realized that
should be different. We should have mind if you sat in with them when this was just his way of quitting the
three mouths and probably no ears. they are in trial. Most such lawyers practice of law without quitting.
Why did nature design your head in would welcome you, if you express “Retirement by bar committee,”
by Jim SKelton such a fashion? The answer is simple: an interest. Along the same line – like “suicide by cop.”
you should do twice as much listening spend some time with some of our
as talking. So when you talk to more experienced trial judges. Get We let him do it.
people, listen very carefully to what them to tell you about some of their
they say in return because they are trial experiences. Whenever I have a Still, every Wednesday afternoon
This is an article written by Jim Skelton in 1985 and has some very good information for us all. telling you about themselves. And if moment, I love to visit with Judge at the courthouse Jim would teach
Judge McKay was from East Texas and was a Harris County Judge for many years. Jim left this you have sense enough to listen, you McKay. He has a wealth of stories the appellate update. I had the
will learn a whole bunch about people. about East Texas lawyers, and some privilege of teaching it a few times
world March 8, 2017. Jim had been the Significant Decisions Editor for the Voice and a long-
Jurors are the same way. If you can of the characters that he has met in his when Jim was unavailable. It was a
time participant in the TCDLA Huntsville Trial College. Jim helped many lawyers and helped me get them to talk to you and if you trial days. I have never wasted a lot of work. At the time I wondered
come up with the idea for the Ethics Committee and hotline to help lawyers. In Jim’s honor, this bother to listen to what they have to minute in the time that I have listened why everybody didn’t attend the
will be the Ethics article for this issue. say, they will tell you a lot about how to him. I think that it should be Wednesday Appellate Updates.
they think and feel. This comes in required that every young trial lawyer Twenty years later, I understand —
by robert pelton very handy, if you want to win cases. spend some time with Judge McKay. other things seem to take priority
He has a lot of experience, and he’s as our lives, our families, and our
My third suggestion is to join an about half smart too. practices grow. But Jim poured
I always marvel at the expectations of A lawyer fresh from law school It should be a daily practice. After all, organization that permits you to get
some experience in public speaking. Remember plain old likability makes countless hours into making us all
trial judges. Everyone from the Chief is much like an ugly blind date, the people who you meet daily are the
You could try your hand at Toastmaster up for a world of experience. This better, and if you didn’t take
Justice of the United States Supreme moles and all, but given time and ones who make up juries. The only
Court on down complains bitterly experience, all that can change. Let’s difference is that they are packaged or something similar. Read the trait does not come from 10,000 jury advantage of it, it was your loss.
about the ignorance of the trial bar. A talk a bit about converting moles to differently. They come in singles in Sunday paper. It is full of information trials; it comes from daily living and Jim leaves a rich legacy of better
lot of what they say is true – but what “beauty spots.” your daily life whereas they come in about upcoming seminars and places daily habits. Keep in mind that a lawyers behind. He was my mentor
solutions do they offer? panels of thirty or more in your lawyer that afford the opportunity for you to musician who practiced only at and my role model.
The first problem that faces young life. And if you don’t practice relating practice running your chops. Don’t concerts would soon be out of the
It doesn’t take a great deal of sense to lawyers is getting experience. They all to them individually, how in the hell be proud. I would even speak at a music business, and if you are sitting I’m sweating a jury in Midland as I
complain; most folks have that down want trial experience. It’s a Catch-22 can you expect to relate to them when convention for quilters, if given the around waiting for jury trials to get write this. Everything I am as a
pat. The hard part is to offer an problem. You have to have clients to they come in gaggles of thirty? opportunity, because every shot at “experience,” then you will not be criminal-defense lawyer and a
alternative or come up with a workable get experience, and you have to have public speaking makes jury trials a bit long in the trial business. And I really mentor, I owe to Jim.
solution. It does little good to complain experience to get clients. That’s how This then is “experience rule” number easier. hope to see you around for a while.
that your blind date is wearing the story goes, but I don’t think that is one: practice daily the fine art of This Slaid Cleaves song always
ill-fitting jeans and has two hairy being far-sighted. talking to people. When you go out to My next suggestion is to exploit Class made me think of Jim: youtube.
moles and a fresh abrasion. The key is eat, always make eye contact with the C misdemeanors. Try every single com/watch?v=e_F0KsJrMxs
getting yourself through the evening. A successful trial lawyer is basically a waiter and have something to say other one of them, especially those in
Bitching won’t solve the problem. person who has the ability to talk and than how you want to torture your municipal court. How can you lose? Ave atque vale, old friend.
listen to people, and you don’t have to stomach. When you buy gas, spend a
wait for a trial to get this experience. Mark W. Bennett
WAR
32 33

fallen
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
warriors
The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association fondly remembers
these lawyers who spent their lives defending the Constitution
and the rights of the accused.

