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Criminal Defense

Harris County Bail Reform Efforts

Published: Dec 23, 2016 in Criminal Defense

Back in May of 2016, Harris County was hit with a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of its pre-trial bail policies. The federal class action complaint alleges that the bail-setting process for individuals arrested for Class-A or B misdemeanors is a wealth-based detention scheme in violation of the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution. In an attempt to reform the existing system, local officials have decided to implement a new pretrial risk assessment tool, which judges will utilize in making bail determinations. What Is the Risk Assessment…

Can Campus Police Make Arrests?

Published: Dec 20, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Student Crimes

The presence of police departments on college campuses has steadily increased over the past 50 years. In fact, there are over 4,000 police forces operating on private and public universities around the country. According to research by the Justice Department, campus police officers are much more prevalent at public universities than private institutions. As of 2012, 92 percent of public colleges and universities have armed campus police forces, while only 38 percent of private institutions have their own police units. The Role of Campus Police Campus police officers play an…

Texans Serving Life Sentences for Drug Possession

Published: Dec 13, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

The ACLU and Human Rights Watch recently released a report that assesses the human toll of criminalizing drug use and includes policy recommendations for local, state, and federal government officials. By examining arrest rates around the country, interviewing 365 inmates, and collecting data through public information requests, the report illuminates the human costs of the failed “war on drugs.” The report discusses the wide-ranging consequences of harsh drug laws across the United States, but focuses specifically on Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New York. Drug Possession Statistics in the United States…

Does Texas Have a Stand Your Ground Law?

Published: Dec 09, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Weapons Crimes

Stand your ground laws expand traditional self-defense principles by removing the duty to retreat before using deadly force. Following the death of Trayvon Martin and trial of George Zimmerman, stand your ground laws have become the subject of national attention and debate. There are approximately 27 states with stand your ground laws across the country, including Texas. Background on Self-Defense Law Generally speaking, a person may use deadly force when he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or herself or…

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Published: Dec 05, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

State Representative Joe Moody of El Paso introduced a bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana on the first day of the pre-filing period for the upcoming 2017 legislative session. The legislative proposal, HB 81, is just one of several attempts by Texas lawmakers to enact marijuana reform. Rep. Moody introduced similar legislation in the last legislative session, which drew the support of more than 40 co-sponsors, gained a powerful ally in the Texas Association of Business, and made it out of the Calendars Committee. On average,…