In a case with possible implications for Texas, two men faced charges in August 2013 for switching bar codes on merchandise in Home Depot stores in a minimum of 20 states and then selling the items on the Internet. The pair allegedly committed the federal charges of mail fraud and wire fraud over four years and caused possible losses to the company of more than $1.3 million.
After the trial court determined a defendant is indigent, there is never a finding that he could re-pay any of the costs of court-appointed counsel subsequent to the conclusion of his case; there is then no basis for a determination that defendant could pay the fees. Cates v. State, No. PD-0861-12 (Tex.Crim.App. June 26, 2013).
In Texas, defense counsel can not be ineffective for not objecting to the State's actions which the Court of Appeals has previously held were not error. Ex parte Skeleton (04-12-0066-CR).
A large number of guns, ammunition and gun scopes were reported stolen sometime late at night on July 10 or early in the morning on July 11 from the Pigeon Road Shooting Range. The cost of the stolen weaponry was reported to be in the thousands of dollars.
In Trevino v. Thaler, No. 11-10189, vacating the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4, rules that the exception recognized in Martinez v. Ryan, extends to states, Texas in this instance, that do not require prisoners to raise all ineffective assistance of counsel claims in state habeas proceedings. Martinez excused procedural default of an ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim because Arizona law barred petitioner from raising it on direct appeal. Here, a majority decides that in states that have a procedural framework that, by reason of its design and operation, makes it highly unlikely in a typical case that a defendant will have a meaningful opportunity to raise an ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim on direct appeal, the exception recognized in Martinez applies. The majority's decision draws two vigorous dissents. (taken from BAFFC, Mary Douglass, 6/3/13)
Texas residents who watch crime dramas on television may be well aware that the routine collection of DNA is a powerful tool for law enforcement, and the United States Supreme Court has just upheld the practice in its 5-4 ruling in the case of King v. Maryland. The case was solved when police collected the defendant's DNA six years after the original alleged offense when he was charged with a separate violent crime. Justice Kennedy voted with the majority and said it was in keeping with the interest of "identifying" people in a timely manner. The state claims to use collected DNA only for identification.
The Texas legislature may be faced with considering a new law to lower the current drunk-driving blood alcohol content threshold from .08 to .05 if it follows recent recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB has recommended that all states lower the BAC limit so that a DUI charge could be made at a much lower intoxication level, as well as giving police the right to confiscate licenses from those who fail field sobriety tests.
Federal authorities have revealed that a four-year investigation recently came to fruition when officers arrested a number of alleged gang members. An unsealed federal indictment names 32 individuals that now face criminal charges, including 17 former correctional officers for the Texas Criminal Justice Department.The crime ring allegedly sold stolen vehicles to members of Mexican cartels, with the assistance of corrections officers at the McConnell Unit in Beeville. Four of the former employees are charged with drug offenses while the remaining 13 face racketeering charges. A total of 29 individuals were taken into custody as a result of the investigation.
The state of Texas reportedly leads the nation in the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving. Anyone who is caught and charged with DUI or DWI can face fines, jail time, the loss of their driver's license or other long-term consequences.
According to investigators, a man was beaten, kidnapped and murdered after being accused of stealing a PlayStation. Two males, 17 and 21, are expected to face criminal charges in the case after being arrested on suspicion of killing the victim and leaving his body in the vicinity of a nearby golf course.