- Law enforcement agencies should document lineups or photo arrays by providing the photos used in a photo array or a photograph of the live lineup as well as all dialogue and witness statements made during the procedure.
- Law enforcement agencies should inform eyewitnesses, prior to viewing a live lineup or photo array that the accused may or may not be in the lineup. Eyewitnesses should not feel compelled to make an identification.
- Lineups and photo arrays should be composed "fairly." The report calls for fillers to be selected based not on their resemblance to the accused but, instead, on their resemblence to the description provided by eyewitnesses.
- The person conducting the lineup or photo array should not know the identity of the accused. Having a "blind" person conduct the lineup reduces the chances of the officer influencing the results of the lineup or photo array.
- Law enforcement agencies should avoid exposing eyewitnesses to multiple viewings of the accused.
- Law enforcement agencies should consider using sequential arrays instead of traditional arrays. In a sequential array, an eyewitness views one individual at a time which prevents the witness from making an identification through process of elimination.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
- A person who acquires knowledge of any arrest while an officer or employee of the state or any agency or other entity of the state or any political subdivision of the state and whwo knows of an order expunging the records and files relating to that arrest commits an offense if he knowingly releases, disseminates or otherwise uses the records or files.
- A person who knowingly fails to return or to obliterate identifying portions of a record or file ordered expunged under this chapter commits an offense.
- An offense under this article is a Class B misdemeanor.
- An application fee of $200;
- Restitution (if any);
- A monthly supervision fee of $60;
- District Attorney's Office fee of $160;
- The cost of installing an interlock device (with a camera) in their automobile (a minimum of $75 a month);
- The cost of an in-home alcohol monitoring device (if required);
- All costs for counseling, treatment and education;
- All fees for urinalysis;
- The cost of an identification card;
- The cost of a literacy assessment; and
- Fees for appointed counsel (if unrepresented).
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association stands united against the DWI Diversion program announced today by the District Attorney’s Office. What appears on the surface to be an act of benevolence is in fact an assault on the constitutional rights of all of the individuals accused of DWI.
This program will be forced on an unsuspecting and uninformed accused by way of an overly coercive plea bargain. Under the new program defendants will be offered the diversion program or alternatively 30 days in jail. Currently there are very few jail time offers to resolve a first time DWI. The action by the District Attorneys office is punitive and not in keeping with their duty to see that justice is done.
The diversion program forces defendants to confess and enter a plea of guilty that will result in jail time if they are unable to live up to the requirements of the program. The diversion program requires those participating to give up any and all protections provided by the US and Texas Constitution. This program is an affront to the adversary process and steps on the constitutional protections that all citizens enjoy.
HCCLA repeatedly asked to meet with the District Attorney about this program. Although the DA’s office arranged more than one meeting with the judges in private they refused to receive input from the defense bar. The entire defense bar was unethically excluded from this one-sided conversation.
- Be an adult first-time offender;
- Be a resident of the State of Texas;
- Be a US citizen or premanent resident alien;
- Have no prior juvenile record;
- Have no prior arrests for any felony or Class A or Class B misdemeanor; and
- Be employed or in school.
- Judicial veto (that means Judge Bill Harmon of County Criminal Court at Law No. 2);
- A co-occuring disorder that would be detrimental to the person's ability to complete a probation (whatever that means);
- Any pending criminal charge in any jurisdiction;
- A co-occurring mental health condition that the Harris County probation department doesn't offer treatment; or
- It being contrary to the best interest of the community.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
"If we don't solve it in a special session it really creates a potential problem of people who are charged with very serious crimes being able to escape conviction on technicalities." -- Gov. Timothy Kaine.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
"It's Christmas in July for criminal lawyers who defend drunk drivers." -- Raymond F. Morrogh, Fairfax Commonwealth Attorney (prosecutor).
Thursday, July 16, 2009
"Many people are in jail because they are too poor to post bail. If you have a first-class pretrial program, a county is often in a better position because they can carefully analyze the individual, can figure out better what needs to be done." -- Donald Murray, senior legislative director, National Association of Counties
"This really wasn't built for this. I don't know if we can build our way out of where we are today." - John Dyess
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
"The prime object or purpose of bail is to secure the presence of an accused upon trial of an accusation against him. It is not a revenue measure intended to be a substitute for a fine, but is intended to secure the trial of the alleged offender rather than turn his securities or those of his bondsman into a penalty." Trammel v. State, 529 SW2d 528 (Tex.Crim.App. 1975)
Monday, July 13, 2009
CC1 950 CC9 903CC2 986 CC10 911CC3 763 CC11 729CC4 830 CC12 786CC5 873 CC13 963CC6 739 CC14 687CC7 741 CC15 775CC8 859
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
"Evidence casting doubt on the accuracy of the breath-to-blood conversion ratio is just as relevant as other evidence rebutting the presumption of intoxication from a breath test result, such as evidence that the defendant had a high tolerance for alcohol or performed well in field sobriety testing." Justice Carol A. Corrigan, California Supreme Court.
- California Supreme Court says DUI breath test accuracy can be weighed (San Jose Mercury-News, July 9, 2009)
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
"Reasonable doubt is defined as follows: It is not a mere possible doubt; because everything relating to human affairs, and depending on moral evidence, is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. It is that state of the case which, after the entire comparison and consideration of all the evidence,leaves the minds of the jurors in that condition that they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction, to a moral certainty, of the truth of the charge."
Monday, July 6, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
Friday, July 3, 2009
“We need to reinstate the (cadet) classes, reinstate the overtime that’s making up for the 1,200-officer shortage, and back off this immigration policy so our officers can be safe. Quit handcuffing our officers so they can identify these criminal aliens, and get them off the street before they can kill police officers.” - Gary Blankinship, Houston Police Officer's Union
Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
"The officer conducting a roadside interview is in a unique position to develop incriminating information. Because the initial stop is for a traffic offense, Miranda warnings are not required. Most of these stops are made when the officer sees a violation occur so the driver already knows that he or she has been caught doing something wrong and this awareness makes it easier to acknowledge other transgressions. Finally, the driver is and car occupants are caught off guard without the opportunity to create a credible alibi or dispose of incriminating evidence that may be in the vehicle."
"It must be remembered that people stopped for traffic violations are, for the most part, guilty of the offense for which they were stopped and will certainly exhibit symptoms of anxiety as a result of being caught. In this sense, persons stopped for a traffic violation are "guilty" of the violation. However, they may exhibit behavior symptoms of guilt or deception because of involvement in some unrelated criminal activity or because they lied to the police officer's questions..."
"Persons with nothing to hide pull to the side of the road when the officer turns on lights and siren; when at home, they answer the door when the officer knocks on it and respond to questions without objection. Conversely, it is a classic symptom of guilt for a person to run from the police in response to an effort to stop his vehicle or question the suspect at his home."
"Communicating with one's hands occurs when a person is confident and sincere in his statements. Illustrators reinforce the credibility behind the spoken word. The lack of illustrators can be a significant behavior symptom of possible deception. The classic description of a guilty person going through a border stop is that the subject's hands are cemented to the steering wheel at the 11 and 2 o'clock positions and his eyes stare straight ahead at the road. Simiarly, when questioning a child who has done something wrong, the child will hide his hands by putting them in his pockets."