Human Trafficking

posted on 6/11/17

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in awareness with respect to human trafficking. While human trafficking primarily occurs outside of the United States, there is much human trafficking within our borders, as well. The rise in human trafficking awareness is contemporaneous with the rise in prosecution of that crime. Because the crime is considered heinous, prosecutors, especially federal prosecutors, tend to be more zealous than average when prosecuting those accused. Therefore, if you have been accused of...

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Criminality of Student-Teacher Relationships

posted on 6/4/17

The Texas Education Agency has been dealing with reports of improper educator/student relationships over the past several years. The Agency’s investigation department either reviews “249 Reports,” which are reports filed by school superintendents after a teacher resigns or is fired or it reviews criminal or similar complaints filed against a teacher in the school system. Recent press releases discussed female teachers providing lap dances for their male students and a teacher becoming impregnated by a 13-year-old. In fact, between 2011...

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Murder in Texas

posted on 5/22/17

Until the early 1970s, the Texas Penal Code, or TPC, clearly stated that a defendant cannot be convicted of murder charges unless a body or some body parts are found. That meant that the prosecution cannot win a murder case unless it produced a body. When someone was accused of murder, police sent investigators to the actual or potential crime scene in an attempt to discover the body. Investigators were often looking in the woods or in creeks for bodies...

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Juvenile Justice?

posted on 5/22/17

In May of 2011, 10-year-old Joseph Hall of Riverside, California took one if his father’s guns and shot his father, Jeff, in the head while Jeff slept. Jeff died immediately. Joseph then went to tell his stepmother, who called the police. The police arrived on the scene and took Joseph for questioning. Police questioned Joseph for over an hour. The police offered Joseph his Miranda rights, which he waived. According to reports, Joseph asked the police how many lives people...

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Death Row and the Establishment Clause

posted on 5/8/17

American law is replete with various protections for the criminally accused, most notably the beyond a reasonable doubt standard, wherein the prosecution is tasked with swaying the judge and jury that a defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defendant creates any doubt, even if the facts and circumstances suggest that the defendant most likely committed the crime, the criminal justice system requires the judge and jury to find the defendant not guilty. American law also protects...

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Sexual Assault Defense

posted on 5/1/17

Like in most states,Texas law provides for harsh punishment for those convicted of sexual assault against a child. A child, under Texas law, is anyone under the age of 17. Moreover, Texas law further punishes sexual assault offenders when the victim is under the age of 6. In those circumstances, the defendant faces a prison sentence of at least 25 years. Plus, in such a situation, the prosecution tends to be more emboldened to convict the defendant and the media...

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Reckless Disregard for Human Life

posted on 4/24/17

Imagine patrons enter a club one night in downtown Dallas. People seem to be enjoying themselves after a stressful day at work. As the night continues, the more patrons enter...

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Battery by Omission

posted on 4/17/17

In general, an assault and battery occur at the same time. That is to say, an assault will precede a battery. Texas law defines an assault as a threat of a battery while a battery is an unwanted and offensive physical touching. Using threats or approaching someone in a menacing way can be a Class A simple assault, while using threats against someone with a dangerous weapon can be a Class C assault that carries a weighty prison sentence. Sometimes...

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Texas Criminal Law Theory

posted on 4/10/17

Unlike other areas of law, criminal law has a higher standard for a plaintiff to prevail. There are some theories as to why our system provides for such a standard. Theoretically, criminal law presumes a defendant’s innocence; there is a burden upon the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty. Some present a theoretical approach to this rule: if the defendant were to be found guilty, the punishment is so harsh and severe that the state prefers to err...

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Texas Grand Jury Process

posted on 4/3/17

Texas criminal procedure provides for the convening of a grand jury for certain criminal cases. The media reports about various grand jury findings. Ordinary citizens are often called to jury...

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Free Speech and Criminal Law

posted on 3/27/17

In May of 2012, 20-year-old Terrence Johnson entered a hardware store in Lovelady, Texas. According to a report that Johnson later gave police, Johnson, who is African American, was mistreated by a racist store clerk. Johnson, upset over the mistreatment, took an American flag that was in the display window and threw in the street, where passing traffic destroyed the flag. The police arrested Johnson for the Texas crime of destruction of a flag. The Texas Law Under the statute,...

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No Warrant No Problem

posted on 3/20/17

An anonymous caller alerts the police that there is drug activity in an open field on the outskirts of the city. Based on the tip, the police immediately rush over to the property with the intent of making a drug bust. The police arrive, ignore the “No Trespassing” sign and slowly enter the property. On the property and standing behind a tree, they observe a man give over a plastic bag containing a white powdered substance to another man. The...

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