Monday, August 31, 2009

Harris County dismisses arson case against Supreme Court Justice's wife

Last week the Harris County District Attorney's Office dismissed an arson charge against Ms. Francisca Medina, the wife of Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina. Pat Lykos said the dismissal was the result of new evidence submitted by the defense.

In June 2007, the Medina's house, and those of two neighbors, was damaged in a fire. Investigators determined in October 2007 that the fire was set deliberately. In January 2008, a Harris County grand jury indicted Ms. Medina on arson charges and Justice Medina on charges of tampering with evidence. The following day then-DA Chuck Rosenthal dismissed the indictments. A subsequent panel re-indicted Ms. Medina but no-billed Justice Medina.

The defense team produced evidence that pointed to an electrical problem as a possible cause of the fire. Said Ms. Lykos: "If you can't rule out an electrical fire as the cause, then you can't prove arson."

Is this the new standard the D.A. will use in determining what cases to pursue? Am I to assume that all I must do to have a case dismissed is present evidence to the prosecutor that someone else may have committed the crime? Or that my client's poor driving might have been caused by something other than alcohol? Or does this treatment only apply to those with political connections?

It would appear to me that this new evidence gives rise to a fact question, not a legal question, and, as such, is a factor for a jury to consider.

No comments: