Clients always want to know the ultimate question, “Will you win my case?”
While the Texas State Bar does not allow attorneys to guarantee a result we can detail our past successes. Below we tell the stories of some of the cases we are proud to have won. Please be aware of a couple of things:
- The case results discussed do not necessarily represent the results of all cases.
- Not all cases that we have handled are listed here.
- While the facts below may seem similar to the facts of your case, the total circumstances of every case are different and we must evaluate each and every case on its own merit.
.10 BREATH TEST DWI
Client ran into neighbor’s truck and mailbox. Judge denied all motions to suppress but jury came back with Not Guilty verdict anyway.
.14 BREATH TEST DWI
DISMISSED during trial. Precinct 4, Brady issues arose before trial began.
.13 BLOOD DRAW DWI
Client from California, Judge suppressed the blood result because the State could not prove the blood drawer was qualified under Transportation Code 724.017 or that the blood was drawn properly to meet the third prong of Kelly.
.15 BLOOD DRAW DWI
DISMISSED after motion to suppress granted during trial. Blood warrant was void of any mention of Harris County in 12 different places. Probable Cause affidavit contained many false statements of officers.
.13 BREATH TEST DWI
Fort Bend County, Motion to Suppress HGN denied by Judge McMeans even though he even acknowledged that it was done completely wrong. Motion to Suppress breath test also denied even though there was a clear violation of the 15 minute observation period. The Jury saw the illegality of the officers’ actions and said Not Guilty. After trial, the jury was so disturbed by the police and DPS not following proper procedures, that they asked the Judge for the Sheriff’s contact information so they can call and complain about what poor, dishonest place work there was in this case.
.15 BLOOD DRAW DWI
Harris County. Lying officers were scolded and admonished during trial for making up Probable Cause.
.16 BLOOD DRAW DWI
Client had bond forfeited while case was pending for not being able to attend trial when Judge ordered us to be there due to his teaching job at Texas A&M University. When he finally had his day in Court, the jury said Not Guilty.
.14 BLOOD DRAW DWI
DISMISSED on day of trial after 16 continuances.
.16 BLOOD DRAW DWI
DISMISSED during trial. Client flattened light pole. Witness said she saw an angel behind my client after the accident. Blood suppressed for no Probable Cause in the warrant affidavit.
.14 BLOOD DRAW DWI
2nd offense. State could not prove the blood draw was legal under the Transportation Code. State’s expert told me after trial that is he ever got a DWI he would definitely hire me.
.10 BLOOD DRAW DWI
TK was on his way home from a friend’s apartment, where he attended a pool party and barbecue, having 4 or 5 beers throughout the course of the afternoon and evening. The police were called after he had a minor accident when the driver ahead of him braked unexpectedly. The first officer on scene noted the odor of alcohol on TK’s breath, but he did not observe any signs of impairment. In an abundance of caution, he called a DWI Task Force officer to the scene to investigate whether TK was intoxicated.
The second officer arrived and had TK perform SFST’s. The officer claimed to have observed sufficient clues on the HGN and Walk-and-Turn tests to justify arresting TK for DWI, although he passed the One Leg Stand test. He arrested TK and demanded that he take a breath test, threatening to obtain a warrant to take his blood if he did not. TK acquiesced, and his breath test result was 0.10.
Once we received the video evidence in the case, we saw the TK never exhibited a single sign of impairment. His speech and movements were all perfectly normal. He was able to explain to both officers exactly what happened, where he’d been, and give a detailed explanation of his activities for the entire day. Despite the DWI Task Force officer’s claims in his report, his bodycam footage clearly showed that TK did not exhibit any nystagmus. The dash cam footage also showed that he only exhibited one of the four clues that the Task Force officer claimed for his Walk & Turn test.
After the judge saw the video evidence at trial, he held that the officer had not seen the clues he testified to, and that there was no probable cause to arrest TK or demand his breath test. Because the breath test was illegally obtained, he suppressed that. He also held that the video conclusively showed that TK never showed any indication that he was impaired. Because the State failed to offer any admissible evidence that TK was intoxicated, he instructed the jury to find him Not Guilty.
.106 BLOOD DRAW DWI
CD was on his way home from an evening spent at a friend’s softball game and then at the friend’s home. CD and his wife had a newborn baby at home, and so CD was only sleeping 3-4 hours per night. On his way home, he realized that he was too tired to safely make it all the way to the Woodlands, where he lived, he decided to stay the night at his father’s house, which was much closer. While waiting for a red light to change, about a mile from his father’s home, he dozed off.
