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San Antonio Criminal Defense Blog

Texas man charged with murder of ex-wife

A 44-year-old Texas man is facing charges of first-degree murder after his ex-wife's body was discovered. The 37-year-old woman disappeared as Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, and her body was found in Chambers County. She was last seen on Aug. 25 in her boyfriend's living room. She left to go pick up her children from her ex-husband with whom she shared custody. Her family became alarmed when after she sent some text messages, they did not hear from her again.

On Aug. 29, in a Motel 6's flooded parking lot, her car was found unlocked with the keys inside. Although the hurricane had hit three days earlier, police said they did not believe the disappearance was hurricane-related. They said they thought that the person who abandoned the car had hoped someone would take it.

Why you need an experienced lawyer to deal with DUI charges

Many people tend to underestimate the gravity of what they consider to be minor criminal charges. After all, they reason, this is just a DUI and nobody got hurt. They feel finding and retaining a highly qualified defense attorney could be a waste of time and money.

This line of thinking can ultimately land you in more trouble than you think. A conviction can have many ramifications most people do not know to anticipate.

Man accused of transporting cocaine between cities

On Sept. 8, a Texas man was taken into custody after he was accused of transporting cocaine between Austin and Houston. Authorities had reportedly known about the 38-year-old man and had been receiving information about his role in a potential drug trafficking organization for some time.

According to the arrest affidavit, the drugs were brought into the country through Houston and were then transported to Austin for the purpose of being distributed. During an investigation, the authorities reportedly learned that the accused man was at the center of the alleged drug trafficking operation. They eventually took him into custody when he stopped at a Bastrop gas station and entered a convenience store.

2 who pleaded guilty to meth distribution sentenced

On Aug. 28, a Texas judge sentenced two people on charges associated with a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Four others who had been accused of having roles in the conspiracy were sentenced earlier in August after pleading guilty in April.

According to the court documents, agents with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted an investigation into a suspected drug ring. The alleged conspiracy reportedly involved individuals from a number of cities in the Texas Panhandle, including Amarillo, Lubbock and Plainview. The investigation involved multiple undercover drug purchases and searches of several residential homes. Ultimately, the agents seized about 10 pounds of methamphetamine, about $20,000 in cash and nine firearms.

Woman convicted of stabbing husband gets 27 years in prison

On Aug. 24, a Texas woman who was convicted for stabbing her husband and then staging a home invasion was sentenced to 27 years in prison. Throughout the trial and the sentencing, the woman's attorney continued to maintain her innocence. The husband was reportedly found stabbed to death while the woman, the man's wife, was found tied up in a closet the next day.

During the woman's trial, the prosecution claimed that the convicted woman stabbed her husband. However, no forensic evidence was ever provided for the jury. The only motive was that the woman stood to collect $500,000 on a life insurance policy. The prosecution also suggested that the woman, who was a Jehovah's Witness, wanted to avoid a divorce due to her religion. It was also noted that the lead detective in the case was actually fired for backdating a search warrant in another case.

Appeals court limits warrants to search homes for cellphones

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals may not have jurisdiction over Texas, but the court is considered highly influential. For one, it's located in the District and has traditionally been a place presidents look for potential Supreme Court nominees. For another, it holds sway over many of the actions of federal agencies. Texas and the Fifth Circuit are likely to give the D.C. Circuit's opinions a great deal of weight in their own considerations.

That's why it's interesting to us here that the D.C. Circuit just threw out one man's conviction even though the evidence against him was obtained via a search warrant. That warrant, the court held, was far too broad to be constitutional.

Prosecutors seek to end injustice of Harris County's bail system

In April, a federal judge in Houston struck down Harris County's bail system on the grounds that it is unjust to the poor. The reason is that the county requires cash bonds for misdemeanors, which many low-income defendants simply can't afford. The judge ruled it was unconstitutional for people to be held in jail simply because they can't afford bail and ordered the release of some misdemeanor defendants.

Unfortunately, Harris County appealed that ruling, claiming its system is fully constitutional and that each U.S. county has the right to determine the conditions of bail and pre-trial release.

Why it is so important for you to protect your record

Many people in San Antonio do not realize the importance of maintaining a clean criminal record. Some individuals who already have charges and convictions may feel that they do not have any recourse to clear their records. Others are in the process of doing things that can lead to criminal charges and convictions. They do not realize how much of an impact their criminal records have on their lives. Often, arrests are just as damaging as convictions. 

Even if you do not have a criminal record, you should review why it is so important for you to protect it. 

DOJ begins working group to set standards for forensic testimony

The U.S. Department of Justice announced recently that it will reopen work on setting federal standards on the appropriate way for analysts to testify about forensic evidence and techniques.

In 2015, the DOJ added confirmation to the case against exaggerated forensic testimony that had long been in the making. Following an extensive review of hundreds of trial transcripts where FBI hair analysts testified, the agency found that the analysts had overstated the validity of microscopic hair analysis in at least 90 percent of the cases.

Task Force on Crime Reduction urges caution on marijuana policy

The president's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appears not to be ready to crack down on marijuana in an effort to reduce violent crime. Although its recommendations have not been made public, the Associated Press associated portions of them. The group has instead urged caution on making big changes to federal marijuana policy, especially when it comes to challenging states' rights to decriminalize the drug.

The task force is meant to address violent crime, and its report appears mostly to reiterate current Justice Department policy. More study is needed, it says, before any Obama-era policies should be swept away. Moreover, it recommends the Justice Department work collaboratively with states and other federal agencies to address some of the chronic problems experienced by the legal cannabis industry.