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Criminal Defense Archives

Authorities seek to overturn sex assault conviction

On Dec. 18, a Texas judge recommended that a man who was convicted on child sexual assault charges have his conviction be overturned due to mistakes that were made during the criminal investigation process. The man was accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy in 2013 at an in-home day care center.

Black men receive longer sentences for same crimes: study

In Texas and across the United States, Black men can often receive longer sentences than white men, even when both are convicted of the same crime. A study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission has shown that Black men serve sentences that average 19.1 percent longer than white men convicted of similar crimes. The study reviewed sentencing and prison data from 2012 or 2016.

How race plays a role in the justice system

If a person in Texas or anywhere else in America accepts a plea, it may mean reduced penalties compared to being found guilty at trial. However, accepting a plea also means that a person has a criminal conviction on his or her record. It also may mean dealing with other consequences that come with a criminal record or spending time on probation. Furthermore, research suggests that race may play a role in what type of plea terms are offered.

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.

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.

Sessions reverses course, will increase DOJ asset seizures

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced another reversal of Obama-era criminal justice reform, against a tide of bipartisan opposition. He announced this week that he intends to increase the use of the controversial process of civil forfeiture in federal criminal cases. Moreover, he plans to reintroduce the secondary seizure by federal officials of assets seized by local police forces.

What is a crime of moral turpitude?

Any criminal conviction will have a lasting effect on your life and the opportunities you can enjoy. Even a misdemeanor can disqualify you from certain jobs and make it difficult to find housing. Some crimes are particularly problematic when they appear on your record. These offenses -- crimes of moral turpitude -- reflect actions that violate generally accepted social mores.

The nonlegal consequences of having a criminal record

When you face minor criminal charges, you may not think it is a big deal, especially if you maintain your innocence or the evidence against you is weak. However, even if you do not end up with a conviction, having a criminal record has consequences that reach beyond the courtroom for many years.