An officer who was on his way home after working an extra job saw CD’s truck sitting and waiting for the light. When he noticed that CD did not move for when the light turned green, he checked on CD and found him sleeping. He woke CD and called for a DWI Task Force officer. At trial, the officer who found him admitted that, although he had an odor of alcohol on his breath, CD did not show any signs of impairment. CD’s speech was mumbled for the first few minutes after the officer woke him up; however, within a minute or two, it was completely normal, and he did not appear to have any difficulty with balance or coordination.
When the task force officer arrived, he interviewed CD and had him perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The video evidence showed that CD’s speech and movements were normal, and he showed no signs of impairment. After having CD perform the SFST’s, the Task Force officer claimed he saw enough clues of intoxication to justify arresting him and demanding a breath or blood sample. When CD declined, the officer sought a search warrant, placing the SFST results he claimed to have seen in a sworn affidavit. The warrant was granted and a sample of CD’s blood was taken and tested (BAC 0.106).
At trial, we were able to show, with the video evidence that CD did not exhibit any nystagmus, as the arresting officer had claimed. We were also able to show that the officer misrepresented the results of one of the other field sobriety tests, and left out several other key observations consistent with sobriety from his search warrant. The Judge agreed that the officer had made false claims and misleading omissions from his search warrant application, and that if he had honestly reported his findings, his request for a search warrant would have been denied. He further held that the officer intentionally or recklessly misled the magistrate in order to obtain the warrant, and so he quashed the warrant and suppressed the blood test.
When the State rested, the judge held that the State presented no evidence that CD was impaired by alcohol or anything else, and so he instructed the jury to find CD Not Guilty.
.26 BLOOD DRAW DWI
CL was found asleep behind the wheel of his truck in a restaurant parking lot in the early morning hours. The front wheels of his truck were on a grassy strip between the parking lot and the sidewalk, resting against the sidewalk. His truck was in park, but the motor was running. The video evidence showed that, when the officers woke him up, he was too impaired to perform the SFST’s, and he could not explain to the officers how he’d gotten there or when. His blood test results showed that his BAC was more than three times the legal limit, at 0.26.
Our investigation later showed that, early that evening, he met some friends for dinner at the restaurant where he was later found. After dinner, they had gone to several bars, and he had ridden with a friend from the restaurant to the bar. At the end of the night his friends dropped him off at his car, and he planned to drive home.
It appeared that, as he was attempting to exit the parking lot, he failed to use the driveway exit onto the roadway, and instead attempted to drive across a short grassy strip and a sidewalk, which ran parallel to the roadway between the parking lot and street. He was moving at or near idle speed, and when his front tires reached the sidewalk, it stopped his truck. In that moment, CL correctly decided that he should not be driving, so he gave up; he put his truck in park, laid his head back, and fell asleep.
At trial, we argued that, although CL began to do the wrong thing that night, and that he should never have even gotten in his truck in the first place, he stopped and gave up the moment he realized his error. Most importantly, he stopped before it was too late—before he got on the road. We pointed out that, to the extent that he deserved to be punished for starting to do the wring thing, he had already been arrested, had to post a bond, had to pay to get his truck out of impound, and had to hire a lawyer and stand trial for DWI.
Finally, we argued that, because he chose to do the right thing before he put anyone other else in danger, he should not be convicted of DWI. The Jury agreed and found him Not Guilty.
.12 BLOOD DRAW DWI
GP was found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV, on the shoulder of US-290. The engine was running, but his SUV was in park and his seat was reclined. A passing motorist saw that the headlights were on but the car looked empty, and so they called 911. Although GP was several miles beyond Jersey Village, a Jersey Village officer had been on NB 290 when the dispatch call went out, so he was there within minutes.
The video evidence showed that, although GP was groggy for a few moments upon waking up, and could not tell the officer how long he had been there, his speech was not slurred, and he did not have any difficulty with his balance or coordination. When GP produced his drivers license, the officer noted that he was only 19. He admitted to drinking two beers at a restaurant, where he had dinner with several friends who were of age. He told the officer that he felt totally normal when he left the restaurant, but he decided he should pull over as soon as he began to feel any effects from the alcohol. GP performed fairly well on the field sobriety tests, but the officer arrested him.
