Texas appeals court stayed fourteen executions in 2015

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued fourteen stays of execution in 2015, almost twice as many as in any other year. Three new judges served on the appeals court bench last year after being elected in 2014: Bert Richardson, Kevin Yeary, and David Newell.

Of the fourteen stays issued in 2015, two were rescheduled and later carried out, according to data from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and yearly reports from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has established a reputation for being hard on criminals, however experts have noted that the stays granted in 2015 likely indicate a shift in state and national attitudes towards the death penalty. On a national scale, the 28 executions carried out in 2015 represent the fewest number in the past 24 years. While it’s true that almost half of those occurred in Texas, the decline is still evident. According to Lee Kovarsky, a law professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey who has been involved in Texas death penalty cases, “You’re seeing a national trend show up in state-level decision-making.”

At the [firm-name], our legal team of criminal defense attorneys will do everything in our power to protect your rights if you have been charged with a criminal offense. To discuss your situation with us today, call [phone-number] now.

Man on death row appeals Harris County capital murder conviction

Thirty-seven-year-old Robert Gene Will II, who has been on death row for 13 years since he was convicted of capital murder in relation to the shooting death of Harris County Sheriff’s Officer Barrett Hill back in 2000, claimed in a federal habeas petition, which he filed on Friday, November 27 before United States District Judge Keith Ellison, that prosecutors with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Texas have illegally withheld evidence that could exonerate him.

Case records showed that Hill and another police officer responded to a report that two men were breaking into cars at a Houston apartment complex on Dec. 4, 2000 at around 6:00 in the morning. Records state that the officers found Will and his partner at the scene, at which point the officers chased the two men into a wooded area nearby. It was in this field that authorities claim Will shot and killed Officer Hill.

Will claims that Harris County prosecutors pursued this line of argument with only circumstantial evidence backing them up.

Twelve Texas inmates have already been executed this year, more than any other state.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Dallas or other areas within the state of Texas, do not hesitate to contact the skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorneys at the [firm-name] to represent your interests in this process. Contact our lawyers today by calling our offices at [phone-number].

Two men arrested for DUI crimes after collisions on the same street

Two adult males have been arrested last Sunday, November 29 for driving while under the influence of alcohol and causing vehicular accidents, police officers in El Paso, Texas reported.

The men arrested were identified as Justin Estes and Andrew Gonzalez, who caused accidents on the 8900 block of Gateway East in the Lower Valley.

According to a preliminary investigation, the first crash happened at around 2:00 in the morning when Estes caused a two-vehicular collision around the area. Estes allegedly attempted to drive away from the collision, but officers were able to stop him before a chase began.

While police officers were working to document the first crash, Gonzalez, who was driving along that same stretch of road, crashed into a police car that was parked near the area and had its emergency lights on.

Estes and Gonzalez were charged with driving while intoxicated.

Every American has the right to adequate legal representation when facing criminal charges. If you have found yourself dealing with serious charges related to driving while intoxicated, contact the [firm-name] by calling [phone-number] to speak to a criminal defense attorney about your situation right away.

Defense, prosecution rest in trial of South by Southwest car crash case

Both the prosecution and the defense rested their cases in the trial of 23-year-old Rashed Owens, who is accused of killing four pedestrians when he struck them with the vehicle he was driving during an attempt to evade police officers during last year’s South by Southwest film, media, and music festival in Austin, Texas.

Owens is facing capital murder charges in the fatal vehicular accident he allegedly caused in March of 2014 when his car sped through a downtown crowd, causing the deaths of four individuals. According to prosecutors, Owens had been driving under the influence of alcohol and was speeding to avoid a traffic stop.

Owens did not testify in the court hearing last Thursday, November 6, and the defense came to a rest without calling any witnesses. Owens’s attorney maintained that it was not the defendant’s intention to hurt any person.

Austin Police Detective Richard Harrington, a crash reconstruction expert and the prosecution’s final witness that day, said surveillance footage showed that Owens had been traveling at a rate of 55 miles per hour during the incident.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Dallas or other areas in the state of Texas, contact the attorneys at the [firm-name] by calling [phone-number] to speak to legal representative about building your defense today.

Man convicted of murder based on bite mark evidence now free from jail

Fifty-nine-year-old former construction worker Steven Mark Chaney was released from jail at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Texas on Monday, October 12 after serving more than 25 years in prison for a murder conviction back in 1987. However, Chaney is not yet fully exonerated of murder. He still has to undergo another trial in order for the formal exoneration to happen.

Back in 1987, Chaney was convicted of the murder of John and Sally Sweek based on the testimony of dentist Jim Hales, who told the jury that there was a “1 to a million” chance that a person other than Chaney could have left the bite marks that were found on John Sweek’s arm. Prosecutors alleged that Chaney murdered the drug dealing couple in order to avoid paying a substantial debt.

