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
Last week I came through the tunnels to get to into the criminal courthouse. I waited with a growing number of folks in line for one of the two elevators in the basement of the criminal court. A young guy with a juror badge stood behind me. After we had all waited for some time, a guy who I have seen before strolled up. I believe is a lawyer. He was in line about 5 people behind me.
The individual, whom I will hereafter refer to as “the Guy” immediately moved up to chat with a woman he knew who was about 2 people ahead of me.(you can see where this is going). He was quite obviously taking cuts. I was irritated over the fact he was cutting in front of half a dozen people, including a young juror and me. I had two bags and was set for trial. The Guy’s time was no more important than ours, yet there he was openly cutting in front of all of us. We had all waited patiently and without a thought he had no qualms about just stepping right in front.
The elevator door opened and the line moved forward. Without hesitating, the Guy moved forward taking advantage of his new position. The elevator quickly filled. The young juror and I had to squeeze on. The elevator was packed & some behind me did not make it. The Guy was to my immediate left. I could not help but say something. I told the Guy that it was inappropriate for him to take cuts especially in front of a juror, when we were all waiting. What followed was nothing short of a full on verbal assault. I will do my best to quote it.
In raised voice in the crowded elevator the Guy responded to me by shouting at me: “Fuck You!!! Get your Fucking Bag off me”
Although I was startled by his response, I responded. “It was wrong for you to take cuts”
Again, the Guy shouted in the packed elevator,”Shut the fuck up. Shut the fuck up!!!”
I turned to the Guy and said as calmly as I could, ” My name is Robert Fickman, what is your name?” He responded, “None of your fucking business”. He continued yelling at me to “Shut the Fuck Up”.
I got off the elevator on the 8th floor. I never once cussed. I looked at the Guy and said, ” I will see you later”. Admittedly, I had a tone, by then I had a strong desire to punch him in the mouth. As I got off the elevator he shouted “Fuck you, get the fuck off” and the women who allowed him to take cuts, joined him and shouted at me as well.
I was set for trial. It got continued. Throughout that day, I kept replaying the events as one does when lunacy strikes. I could not believe the Guy’s outrageous response. I was disappointed No one else had spoken up.
Late that night I received an anonymous email from a woman that restored my faith. This kind woman was on the elevator, witnessed what occurred, remembered my name and took the trouble to look me up and email me. Her email is below and it speaks for itself.
“Hi. I am just an anonymous person who was in the elevator today when you and another attorney(?) got into an argument. I just wanted to say that not only did that guy cut in front of your witness/juror(?) – he also cut in front of me when he did so. I’m glad you called him on it. I noticed it immediately when he walked right by us and cut ahead. I thought it not only rude but reaking of smugness and self importance. He should have admitted to doing so when you mentioned it and simply apologized instead of arguing.
No one stuck in that elevator should have had to have listened to his obscenities. He didnt give you his name for a reason: he knew you were right. Thanks for speaking up. Signed – Average Jane”
When we see wrong we have a duty to speak up. It’s not always easy. It’s not always pleasant. Quite often there is a price for speaking up. But, there is also a steep price for not speaking up. Taking cuts is no big deal. But if you don’t speak up on small things, will you speak up on something that counts? I think not speaking up in the face of wrong is dangerous to one’s self-respect.
If bad things happen around you and you don’t speak up, how are you defining yourself? Not too well. Silence in the face of wrongdoing is complicity. That’s why I am an outspoken critic of the abuses in the criminal justice system. If I am silent, I am complicit. As I view myself as a good person, I refuse to be complicit. Thus, I have no choice but to speak out. If I don’t speak out about abuses in the criminal justice system, I would lose my self-respect. My self-respect is far more important to me than having the respect of those people within the system who abuse people. I am not interested in their respect. I am interested in getting them to stop abusing people.
As for the Guy’s over the top response, he defined himself as extraordinarily rude. His shouting was the obscene verbal pout of a very small person. He was all bark, a chihuahua nipping at my heel. If he is a lawyer, he is a disgrace. I don’t know the rude Guys name, But in time I will learn it. Perhaps when I get his name, I will edit this post and insert his true name. That seems just. He should live with his conduct. In the meantime, maybe he will think twice before taking cuts.(I am not counting on that.)
More mportantly, I will keep speaking up, no matter who gets mad or how they express it. Rather than chilling my speech, the Rude Guy is just another inspiration to keep at it. People, particularly those with power, don’t like criticism. Their not liking it, their ugly responses, are irrelevant to my need to speak up.
I thank Average Jane for her good heart and for being anything but average.
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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