The officer could have ended his investigation there and charged GP with Driving Under the Influence by a Minor. It is a Class C misdemeanor for a minor under 21 to drive with nay detectable alcohol in his system, and it is punishable by a license suspension and a fine up to $500, but no jail time. GP would have had no valid defense to that charge. Instead, the officer asked GP to blow into the Intoxilyzer 5000, and when it said his BAC was 0.12, the officer charged GP with the more serious DWI, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine. GP initially applied for Pretrial Diversion, a probationary program that would have allowed him to earn a dismissal of the DWI by demonstrating model-citizen behavior for a year, taking classes, and performing community service. When he was denied entry—because he was a minor illegally drinking at a restaurant—we decided to go to trial on his case.
At trial, the officer admitted that it was certainly safer to pull over if you feel yourself becoming intoxicated than to continue driving. He also testified that, although pulling onto the shoulder of the freeway is often not the safest option, the neighborhood into which GP would have been exiting if he had gotten off the freeway was a high-crime neighborhood, and he would worry for the safety his own child just sitting in a vehicle there for several hours. Finally, the officer testified that no one knew when GP had pulled over, and that although the engine was running when he arrived, it was clear that GP had stopped operating his car to take a nap when he pulled over and reclined his seat.
The State’s breath-testing expert admitted that, if we do not know what time a driver stopped driving, it is impossible to extrapolate their BAC from a test taken hours later. She also testified that, after consuming alcohol, especially with food, it can take up to several hours of that alcohol to be fully absorbed. She also agreed the if he had left the restaurant shortly after his last drink, feeling no effects from alcohol, but reported later feeling those effects beginning to occur, that would be consistent with a delay in the absorption of alcohol, and that such a person could have been below the legal limit when he began feeling those effects.
We argued that, although he was a minor and should not have been drinking—much less drinking and driving—at all, the moment he began to feel the effects of alcohol, he did the right thing. There was also no evidence that, at the time that he made that decision, he was over the limit—in other words, he pulled over before he became intoxicated. We argued that he was overcharged, and should instead have been charged with DUI, and not DWI. Because the State could not show that he was intoxicated when he chose to do the right thing, the jury found him Not Guilty.
Shoplifting (Theft $50-500)
DISMISSED DURING TRIAL
GH was arrested for shoplifting, after he was stopped at the exit doors by an off-duty police officer working an extra job as a security guard at a grocery store. When the officer searched the backpack in GH’s shopping cart, he found three packages of meat and two bags of frozen shrimp. He placed GH under arrest for theft.
GH was effectively homeless and could not afford to post his bond, and so he was held in custody pending the outcome of his case. It was clear from the officer’s report that he stopped GH only because he was black and shabbily dressed, and he had a backpack in his shopping cart. There was no mention that he behaved suspiciously, or that anyone had seen him taking anything off the shelves or complained about him or his behavior.
At trial, the officer admitted that no one had seen GH take or hide any products, and that no one had complained about him. He also admitted that GH was not acting suspiciously as he approached the exit, and that his backpack was not unusually full, nor could he see anything suspicious inside. He testified that the only thing that made him suspect that GH might have taken anything was his appearance.
It is unconstitutional for a police officer to detain a citizen—even a homeless one—unless the officer has an objectively reasonable suspicion that they are engaging in criminal behavior. He must be able to articulate the specific facts that led him to be suspicious, so that a curt can decide whether it is reasonable. In order to search a citizen’s property, he must have probable cause to believe it will contain evidence of a crime. An officer’s hunch alone never justifies detaining or searching a citizen.
Because the judge agreed that being black and shabbily dressed did not give the officer reasonable suspicion to detain GH, or probable cause to search his backpack, he granted a Motion to Suppress the evidence the officer obtained. With no evidence to prove that GH stole anything, the State dismissed the case, and he was released that day.
.12 BLOOD DRAW DWI
HS was driving his motorcycle and was approaching an intersection on the service road after exiting Interstate 10. As the light turned green, the driver ahead of him began to proceed through the intersection. HS looked over his right shoulder to safely move into the next lane, and the driver ahead of him stopped suddenly, and without warning. HS looked up in time to brake, but not to stop before colliding with the other driver’s car. (An independent witness told the police that night—and testified at trial—that the other car had stopped suddenly for no reason, and that HS was driving safely and appropriately.)
HS was thrown over his handlebars, hitting the back of their car hard enough to crack his helmet. When the sheriff’s deputy arrived, HS was still lying on the ground, conscious but injured. Rather than getting medical help for HS, the deputy helped him up and made him perform field sobriety tests. Despite his injuries and being shaken up from the accident, HS performed well on the tests, but the deputy arrested him anyway. HS agreed to take a breath test; however, immediately after the breath test, he began experience shortness of breath and was light-headed. The deputy took him to the hospital, where X-rays revealed that he had broken his ribs during the accident, and that one of the broken ribs had punctured a lung. As a result of the puncture, HS had a large air pocket in his chest cavity, and fluid (blood) collecting in his lung.