Since the conviction, Hales has stated that the science used to make that conclusion regarding the bite marks has changed, invalidating his testimony. The Dallas District Attorney’s Office then concluded that the bite mark evidence was erroneous.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Dallas, do not hesitate to get in touch with our attorneys at the [firm-name] to let us help you build a strong legal defense. Call our office today at [phone-number] to learn more.

Widow, stepdaughter accused of March 2007 murder of Texas man

The Clifton Police Department in Texas on Friday, September 18 has charged Texas resident John Wesley Frizzell’s widow, Waco resident Sharon Allman, and stepdaughter, Hillsboro resident Misty Lynn Glenn, of murder in connection to Frizzell’s 2011 killing- four years after he was found shot to death.

According to Clifton Police Chief Trace Hendricks, Allman and Glenn are believed to have conspired to kill Frizzell.

When police responded at the home of the victim to a domestic violence call in March 2007, they found Frizzell with a gunshot wound to the head and Glenn’s younger sister unconscious. They concluded at the time that Frizell’s death had been a suicide.

Each and every one of us, whether guilty or not of a criminal charge, deserves the right to legal counsel and a fair trial in court. As it is, we at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas promise to fulfill our duties to our criminal defense clients with zeal, enthusiasm, diligence, and the utmost competence. Call our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

Hobbit, Spartacus actor Manu Bennett arrested in San Antonio for assault

Forty-five-year-old actor Manu Bennett was taken into police custody in San Antonio, Texas and was charged with assault after he was accused of getting into a drunken fist fight with a man at a party for the Alamo City Comic Convention in a downtown Grand Hyatt hotel room on Saturday, September 12.

According to the police report made by the San Antonio police, Bennett was asked to leave the party after allegedly having too much to drink and causing a scene.

Bennett was released from prison at around 1 p.m. the following day.

Bennett is most known for his portrayal of Azog the Defiler in The Hobbit trilogy, the Gallic gladiator Crixus in the Starz television series, Spartacus, and a supervillain in the CW television series, Arrow.

Violent crime charges such as assault can negatively impact a person’s career and personal life. If you have had the misfortune of being charged with such an offense in Dallas or other areas in Texas, hire the legal services of our competent and aggressive attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today by calling our offices at (214) 845-7007.

Two former Austin police officers charged for pregnant woman’s killing

Thirty-one-year-old former Austin, Texas police officer VonTrey Clark, primary suspect in the Feb. 4, 2015 murder of his pregnant girlfriend, 29-year-old Samantha Dean, was extradited last Wednesday, September 2 from Indonesia to the United States and was charged with capital murder.

According to police authorities, Clark and 31-year-old fellow former Austin police officer Kevin Watson, were said to have been friends for a long time, planned and orchestrated Dean’s killing.

According to Bastrop County police officials during a press conference last Thursday, September 3, Watson is currently detained in Houston. Online jail documents did not show if Watson has an attorney or not.

After 35 years in prison without a conviction, man gets retrial

A Texas court is finally starting the process for a retrial of Jerry Hartfield, a man who has been in prison for over 35 years, even though the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his conviction in 1980 on a 1976 murder charge.

The murder in question involves the death of 55-year-old Eunice Lowe, a ticketing agent at a Bay City bus station in – a charge that had him initially sentenced for execution. Hartfield returned to court last Monday, August 10 for a retrial and would serve a life sentence if found guilty of killing Lowe, who had been found beaten with a pickax, stabbed with a soda glass bottle, robbed, and raped.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas can assist you if you are facing a criminal charge.  To discuss the particulars of your case with a member of our legal team, feel free to call our Dallas office at (214) 845-7007.

Freed Texas sex offender may find himself behind bars again

Sixty-year-old Rodney Steve Haines, a sexual offender currently living in Helotes, Texas, told Montgomery County jurors in the civil hearing that had its closing arguments last Wednesday, July 29 that, “I think having sex with (children) was wrong, not right”.

Haines served a ten-year sentence and was released from prison on April 25, 2015.

Fifty-six-year-old Joseph David Miller, a convicted pedophile who was released from imprisonment on May 28, 2015 and is now a resident of Spring, Texas, is scheduled to have his commitment hearing on Monday, August 31.

Both Haines and Miller had been flagged as “high-risk” pedophiles in the state of Texas but never had the chance to undergo a commitment hearing required by state laws before release, which they are in the process of undergoing now.

Our sex crimes attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter understand how sensitive sex crime cases are; that is why we give our clients dedicated representation and put our years of experience to work for them as we try to secure the best resolution possible. Call our offices today at (214) 845-7007.