You’ve Been Accused of Operating a Pill Mill in Texas – What Now?
In Texas, as in many other states, state and federal law enforcement have been grappling with the national opioid epidemic.Read More
I readily admit that I am an outspoken critic of the criminal justice system. I think it our duty as participants to do our best to make the system better. To me, that means I should do my best on my cases and I should speak honestly about problems I see in the system.
To be sure, not everything about the system is bad or wrong. In fact, I would say that many parts of our criminal justice system are outstanding. I would also say that many participants in our system do an outstanding job. My ongoing criticism of the system should never be interpreted as a complete rejection of the American Criminal Justice System. I dont reject our system, I just want it to be as fair and impartial as I know it can be.
It has been suggested that I just dont like judges. That makes me laugh, because I like people, and I like most judges that I know. I am critical of our State and County Court judges for some of the policies they impliment and perpetuate. That does not mean that I personally dislike these folks. I like most people, and I dont discriminate against folks just because they wear a robe to work.
I think being a good judge must be very hard. President Abraham Lincoln said if you want to test a man’s charachter, ” Give him power”. I certainly agree with President Lincoln. Over the years we have all seen judges who have failed the charachter test. We have all seen judges who let the power go to their head. We call it “Robitis” or the ” Dreaded black robe disease”. We have all seen it and we have all suffered it.
One is imbued with enormous power on the bench. To be a great judge, one truly must be a great person. I have known good and great judges in my life. They have served as an inspiration to me in my practice. They have also served as a measuring stick, when I am in front of a not so great judge.
I will give you an example of a great Judge. It is easy for me to talk about him as, I tried my longest case ever in front of him. The trial was in 1994 and I was 37 years old. It was a Federal drug conspiracy case involving 10 co-defendants. The trial lasted nine weeks. My client was charged with 5 federal drug counts. At the end of the trial my client was acquited on all counts. I recall in celebration, as he heard the ” Not Guilties” announced, he poured a cup of water his head. 5 other defendants were acquitted as well. I learned a lot during that trial. As much as anything, I learned what it took to be a great judge. I learned this by watching the Honorable John Rainey.
Judge Rainey is a Federal District Court Judge sitting in Victoria. I rarely get to appear in front of him anymore. But in years past, I had several trials in front of him. Judge Rainey was always pleasant. He was patient with all of us. He listened to our arguments and stayed open-minded. He was confident in himself, but never arrogant or demeaning to any of us. He kept a good-sense of humor. He knew the law and if he didnt know it, he took the time to learn it before ruling. Finally, he was fair. He did not involve himself in the case. That is to say, if he had a side, it certainly was never apparent. He let both sides try their case and he never tried to sway the jury. In my opinion- for all the reasons I just stated, Judge John Rainey is a great judge. I believe he is a great judge because, he is a great man. He has humility. I think humilty is key to greatness.
We have great and good judges in Houston. We also have “the other kind”. I hope more judges, especially new judges in state and county court will try more to emulate Judge Rainey. I also hope that the great and good judges that we have within the Harris County Criminal Courthouse, will join me in my efforts to reform the system.
Robb Fickman, Houston.
The client believed to be facing potential Wire Fraud Charges related to SBA PPP loan applications. Investigation of applications for PPP loans and PPP forgiveness demonstrated that the Client had at all times acted in a lawful manner. Investigation demonstrated no fraud was committed by the client. Case closed.
Client was charged by Federal Indictment with making a social media post that threatened Malicious Damage and Destruction of a Building by Means of Fire and Explosives in violation of Federal law. The Defense showed that Client was a law-abiding citizen. The Defense further showed that the alleged threat was not made with any criminal intent.
The client, a public official with a long history of public service, was accused by a former girlfriend of engaging in non-consensual sexual relations. The Defense investigation and analysis showed through a detailed timeline that the allegation made absolutely no sense. Phone records, including calls and texts, were relied on to help establish an accurate timeline. The Defense met with law enforcement and reviewed a detailed package that exonerated the accused.
Client, a Houston area professional who frequently travels for work, was accused by his wife of assaulting her in his family home. Defense showed that wife’s story lacked credibility and there was no physical evidence in support of the wife’s allegation.
The client, a young Black male, was driving his car when police pulled him over for no apparent reason. It looked to be a profile stop. The client was accused of possessing a controlled substance in his vehicle. The Defense showed that there was no lawful basis for the police to stop the Client’s car. The Defense also showed that there was no lawful basis for the search of the Client’s car. It was a bad search, so the seized evidence was not admissible.
Client charged in Federal Indictment In “Operation Wrecking Ball” with 55 named co-defendants. Client faced seven charges. Client was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. Client was also charged with four counts of Distribution of Cocaine and one count of Money laundering.
Allegations involved client’s alleged use of his home to distribute cocaine. Government’s lengthy investigation involved numerous wiretaps, surveillance, video, pole cams, search warrants, vehicle stops and use of cooperating co-defendants.
Client went to trial with four remaining defendants. After a two-week trial, Judge granted Motion for Acquittal on four of the seven charges. Jury found Client Not Guilty of remaining three charges.
Client charged in Federal Court with two counts of Wire Fraud related to Five SBA EIDL loan applications. The Government alleged the client, a Houston professional, defrauded the Small Business Administration out of over $150,000. The Government also found the intended loss was over half a million dollars. The Client faced up to 20 years in prison on each count. The Defense investigated the case and negotiated a deal that included the Government not opposing a probation. The Federal Guideline calculation was for a prison sentence and the Probation Department recommended a prison sentence. Attorney Fickman submitted a 90 page Defense Sentencing Memorandum asking for Probation.
Client was retired professional. Client was accused of being involved in a road rage incident in 1960 Area. Defense put together a 100 page memorandum that demonstrated complainant was actual aggressor.
Client was accused of touching child. Case involved thousands of pages of psychiatric and Child Protective Services records as well as investigations by multiple police departments. After three- year fight, case dismissed.
Client accused of shoving and knocking down family member causing injury. After investigation, charges were dismissed.
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