At trial, the independent witness testified and revealed that he also rode motorcycles as a hobby. Because he rides himself, he is always very careful of other motorcycles when he is driving his truck, and so he was watching HS very closely. He testified that HS was driving carefully and appropriately, and that he had looked away from the car ahead to check his blind spot and be sure it was safe to change lanes. He also testified that the car ahead of him stopped suddenly, surprising even him. He testified that the moment he saw the brake lights come on and the other car nose down as it braked hard, he knew that HS would not be able to avoid the collision. Immediately after the crash, this witness spoke to HS to check on him and, although he seemed shaken up, he did not sound or act as if he was intoxicated.
The deputy (who had recently been fired and then re-hired after being disciplined for dishonesty in an investigation) testified that he assumed that HS was at fault in the accident, since it was a rear-end collision. When asked about the other witness’ account the deputy said he discounted it because he was a fellow motorcycle rider, even after the witness clarified that he did not know HS or the other driver. The deputy further testified that, if he had known at the time that HS had a punctured lung, he would not have had him take a breath test, and would have instead asked for a blood test from the hospital. (But even after learning of the injury, he never asked the hospital to obtain a blood sample from HS.)
At trial, the State’s breath testing expert conceded that there was no research showing that breath tests were reliable when given to a person with a punctured lung. She also testified that, for safety reasons, she would NEVER knowingly allow an officer to perform a breath test on someone with such an injury. Finally, she testified that, even if testing under such circumstances provided a reliable result, HS’s result did not mean that he was above the legal limit at the time he was driving.
The jury agreed that the breath test result was not a reliable reflection of HS’s BAC, and that he did better on the field sobriety tests than they would have expected given the severity of the accident. Since they were not convinced that he was intoxicated, as opposed to simply injured, they found him NOT GUILTY.
.08 BLOOD DRAW DWI
CH was a 19-year-old college student, on his way to his friend’s apartment after a basketball game. While looking down at the Maps app on his phone, he took a turn too wide struck the back corner of a truck that was parked at the curb. The collision caused his hood to open, blocking the windshield, and because he was looking down at the time, he had no idea what had happened. In his panicked attempt to brake quickly, he hit the gas pedal instead. He lost control of his car, and wound up striking a tree in the front yard of a home serval doors down.
The homeowner heard the crash and came outside to see what had happened. He found CH standing outside his car, dumbfounded and trying to figure out what had happened. When the homeowner realized that the tree was the only thing that stopped CH from striking his home, he became irate and threatened CH. CH himself called the police to try to get some protection from the homeowner.
When the police arrived, they separated CH and the homeowner and began investigating the accident. At some point, they found an empty beer can in the floorboard of CH’s car, and they began a DWI investigation. In the report, the officer claimed that he noticed slurred speech and unsteady balance immediately, and that it was a DWI investigation from the start; however, the video revealed that the officer never mentioned alcohol or intoxication until after he found the beer can. (CH was a foreign exchange student, and so he spoke English but with an obvious foreign accent.) CH cooperated fully throughout the investigation, explaining as much as he could about the accident, specifically that he was looking down at his phone, heard a loud noise and felt a jolt, but could not see out of the car, and could only feel himself losing control of the car. Beyond that, he could not explain what he had initially struck, or how he had lost control. (At trial, the officer agreed that the scene appeared as though a driver had struck the truck near the corner, then mistaken the accelerator for the brake, and lost control until hitting the tree.)
Despite this, the officer who found the beer can performed field sobriety tests on CH, which he passed. He did admit to drinking two beers earlier in the evening, but the officer never attempted to establish when he had those beers. After arresting CH, the officer asked him to provide a breath test, which he volunteered to do. The test said that his BAC was exactly at the legal limit: 0.08. Since CH was 19 at the time, the officer could have chosen to ticket him for Driving Under the Influence (DUI-Minor), which is committed when a minor under 21 drives with any detectable amount of alcohol in his system; however, he chose to charge him with the much more serious offense of DWI.
At trial, one of the officers testified that he neither smelled alcohol nor saw any signs of intoxication from CH. He testified that he immediately recognized that CH spoke with a foreign accent, and he did not take his manner of speech to be slurred. The other officer testified that he suspected intoxication from the moment he first spoke to CH, and that everything he saw from CH further supported his suspicion. He conceded that he should have been—and was trained to be—more thorough in attempting to determine when CH had consumed alcohol that night, but he just didn’t think of it.
