Defending Against Texas DWI Charges: Strategies to Protect Your Rights
Facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Texas can be a distressing and overwhelming experience. A DWI conviction cRead More
It takes a certain personality to daily verbally abuse a courtroom full of people, but they do it. Before the judge comes out, in loud rough voices bailiffs and court personnel daily greet the accused by shouting the court’s many rules.
“Turn off your phones, no family, no talking, pay attention, when your name is called stand, tuck in that shirt, Say if you have a lawyer, No gum, no drinks, no unauthorized breathing.”
All this is barked at the accused sometimes in the Hall, sometimes in the courtroom. For the accused who has never experienced the Harris County Criminal Justice system it must be intimidating. It is most assuredly designed to intimidate. It’s the accused’s first inkling that they may be in for a rough ride.
Once, a few years ago, I walked into a silent packed court. Everyone in the audience looked terrified. Apparently they had already been bullied into silence, terrified to make a sound or move. The judge was not yet on the bench.
As I opened the rail, a bailiff angrily shouted across the courtroom at me. “TAKE A SEAT. HIS HONOR WILL BE OUT SOON!”
Without thinking I shouted back at the startled bailiff at the exact level the bailiff had shouted at me,
“OK I AM TAKING A SEAT!”
The bailiff glared at me. I looked back.
I am more than sick of the rough manner in which some bailiffs and court personnel start each day by bullying and shouting at the accused. And you know what? We dont have to put up with this. There are rules.
Canon 3 B.(4) of the Texas Judicial Canons says that a judge should be “patient, dignified and courteous to litigants”. This same Canon says that a judge should require similar conduct of staff and court officials subject to the judge’s control. Basically, all this discourteous behavior by these screaming bailiffs and court personnel is in direct violation of the judicial Canons. Restated, the judges are in daily violation of the Canons when they let their staff abuse the accused.
How about we point out the Canon and encourage a cultural change? Judges, if your staffs continue to abuse the public each morning, we will file complaints on you with the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
We dont want to do that. Instead, why don’t you judges encourage a little civility? How about the Bailiffs get a little lesson in manners and setting a tone of fairness. Some bailiffs, the more self-assured one’s, already act with civility. Their conduct can serve as a role model for their less civil colleagues.
How about we encourage the judges to make their bailiff’s started Court this way:
“Good Morning Everyone. You are in County Criminal Court #83, Judge Jack Hammer presiding. Before his Honor comes out I need to share with you some of the rules of court. Please pay attention as these rules apply to everyone. Please turn off your phone.Please tuck in your shirt. Please…”
You get the picture.
The culture of the courthouse does not have to be one of daily verbal abuse. Isn’t there enough misery with people going to prison? How about we talk to the judiciary in the year ahead and encourage them to require that their bailiff’s act with civility. If they’re going to make people come to court for unnecessary settings, they can at least be civil.
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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