How Long Have You Handled Criminal Defense Cases in Texas?
What Types Of Cases Do You Handle? How Long Have You Been Handling Criminal Defense Cases?
We handle many types of cases here. Fort Hood, the largest military base in the free world, is located here. I have been practicing criminal law for 24 years. I went to work right out of law school for a board-certified criminal defense lawyer and that’s really what I started doing. I have been a prosecutor as well as a special prosecutor in Coryell County. I’ve tried every kind of case you could imagine. I’ve also been a prosecutor in Bell County, Texas and a chief juvenile prosecutor, so I’ve handled a lot of things. From the screening process to the presentation of cases to the jury, to the judge, and to grand juries, I’ve handled literally thousands of cases over the last 24 years.
How Do You Think Your Background As A Prosecutor Plays Into How You Handle Criminal Defense? I Would Think It Gives You A Leg Up.
It really does. It allows you to see the process from both sides. It allows you to see how statements are taken, how evidence is taken, and how judges really receive the information. When you’re a prosecutor, the only thing you’re focused on is what you’re doing for the office in front of the judge. It gives you the ability to really figure out how they receive the information and what the weak points are in your case, or how officers traditionally do things, or the training materials. It gives you a whole wealth of information that you would not have otherwise.
I Also Think If You’ve Been Practicing In The Same Area For Some Time, You Develop Some Relationships With The Prosecutors And The Judges.
Absolutely. Everybody is different. Every judge likes to do things differently in their own unique way, and so do prosecutors. You get to know who they are just by talking to them or even being in their office. Their offices are decorated with the things that they are proud of, or there are books on the shelves that they refer to from time to time, and pictures of their families and vacation spots, and everything you take in is important. Once I was in a judge’s office when we had a difference of opinion about a jury charge issue, and he reached up and picked up a book from his bookshelf that was an obscure title in those days. I went out and bought that book the very first day because I knew that’s the one he relied on. I would have never known that unless I was in his office. So after that, when I wanted to tell that judge something, I could tell him the page that he could find it on in that book, and it really helped me understand what he wanted to see based on the text and the comment notes at the bottom of the page.
Does That Give You A Little Insight Into Who You’re Dealing With?
Yes. That’s really what we do as lawyers. Information is the best thing. If I am representing somebody, I want to go and see them. I want to know who they are. I want to see what pictures they have on their walls. I want to see how they prepare their own home. Where do people interact? Where do they sit? Are they kitchen people or are they living room people? How social are they? I can tell this by looking at how they arrange themselves and their house. Where have they been? How do they think? What are they proud of?
It’s the same thing as dealing with a professional. If I have an expert who is going to testify in a case, particularly if he’s going to testify for the other side, I don’t want to meet with him outside, and I don’t want to meet with him in the lobby; I want to meet with him in his office. You’ll see some of the older prosecutors refuse to meet with some people in their office because they don’t want to give away much information about who they are and where they come from.
You can even pick up a lot from looking at their walls and seeing where they went to school, particularly if it’s a situation where you’re in the same timeframe within 5 or 6 years either way from when they started or when they finished law school. You know who they learned from and how they processed that information.
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