Tim Cole Commission sets up guidelines to reduce wrongful convictions

Timothy Cole was wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting a student at Texas Tech University in 1985 and maintained he was innocent until he died in prison in 1999.

The commission created in Cole’s name first came to life during the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature and was dismantled on December 1, 2016 after a final report was presented to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Legislature, and the Texas Judicial Council. Cory Session, Cole’s brother, said the commission was instituted to perform specific tasks. Session noted, “The design behind the exoneration review commission is … to have those people on there ahead of time instead of us just showing up at a committee hearing and then somebody shooting it down.”

According to a report from the commission, faulty eyewitness identification was the number one cause of wrongful convictions in Texas since 2010. Furthermore, a survey of 850 law enforcement agencies showed 68.2% of them record interrogations while 38.1% do not. According to the Lubbock Police Department, “Interviews should be video recorded when possible. When video recording is unavailable, interviews should be audio recorded; when audio recording is unavailable, a written statement should be obtained.”

Everyone has the right to be legally represented in court, so obtain the legal services of our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter by calling our Dallas offices today at (214) 845-7007.

Execution of Dallas child murderer stayed

Dallas resident John Battaglia, who was convicted of shooting and killing his two daughters on May 2, 2001, will not face execution on Saturday, December 10. Instead, he received a reprieve, and his execution will happen no earlier than February 2017, as ruled by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday, December 2.

Battaglia’s attorneys argued their client was not mentally competent to face execution. Both the state of Texas and Battaglia’s legal counsel have 60 days to prove their claims until the courts decide whether Battaglia will die by lethal injection or not. Court documents showed that Battaglia shot his daughters eight times in his loft in Deep Ellum shortly after his divorce from his wife, Mary Jean Pearle, who was processing a request to have Battaglia’s probation for assault revoked.

If you have been charged with a crime in Dallas or another area in Texas, do not hesitate to enlist the legal services of our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter by calling our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

Johnny Manziel may have domestic violence charges against him dropped

Twenty-three-year-old Johnny Manziel, the Heisman trophy winner from Texas A&M University and former NFL quarterback, appeared at the Dallas County courthouse on Thursday, November 17. Manziel’s lawyers are hopeful that the domestic violence charge lodged against him by an ex-girlfriend could be dismissed.

According to reports, Manziel would have to agree to specific terms that he will have to stringently follow during a six month period. If he is not able to do so, he will be back in court to face the original misdemeanor family violence charge. Criminal defense attorney Pete Schulte, who is not involved in the case, explained why these offers are generally made and given to defendants. Schulte says “either the alleged victim is not on board with actually prosecuting and going to trial or they’ve talked to the alleged victim and they believe that this is the best way to handle the case.”

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Dallas or another area in Texas, you should protect your reputation by hiring the legal services at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter. Find out more about our services by calling our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

2 sentenced to jail terms in East Texas crime ring case

Dustin Kyle Garcia and Christopher Lee Chambers both pleaded guilty on Thursday, November 10 to charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.

In a statement released on Monday, November 14, the Hopkins County District Attorney’s Office in Texas said, “In November 2015, Garcia and Chambers stole approximately $80,000 worth of All-Terrain Vehicles from Nortex Tractor in Sulphur Springs. Another co-defendant, whose case is still pending, also participated directly in the theft.”

According to investigations by detectives, to carry out the burglary from Sulphur Springs, Garcia and Chambers hotwired a U-Haul truck in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area and stole three all-terrain vehicles in two trips. A detective with the Fort Worth Police gang intelligence unit said Garcia is a member of the criminal street gang “Tango Blast.” He was formerly convicted of multiple felonies, such as aiding and abetting others in interstate commerce of monies in excess of $5,000; two counts of burglary of a building; engaging in organized crime; and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter provide legal services for our clients in Dallas and other areas in Texas. We handle criminal defense cases, including driving under the influence and driving while impaired, theft, and robbery. Call our offices today at (214) 845-7007 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team.

Texas mother shot dead by husband after filing restraining order

39-year-old El Rey Gonzalez killed his estranged wife, 41-year-old Elva Gonzalez, by shooting her on the front lawn of her house in Baytown. The Harris County incident happened last Sunday, October 30, one day after she filed a restraining order against him.

According to preliminary investigations, their two children – who were aged 16 and 21 – called 911 to report an intruder in their house at approximately 6 p.m. that day. The intruder turned out to be El Rey, who was able to convince Elva to come out to the porch and have a conversation with him. She was shot when she stepped out onto the lawn. Police officers were able to shoot and wound El Rey when they arrived at the scene of the crime. El Rey is a registered sex offender who had prior convictions for assault, and gun and drug possession.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter extend their sincerest thoughts and condolences to the family of the victim in this tragedy.

