Category: Law

  • Law Geek: Retroactivity of Padilla v. Kentucky

    When I read Padilla v. Kentucky, I didn’t give much thought to the question, but after hearing considerable debate among smart lawyers of whether the rule in that case (that counsel is ineffective for not telling the defendant about clear immigration consequences before a guilty plea) is retroactive, I took a closer look at the […]

  • 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 […]

  • Legal Sufficiency and Proof

    A rookie lawyer mistake that I see even experienced lawyers on both sides of the criminal bar make is this: confusing “legally sufficient evidence” with “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”. The prosecutor points to a case saying that similar evidence was legally sufficient as proof that the accused will be convicted; the defense lawyer acquiesces […]

  • Probation Eligibility in Texas

    A Texas judge can give deferred-adjudication probation to a person pleading guilty unless: (1) the defendant is charged with an offense: (A) under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code [DWI offenses]; or (B) for which punishment may be increased under Section 481.134(c), (d), (e), or (f), Health and Safety Code [Drug-Free Zone], if it is shown that […]

  • Do You Love the Law?

    Are you passionate about the law? Do you think the law is a beautiful thing? Do you adore it? Not I. The law is a street fight. It’s trench warfare. There’s nothing beautiful about it. It’s inelegant, messy and dangerous. Sometimes the right side loses. Often everyone loses. Our justice system’s the worst possible — […]