Escape, Part II

posted on 12/11/17

As mentioned in Part 1, there is a crime in Texas of prison escape. It is also a crime not to show up to the police station when you are called. This article discusses this further. The Texas Seven On December 13, 2000, seven inmates escaped prison in Kenedy, Texas. The escape triggered a massive manhunt that ended approximately one month later. The recapture of the escaped convicts was helped significantly by the television show America’s Most Wanted, which provided...

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Escape, Part I

posted on 12/4/17

A man wakes up one morning, gets into his jogging gear, prepares his water and other items for a jog, leashes his dog, and gets ready for an early morning run. This routine is good exercise, gets him up in the morning, and gives him a boost to start his day. The weather outside looks perfect, with sunny skies and not too hot. Seems like a great day in the making. The man opens the front door to find a...

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posted on 11/27/17

Article 1.13 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure grants a defendant an automatic right to a trial by jury in a criminal case. In contrast to a civil case where the party must file a request, a defendant in a criminal trial must file a written waiver of a jury trial or it is presumed that the defendant wants a jury trial. In addition, the state must consent to the waiver of the jury trial in criminal cases, or...

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Texas Exclusionary Rule

posted on 11/20/17

A man calls 911 to report that he found another man’s body and a magazine clip near the body. The police suspect that the man may have been the killer, so they arrest him on unrelated warrants. The detective handling the case obtains a copy of a forensic report and then edits to say, “Examination of Item 1 revealed the Two Latent Prints lifted from the Firearm Magazine belong to those of [man’s name].” In reality, the man’s name was...

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posted on 11/13/17

It is well documented that the two components of a criminal act are theactus reus, which is the criminal act, and the mens rea, which is the criminal mind. Both are based on the parameters of the statute. Killing someone can be the actus reus of murder. For mens rea, it depends on whether the statute requires the act be done intentionally, knowingly, etc. However, it is notable that the law does not consider what a person’s motivation was in...

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‘But For’ Issues

posted on 11/6/17

Texas state trial courtrooms are no strangers to homicide prosecutions. In fact, the state of Texas Department of Corrections currently houses over141,000 inmates in the prison system, many of those due to homicides. Texas has long had the reputation of having a large population sitting on death row. It is well known that the standard of proof during a criminal trial in general and a homicide trial in particular is beyond a reasonable doubt. That means that if doubt about...

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Ex Post Facto

posted on 10/23/17

The Texas Penal Code in Section 1.02 mentions the need for barring ex post facto legislation that a society cannot function if people perform an act that is totally legal today but will be criminalized tomorrow. In Section 1.03, the Penal Code states that “[c]onduct does not constitute an offense unless it is defined as an offense by statute, municipal ordinance, order of a county commissioners court, or rule authorized by and lawfully adopted under a statute.”As mentioned in a...

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posted on 10/16/17

Often, people who face Driving While Intoxicated charges, or DWI, feel that the prosecution is working overtime to bring them down. The thought of having a life-altering experience due to a DWI is terrifying. The adage of innocent until proven guilty still applies, even though things may look bleak. DWI Elements The Texas Penal Code in Section 49.04 provides that for the prosecution to sustain a guilty verdict for of DWI, the defendant must be the following: Intoxicated; Driving or...

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Dallas Cowboys and the First Amendment

posted on 10/9/17

During the national anthem of the Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals on September 25, 2017, Cowboys’ fans watched as the entire Cowboy team, including owner Jerry Jones, kneeled. This ignited passion from the fans. Many supported the players, expressing admiration for taking a unified stand on behalf of social justice. Others were mortified, feeling that the players disrespected the flag and the country, which is the country allowing them to collect multi-million dollar paychecks...

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Racial Profiling

posted on 10/2/17

In July of this year, a Harris County Precinct 1 deputy approached 20-year-old Marlin Gipson to ask what Gipson was doing. The scene was captured on video. Gipson claimed to be handing out his business cards to residents in the neighborhood that advertised his lawn mowing business. The deputy approached Gipson and asked him for identification and his name and age. Gipson gave his name and claimed that his birthday was October of 1999, which would make him 17. Gipson...

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Ex Post Facto, Part I

posted on 9/25/17

Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution provides “No state shall…pass any…ex post facto law…” The idea of a ban on the legislature from passing an ex post facto law is considered law; only a tyrannical government would pass and enforce a law that criminalizes an action ex post facto. There can be no punishment without law. The founding fathers thought to create laws that were not abusive. Through the original Constitution and subsequent amendments, the...

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Incapacitation Theory

posted on 9/18/17

The United States Justice System imposes jail time on those who commit certain acts. Some acts carry a mandatory jail sentence while others are at the discretion of the judge...

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