Former Trinity Meadows Intermediate School teaching aide arrested

Jeffrey Scott Miller, 52, was one of eight men taken into custody for charges of online solicitation of a minor in Rockwall by the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Miller lost his job as a Trinity Meadows Intermediate School teaching aide a a result of the incident.

Investigators who posed as children were solicited by all eight men. Miller admitted to communicating in a sexual manner with who he thought was a 35-year-old woman and her 14-year-old daughter and going to Rockwall to have sex with both of them. According to a statement released by Keller ISD: “Keller ISD is committed to eliminating predators from the ranks of the education profession. As such, the District terminated a Trinity Meadows Intermediate School employee Friday morning [October 21] following an arrest by the Texas Attorney General’s Office for solicitation of a minor on the internet. The offense did not occur at school or involve KISD students, we have no indication that this employee was involved in any prior criminal acts, and a review of the individual’s employment file, references, and background checks reveal no prior concerns.”

Anyone charged with a criminal offense – whether guilty or not – has the right to a fair day in court and proper judicial proceedings. If you are charged with a criminal offense in Dallas or another area in Texas, seek the legal representation of our attorneys at the [firm-name] by calling our offices today at [phone-number].

Teen charged with first-degree felony aggravated assault

The Austin Police Department reported that 17-year-old Brandon Trybendis attacked his mother’s boyfriend with a knife on Friday, October 14 at around 9 at night. The incident occurred at their home in the 6300 block of Smith Oak Trail after his mother and her boyfriend got into a fight.

According to court documents, Trybendis’ mother and her boyfriend started arguing after the boyfriend came to their house heavily intoxicated. The boyfriend then began assaulting Trybendis’ mother and his brother, so Trybendis brandished a knife and stabbed the boyfriend in the back multiple times. Trybendis was charged with aggravated assault (family violence), a first-degree felony, and the boyfriend was taken to a hospital with critical injuries.

We at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter provide strong, solid defenses to obtain favorable outcomes for the cases of our clients who get charged with a criminal offense in Dallas. Learn more about our legal services by calling our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

Ethan Couch’s attorneys say his case should be in civil court

Ethan Couch, the teenager from North Texas whose legal counsel argued he suffered from “affluenza” following his intoxication manslaughter charge in December 2013, was back in Tarrant County Court last Tuesday, September 27. This time, he attended a hearing to address the defense’s motion that the case against Couch should be in civil, not criminal, court.

In 2015, Couch and his mother fled to Mexico after a Twitter post showed Couch violating his parole by playing beer pong at a party. Couch was extradited back to North Texas on January 28, 2016.

Earlier this year, attorneys for Couch filed a motion that seeks to have Tarrant County Criminal Court Judge Wayne Salvant recuse himself. Salvant, who was the judge who heard Couch’s juvenile probation case after he was extradited back to Texas and ordered Couch to serve four consecutive 180-day jail terms, declined the motion and deferred the decision to a higher court. Judge David Evans was the judge tasked with hearing arguments both from the prosecution and the defense. Prosecution said the recusal motion is untimely and Couch’s case does not belong in civil court.

Having an experienced and committed criminal defense attorney by your side can help immensely as you fight off the criminal charges thrown your way. Get in touch with our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas if you are charged with a time. Discuss your case with us by calling our offices at (214) 845-7007.

Man charged with sexual communication with a minor and child pornography

Twenty-three-year-old Austin Pelletier was arrested by Special Agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in Payne County on charges of child pornography on Thursday, September 22. The charges come after Pelletier responded to a Craigslist ad made by an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children task force officer, who posed as a 14-year-old girl.

Pelletier talked in a sexually explicit manner with the undercover officer, which culminated in Pelletier sending a picture of his penis. The task force then accessed Pelletier’s computer and found child pornography on the device. Other charges Pellettier is facing include engaging in sexual communication with a minor by use of technology, and violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.

Our lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter are well-versed in the process of fighting off criminal defense charges for our clients in Dallas and other areas of Texas. Get in touch with our aggressive and competent criminal defense attorneys by calling our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

Texas man who allegedly drowned wife faces death penalty

Prosecutors in North Texas say they will ask for the death penalty against 34-year-old Rodolfo Arellano, who was accused of drowning his 28-year-old wife, Elizabeth. He tied a rope attached to heavy concrete around her neck and pushed her off a bridge into Lake Worth in Tarrant County.

According to a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office filed a notice on Friday, September 16 to seek the death penalty against Arellano, who is charged with capital murder.

Elizabeth Arellano’s remains were discovered on April 16, 2016 after authorities responded to fishermen who called in to report a potential suicide after seeing someone fall from the bridge. She and Rodolfo Arellano had already legally separated and reports showed that Elizabeth had plans to file a divorce petition from her estranged husband, who is now sitting in jail with a $500,000 bond.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter have the experience and commitment necessary to help you win your case in criminal court. Contact us today by calling our Dallas offices at (214) 845-7007.

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