R.H. “Sandy” Bielstein
Barry Boorstein
Do
STORIES
ALCOHOL AND
Toby Boyer
James M. Brooks
Not Go
Gentle Into THE PRACTICE OF LAW
That Good Night
Don R. Cantrell by Dylan Thomas
BY Jennifer “J.L.” Carpenter
Arnold Cohn Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and
Scott Cotlar rage at close of day;
Leo Paul DeCuir, Jr. Rage, rage against the dying
of the light.
Ken W. Fesler
Though wise men at their end
Jesse R. Funchess, Sr know dark is right,
Dan B. Gerson Because their words had
forked no lightning they
Clint Greenwood
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Marc Isenberg Good men, the last wave by,

Denis O. Jones crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced
Jack Lee in a green bay,
Wendy Miller Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
Robin E. Mitchell
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Jo Nelson Do not go gentle into that good night.
Fred J. Rodriquez Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
James Edward Rose
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Jim Skelton And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Sherri Steele Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Ronald Tonkin Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
34 35
Sometimes I joke about being A friend shared with me that he
crunched together in the had attended a 12-step program
THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017

THE DEFENDER / SUMMER 2017
overcrowded elevators of the
CJC where you can smell leftover
where the only requirement for
membership was a desire to not Jennifer
“J.L.”
alcohol and weed on Monday drink. I had a desire to not drink,
mornings, but you can’t really and so I began attending.
tell if it’s off the clients or the
lawyers or both. I remember in
law school being warned by the
professors that the legal arena
What I learned is that alcoholism
is the only self-diagnosed
disease. A doctor can diagnose
Carpenter
had a higher rate of alcoholism diabetes or other ailments, Jennifer “J.L.” Carpenter
than most other professions. but only each individual can is a native Houstonian, a
As I started practicing law, little determine whether he or she is 1997 graduate of the Hilton
by little, I started experiencing an alcoholic or not. I learned College at the University of
how alcohol so freely flowed that alcoholism is an allergy to Houston, and a graduate
at all the social events, the alcohol and that normal drinkers of the Thurgood Marshall
campaign fundraisers, the after do not have this allergy. I also
School of Law, Class of 2000.
party during CLE seminars, and learned that alcoholism is just a
then alcohol started showing up symptom of another underlying She is a former prosecutor
at weekly lunches. After work, issue, so the 12-steps are used for Galveston County, and
alcohol was the go-to to de- to get to that core issue, like she has been mentored by
stress and calm the mind. During peeling back the layers of an both the Honorable Craig
trial, alcohol was in the war room onion. I believe that the 12-steps A. Washington and defense
while preparing for the next day are a good design for living for attorney Mr. Chip B. Lewis.
of trial. anyone; only the first step has
anything to do with alcohol. In addition to assisting these
After trial ended, we drank to exceptional lawyers in high-
celebrate, or we drank to drink Frankly, the word “alcohol” in the profile cases, Ms. Carpenter
our blues away. Once I heard first step can be replaced with also assisted the Harris
someone say, “There is a fine really any addiction: gambling,
County Court Judges in
line between being a criminal overeating, over-shopping, etc.
defense lawyer and being a establishing the S.O.B.E.R.
criminal.” Who hasn’t driven Once I did the work, I had a change Court DWI probation program.
when they shouldn’t have? “… in lifestyle that allowed me to This program is designed to
but for the Grace of God,” say fall in love with life all over again. make the local community
I. Just as I was warned in law I had the energy of my youth, safer by rehabilitating high-
school, I had found alcohol all the passion of a young lawyer, risk repeat DWI offenders;
over the practice of law. and the clarity to problem however, if you ask her, Ms.
solve more efficiently. I had Carpenter would say her best
There came a time in my a renewed balance and accomplishments are her
career where I knew I was using centeredness about me. two children, who were born
alcohol as a crutch to handle while she was attending law
the stress of this profession. I Today, I try to practice these
school, now ages 19 and 17.
knew that alcohol was hindering principles in all of my affairs. By
me from being my personal no means am I perfect. There
best for myself, for my clients, is a saying that we “strive for Ms. Carpenter has been a
and for my family. I tried yoga, progress, not perfection.” The solo practitioner at the Law
CONTINUED : WAR STORIES

journaling, women’s workshops, best part is that when I screw it Office of JL Carpenter since
motivational speakers, up, I can forgive myself, clean January 2006. Today, Ms.
committing to the gym, but up my mess, and start again. Carpenter’s life mission is
somehow alcohol kept finding The reward for me is that now simply to be useful to others
it’s way back into my life. I could I may enjoy the practice of through service work and
not understand how I could put law without the bondage of to be an encouragement to
my mind to almost anything and alcohol, and words cannot other working mothers, other
accomplish it, but I could not express the freedom that brings. sober lawyers, and/or other
stay away from alcohol for more
lawyers currently struggling
than 30-40 days at a time before Cheers!
going back to my familiar crutch. with alcoholism.
SUMMER 2017
THE DEFENDER
PO Box 924523
Houston TX 77292-4523