Andrea Yates and the Insanity Defense

posted on 12/15/16

In 2001, the media reported on the horrific drowning death of 36-year-old Andrea Yates’s five children. Andrea Yates, a suburban Houston resident and mother of five, was under a doctor’s care for post-partum depression. In the space of an hour,...

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The Tragic Death of Andrew Burd

posted on 12/5/16

In 2007, Corpus Christi mom Hannah Overton was charged and later convicted of capital murder for the death of Andrew Burd, a 4-year-old boy she and her husband were in the process of adopting. Andrew died on October 3, 2006,...

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Murder Defenses

posted on 11/28/16

Neighbors find a dead body inside a house. A daughter visits her elderly mother and finds her dead inside her apartment. After not showing up to work for a week, the boss calls the police to search the employee’s home. They find the employee dead. Police raid a suspected drug house and find dead bodies inside the house. The media reports the above scenarios constantly. Thereafter, the police search for the killer while the media reports any progress. When the...

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Stalking and Harassment

posted on 11/21/16

Last June, Carrolton police arrested Babak Taherzadeh and charged him with stalking, a third-degree felony. The police alleged that Taherzadeh used social media to stalk state district judge Brandon Bingham. Bingham presided over a case wherein Taherzadeh faced harassment charges for sending threatening texts to his brother-in-law. As part of the ruling, Judge Bingham ordered Taherzadeh to stay off social media. Later, Bingham started receiving threatening messages via social media from Taherzadeh, police reports claim. Texas law considers both harassment...

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Unlawful Restraint and Kidnapping

posted on 11/17/16

In Texas, it is crucial to distinguish between unlawful restraint and kidnapping. Though similar, the two distinct crimes hold different implications, especially in terms of punishment. Unlawful restraint is a misdemeanor, meaning that its punishment is less than a year...

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Stolen Merchandise

posted on 11/7/16

Two thieves break into a Radio Shack late at night. They used sophisticated equipment to disarm the alarm. After a number of hours, they are inside. Once there, they put many electronic items in boxes. After a few minutes of rummaging through the store, they leave and take the merchandise with them. Later, they take the merchandise to various vendors, including pawn shops owners and flea market sellers. In turn, the pawn shop owner and flea market seller sells the...

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Avoiding Jail

posted on 10/24/16

Defendants will commonly seek to avoid jail or prison time, even though the sentencing guidelines require them to be incarcerated. Often, prosecutors in Texas are willing to cut a deal wherein the defendant avoids incarceration by agreeing to forgo litigating at the trial or penalty phase of a case. In such a scenario, the following options may be available, depending on the specific circumstances of a case. Probation: Instead of jail time, with conditions applicable to the situation. An example...

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Field Sobriety Tests

posted on 10/17/16

For those suspected of DWI, law enforcement employs various on the spot methods, or field sobriety tests, to determine a person’s sobriety. If arrested on the suspicion of DWI and are compelled to take these tests, know that these tests may be inaccurate and cannot prove guilt. Standardized Tests Texas law enforcement employs three standardized field sobriety tests: Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), which means bouncing eye movement. It is an involuntary rapid oscillation of the eyeballs in a horizontal, vertical,...

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posted on 10/10/16

Usually, a defendant is arrested and then charged with a crime. Like other areas of criminal law, the arrest must be lawful. Texas law codifies and courts discuss how to determine a lawful arrest. Definition of an Arrest The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure defines an arrest as follows: “A person is arrested when he has been actually placed under restraint or taken into custody by an officer or person executing a warrant of arrest, or by an officer or...

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DWI in Texas Basics

posted on 10/4/16

Texas law criminalizes driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or any impairing substance, regardless of whether the defendant causes damage. The law criminalizes such behavior as a deterrent to dangerous driving that keeps everyone safe. While many behaviors are unsafe while operating a motor vehicle, the law specifically highlights DWI as an especially egregious act that runs counter to law and order. Read further for a brief explanation of intoxication and DWI. Intoxication by Alcohol or Drugs...

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The of Mice and Men Test

posted on 9/26/16

Marvin Lee Wilson and Andrew Lewis confronted and then murdered 21-year-old Jerry Robert Williams outside a convenience store in Beaumont, Texas in 1992. According to eyewitnesses, Wilson stood over Williams and beat him, saying, "What do you want to be a snitch for? Do you know what we do to a snitch? Do you want to die right here?" Williams managed to run away from Wilson and made it across the street to a field, where Wilson and Andrews caught...

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Texas Accomplice Witness Rule

posted on 9/19/16

A conviction cannot be had upon the testimony of an accomplice unless corroborated by other evidence tending to connect the defendant with the offense committed; the corroboration is not sufficient if it merely shows the commission of the offense. Origins...

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