Category: federal criminal defense

  • Extra! Extra! Some Guy Gets a 5K1!

    From today’s Houston Chronicle—the front page: U.S. agents are armed with the secrets of a convicted Houston gunrunner, information that could lead them to top Mexican drug-cartel bosses and the Texas firearms dealers suppling high-powered weapons. [Defendant] was sentenced to three years in federal prison as a result of a plea agreement that offered leniency […]

  • A Legal Irony—Federal Firearms Law

    For my fellow law geeks: 18 USC §921, which defines terms for federal firearms crimes, defines a conviction of a “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” in terms of state law, so a Texas deferred adjudication probation for a felony is not a conviction, and does not bar firearms possession. §921’s […]

  • Criminal Defense Trial Lawyering = Chess

    Apropos of today's earlier post about collaboration (and, ultimately, strategy) in federal drug cases: Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do. —Savielly Tartakover, chess grandmaster That, and many other criminal defense chess quotes here.

  • Team Sport

    "Not a team sport." That's how the federal prosecutor described federal drug defense practice after a hearing in which two colleagues and I had shown a certain unity of purpose on behalf of our clients. Divide and separate is the name of the game for federal prosecutors (that and, I can bribe witnesses but you […]

  • More on Submission in Federal Criminal Court

    From a civilian’s comment on this post about “John R.,” the anonymous Rochester, New York personal injury lawyer who dabbles in criminal defense and scoffs at the Bill of Rights: I understand John R.’s position as it relates to United States of America jurisprudence. The legal system is heavily stacked in favor of the government […]

  • If You Lose the Will to Win, You Will Lose.

    Here's why I don't allow anonymous comments here: In my opinion there's only one way to reliably win for a criminal defendant at trial: you have some evidence that is devastating to the prosecution's case, you disguise it so that neither the judge nor the prosecutor knows what its significance is, you get it into […]

  • Know What? Never Mind.

    Why have I been repeating for three years (okay, for a lot longer than that) that lawyers should not waive detention hearings without good reason and that good reason means "because having a detention hearing will prejudice the accused"? Because better representation in a federal criminal case begins with a detention hearing, and for some […]

  • Unwaveringly Unwaiving

    Some years ago I got a call from a bureaucrat with the federal courts here in town: would I like to help handle the illegal reentry docket? By "handle the illegal reentry docket," I thought she meant, "defend people charged with illegal reentry"—I'm one of the few federal criminal-defense lawyers in Houston who speak Spanish […]

  • Back to Federal Court

    I believe strongly that federal criminal trials can be won—the Government, while powerful, is not omnipotent. Because of this belief, I have tried more federal criminal cases than state misdemeanor cases; my first jury trial ever was a bank robbery case in Lee Rosenthal's court. Some years ago, I aspired for a brief time to […]

  • Racehorse in Conflict

    Given how I feel about lawyers representing defendants with conflicts, I was a bit disturbed to read this piece (Lisa Falkenberg) about Richard “Racehorse” Haynes being accused of conflicted representation in a federal drug case. Richard’s client, Dong Huynh, sentenced to 22 years in prison, alleges that Richard had a conflict of interest because Dong […]