Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TRIALS: Yearly Round-up

This year was an amazing year of trials.  Dating to December of last year, I participated as first chair in 6 serious Felony jury trials.  Three of these trials were in Travis County, three in Williamson County.  All currently are on appeal.  While I will share a few aspects of these trials with you, I will not share privileged information nor any issue which may affect the appeal(s).

STATE v HERNANDEZ [Murder]
Travis County/Second Chair- Lucio Del Toro
One aspect of this trial which was different from others, was the extent of the involvement of the Fire Marshall (FM).  Since a fire was alleged to be involved in this case, the FM was extensively involved in retrieving videos from the convenience stores (tracking my client), crime scene processing, and overall investigation.
Another unique aspect of the investigation was to what extent my client (and the rest of the public for that matter) could be tracked.  Between convenience store videos, toll booth photos and video, and the fact that a Sheriff ran the plate of the auto used by my client at some point and entered it into the system, it goes to show to what extent the public's moves can be tracked.

STATE v GUTIERREZ [Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon Habitual]
Travis County/Second Chair- Lucio Del Toro
This case featured my client's mother and two sisters as the primary witnesses against him.  Nevertheless, the greatest challenge was to keep the 85 extraneous offenses and bad acts out of the Guilt/Innocence phase in light of the Bass v State case a few years ago.  I was successful, but only after avoiding those pitfalls to admissibility in jury selection, opening, and cross-examination.  If there was some way I could have devised a way to keep those 4 women from testifying against him in the punishment phase, he may have fared a bit better.

STATE v WILLIAMS [Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon x 2]
Williamson County
This particular trial involved a neighborly dispute which escalated in an alleged weapon being pointed at two people.  While there is much more to this story than I care to write, suffice to say that this had some extraneous offenses that were hard to keep from admission and with my client insisting on testifying, it made for a tough road.

STATE v RODRIGUEZ [Driving While Intoxicated 3 or more-Habitual]
Travis County/Second Chair- Richard Collins
My client was on parole (he received 25 years last time for Driving While Intoxicated-Habitual),  there was an accident, and his blood draw was .25 BAC (there were 2, one from the DPS and one from the hospital).  He didn't testify, but he did disrupt jury selection because he had to use the restroom really, really bad.

STATE v ORTEGA [Driving While Intoxicated 3 or more-Habitual]
Williamson County/Second Chair- Ryan Deck
This trial featured another client on parole, charged with his 7th DWI, and another blood draw of .25 BAC.  While the officer completely botched the field sobriety tests, the jail phlebotomist  admitted that an occasional mopping by the inmate was their version of sanitation, the video of my client narrowly missing that police car proved crucial.

STATE v MEDELLIN [Super-Aggravated Assault of a Child x 2]
Travis County/Second Chair- Lucio Del Toro
This was the first case in which my preparation went out the window with the very first question, a denial and recantation of a child witness.  It was also the first time that a witness was found incompetent to testify.  These aspects as well as the modified testimony of the expert (he then had to testify about recantation) made this trial the most unpredictable of all.

Trials/Cases on my docket coming up next Spring:  Agg Assault Habitual/Driving While Intoxicated Habitual/Agg Assault Habitual/Sexual Assault/Murder/Murder/Capital Murder

2 comments:

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Tiffany said...

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