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
People say I am unforgiving. Sometimes that is true. When the damage done is for a lifetime and when it’s done to the poorest among us by those who should have known better, then I am unforgiving.
I am unforgiving to those who for a time sat on county criminal benches in Harris County. I am unforgiving of those who systematically denied PR bonds to the poor. For years in this county, fifteen county criminal court judges systematically denied PR bonds. The result was the “Plea Mill”. It worked as follows: The poor who were too poor to hire a bondsman to get out of jail, remained in jail. The poor remained in jail because the fifteen county criminal court judges systematically denied the poor PR bonds. The poor who were stuck in jail then had a choice which was no choice at all; a Hobson’s Choice.
The poor could plead guilty and get out of jail soon or they could fight their case and sit in jail for months awaiting trial. Given this non-choice, the vast majority of poor people chose to plead guilty.They plead guilty to get out of jail sooner rather than later. They plead guilty not because they were guilty. They plead guilty as it was the quickest way to obtain their liberty.
Eventually, this vile plea mill system lead to the overdue and well-deserved federal lawsuit. Judge Lee Rosenthal found the system was rotten to the core. During the course of the lawsuit, under the leadership of Judge Darrell Jordan, things finally changed for the better. The newly elected Democratic county criminal court judges, implemented local rule 9.1 which favored the granting of PR Bonds. The new judges put an end to their predecessor’s systematic denial of Pr bonds and the resulting Plea Mill. Now poor people, charged in our county criminal court, are given Pr bonds. They no longer have to plead guilty in order to get out of jail. They get out of jail without first having to plead guilty to a crime they may or may not have committed. Their lawyers have a chance to help them and they have a chance to walk away without a conviction. So why won’t I forgive the fifteen county criminal judges who imposed the plea mill? Why won’t I forgive the judges who systematically denied PR bonds? Because those who fell victim to the plea mill, have still not recieved justice. In fact, they are routinely re-victimized by the plea mill. As a direct result of the Plea Mill, many poor people’s criminal records are forever stained with a conviction they do not deserve. They have a conviction for a crime they did not commit. While the system has changed, the undeserved convictions remain.
Thousands upon thousands of our mostly poor fellow Houstonians carry these undeserved convictions as part of their life. What is the impact? It is hard to say. No doubt many Have missed out on job opportunities. Those who are poor have a harder time pulling themselves out of poverty with a conviction on their record. Many have likely found themselves stuck in poverty because they cannot advance with the stain of a criminal conviction. This is particularly true for those with convictions for theft offenses or other crimes involving moral turpitude. Poor people who were not guilty of theft, but nonetheless pled guilty in order to get out of jail will pay for that choice for the rest of their lives. The Plea Mill, permanently damaged the criminal records of many Houstonians. For these people, there is no relief from the injustice of the undeserved conviction. To relate to this, how would you feel if your entire life you were stuck with a theft conviction that you did not deserve? How would you feel if you were poor and when you applied for jobs, you routinely were denied job opportunities because of an undeserved theft conviction? And what of the judges who systematically denied Pr bonds? What of the judges whose illegal and immoral actions created and perpetuated the Plea Mill? Are their lives stained in any way?
No, of course not. Have they had to pay for their systematic denial of Pr bonds and the lasting negative impact it has had on the lives of thousands of poor people? No, there is no cost to them. So, I reserve the right to not forgive these former judges for the injustice they inflicted on our fellow Houstonians. And periodically, I will voice my disdain for them and my contempt for what they did. They disgraced their bench and they betrayed the oath they took. The poor who ended up with undeserved convictions will continue to be re-victimized by the Plea Mill, every time they do not get a job because of their undeserved conviction. So others may forgive and forget; I will do neither.
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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