Acquittal Definition Means Not Guilty

What Does an Acquittal Mean for You? An acquittal means that you were criminally charged with an offense, but the court found that you were not guilty, generally as a result of a lack of evidence. This is an important distinction from a dismissal, for example, because an acquittal means the state cannot refile the charge or appeal the innocence finding. When a person is acquitted of an offense, they are legally freed by a court and protection against “double jeopardy” takes effect. Double jeopardy is a Constitutional right that prevents the government from filing criminal charges against you for the same offense multiple times. The government only gets one bite at the apple, so to speak. Whether double jeopardy […]

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Commies Beware, Chapter 557 of the Texas Government Code is Here

Commies Beware… Chapter 557 of the Texas Government Code is Here! I recently re-watched the 1984 film Red Dawn in which a group of scrappy Midwestern adolescents led by Patrick Swayze band together in the wilderness to battle it out against invading Russian Communists, hell bent on subduing the land of the free and home of the brave. The film is honestly worth re-watching if for no other reason than to see just how little regard is given to plot or character development. Spoiler alert: within the first five minutes the Commies have boots on the ground and the high school English teacher is dead. Watching Red Dawn today, the film makes hardly any sense, particularly to those who didn’t […]

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Is it illegal to spank a child in Texas?

Spanking Your Children in Texas Spanking children falls under the Texas law prohibiting “Injury to a Child” located in the Texas Penal Code. Spanking a child (under 15 years old) is a Third Degree Felony if the spanking causes any amount of pain. Of course, the purpose of a spanking is to cause pain, so a child will associate painful consequences with a bad choice. Spanking a child can land a person in prison (different than jail) up to a 10 years and cost up to $10,000 in fines. Now you are wondering, “Why aren’t all Texas parents in prison for spanking?” That question has several answers. First, it is a defense if the person spanking the child is a […]

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Information on Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, TX

Texas Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, TX The Texas Constitution Article V creates the judicial branch of Texas government. The Constitution specifically references “Court of Appeals,” but the number and composition of the courts is left to the Texas Legislature to determine. The Second Court of Appeals was originally created by the Legislature in 1891. The original three “intermediate appellate courts” were Number 1 (Galveston), Number 2 (Fort Worth), and Number 3 (Austin). At that time, these courts did not have criminal jurisdiction, and criminal appeals went directly to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. However, in 1981 these intermediate appellate courts were vested with jurisdiction in criminal appeals (other than death penalty cases). Tex. Const. Art. V […]

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Strength Through Unity Event | February 17, 2016 | Fort Worth, TX

Panel Discussion of Police and Community Relations If you have not already made plans to attend, please make plans to join us tonight (Wednesday February 17, 2016) at Texas A&M School of Law from 6pm-8pm. Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney Cody Cofer will serve as the panel’s criminal law expert. TYLA has flown in our speaker/consultant. A film crew will be present to document the presentation, so the presentation can be shown to other cities. Hopefully, other cities decide to host their own “town hall meeting.” Most of the presentation will be a “fly by the seat of the pants” discussion lead by the consultant. He will guide the discussion a video and skits. Then the panel will interact with […]

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Is Texas selling its death penalty drug?

The State of Texas Death Drug Dealer Two weeks ago Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip’s execution was delayed with just hours to spare so an Oklahoma court could consider his appeal. This week the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Glossip’s appeal and his execution is now scheduled for today. Today’s execution date is the third one this year for Glossip. His January execution date was delayed when the United State’s Supreme Court decided to hear Glossip’s case and then later upheld Oklahoma’s execution protocol. Oklahoma uses a three drug cocktail for is executions–midazolam, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. In recent years, state’s where the death penalty is still handed down have struggled to find pharmaceutical companies that will […]

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Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

What Does Prove Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Mean? Evidence in Texas Criminal Cases If a person is charged with a crime they are “presumed innocent” and can only be convicted when the prosecution proves the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Even though a person has been accused, arrested, jailed, or charged with a crime – a jury is not supposed to assume a person has done something wrong. One jury member may need more evidence than another jury member to be convinced “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, a lawyer cannot tell jury members that they should require more evidence to be convinced “beyond a reasonable doubt” based on how serious a case is. The United State’s Supreme Court has decided […]

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Legislative Changes to Protective Orders and Family Violence Laws

Texas Legislators Update and Toughen Protective Order and Family Violence Laws September 1, 2015 marked the beginning of some significant changes to Texas laws, including the Family Code, Penal Code, and Code of Criminal Procedure. In practice, this means crimes committed after this date will be prosecuted by these new sets of laws (while crimes committed before September 1 will still be prosecuted using the old laws). There are a number of important changes dealing with protective orders and family violence that you should be aware of. Definition of “Applicant” for Protective Orders Expanded First, Senate Bill 817 makes changes to protective order applications, and makes it clear that trafficking activities amount to family violence. Previously, the “victim” was named […]

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Family Violence, Guns, Revenge Porn and other new laws

TEXAS NEW LAW TUESDAY September 1 marks the start of over 500 new laws in Texas that will affect your life. Every September following a Texas Legislative Session, hundreds of new laws hit the books and take effect, while numerous more won’t take effect until January 1. The 84th Texas Legislature was busy in Austin earlier this year and now it’s time for Texans to see the results. Many of the laws are subtle changes that you may not even take notice of, but other are more dramatic and will cause you to stop and take notice. Here are just a few highlights of changes to Texas law. TRUANCY House Bill 2398 has decriminalized truancy in Texas. Now if your […]

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New Family Violence and Sexual Assault Data Task Force

2015 Task Force to Collect Family Violence and Sexual Assault Data Texas created a task force to “promote uniformity in collection and reporting of information” related to the history of family violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. The 85th Legislature determined that family violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking are common occurrences in Texas. Legislators are concerned that Texas does not have reliable data related to the actual frequency of these crimes. They identified the reason Texas does not have reliable data regarding family violence and sexual assault is that Texas state and local agencies do not have uniform procedures for collecting and reporting the data. The problem also relates to a system that splinters the responsibility and […]

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