The State’s breath testing expert testified that, without knowing when CH consumed alcohol that night, it was impossible to know whether his BAC at the time of the crash was higher or lower than the breath test result. Without that information, and since his breath test result was equal to the legal limit, she could not determine with any confidence that he was above the legal limit. The jury agreed that the officer had not seen any signs of intoxication and had over-charged CH. Because he was charged with DWI, instead of DUI-Minor, the jury found him NOT GUILTY.
2nd Offense DWI (Montgomery County)
REDUCED DURING TRIAL
JH was driving home from the bar when his transmission failed at an intersection, leaving him stranded. While he was waiting for AAA to come tow his truck, a sheriff’s deputy arrived and stopped to see if he needed help. While speaking to JH, the deputy noticed an odor of alcohol on his breath and began a DWI investigation. During the investigation, JH admitted drinking 8 beers throughout the night, and he also admitted that he had just been completed probation for a DWI. JH did well on the field sobriety tests, but the officer told him that, after 8 beers and a recent DWI, the officer wasn’t willing to take a risk, so he arrested him for DWI. JH declined to take a breath test.
During the officer’s direct-examination testimony at trial, he testified to signs of intoxication that were neither mentioned in his offense report nor visible on the video. When confronted with the inconsistency on cross examination, the deputy admitted that he had not watched the video after JH’s arrest, until it was played at trial. He also admitted that he had not bothered to even review his offense report, even though he had been aware that he would be testifying for several months, and even though he recognized that JH was facing up to a year in jail if convicted.
It was clear from their body language that the jury was angry with the deputy for his lack of preparation, and for not taking the case seriously. Noticing this, at the end of the cross examination, the prosecution offered to dismiss the DWI and place JH on deferred adjudication (a form of probation that does not involve a formal conviction) for a lesser charge. This was the right decision, as it was the jury’s primary focus when speaking to them after the trial. They were not pleased that JH had chosen to drive after drinking 8 beers, but they were shocked at the deputy’s nonchalance. Most of them said that they would have found JH Not Guilty if the case had been given to them.
No-Test DWI (Montgomery County)
DP is an attorney who was born and raised in Montgomery County, but at the time of his arrest, he was living and working in Europe. He was home for Christmas and had gone to the bar with an old high school friend who was shipping out to Fort Benning at the start of the year for his initial Army officer training. DP was the designated driver and had only one drink, early in the evening. On their way home from the bar, DP and his friend drove through Whataburger and were eating their food when they were pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy at about 2:15 AM.
They were stopped for speeding (53 in a 50 mph zone), but the officer told DP from the start that he had decided to stop him because he had seen DP drift out of his lane twice. When the officer realized that DP was eating, he told his partner, “Oh. He’s eating,” to which DP responded, “Yeah. Sorry. I’m living in Europe and haven’t had a Whataburger in years.” They all had a laugh, and then the deputy said, “Alright. So you haven’t been drinking at all tonight?” At that moment, DP learned that it is possible to be too honest with the police, when he said, “No. Well, not really. I had one Scotch at the start of the night but just water since. I’m his designated driver.”
If DP had simply said, “No sir. My friend has been drinking, but I’m his designated driver,” that probably would have been the end of the matter, and the deputy would have sent them on their way. Instead, he asked DP to step out for field sobriety tests. DP performed perfectly on the tests, and the deputy asked him to blow into the portable breath test device. DP declined, saying, “All throughout law school, they told us we should never agree to take one of these, so I’m going to decline.” At that point, the deputy arrested him for DWI and asked him to take an evidentiary breath test (the results of portable breath tests are not admissible at trial in Texas). DP gave the same response.
At trial, the deputy admitted that, when he saw DP drift out of his lane at after 2:00 AM, he became convinced that he was intoxicated, and so he pulled him over for speeding. He admitted that, had it not been for the time of night, he probably would not have stopped someone for speeding 3 miles per hour over the limit or drifting out of their lane one time. He agreed that the fact that DP was eating explained the lane excursion, that DP’s speech was normal, and that he did not seem to have any difficulty with balance or instruction-following while performing the field tests. He also admitted that he was not surprised that DP had been advised in law school to refuse to submit to a breath test, because this is common advice.
At the end of the case, the jury returned a Not Guilty verdict in less than 15 minutes. When speaking with the jurors after trial, the prosecutor asked the jurors what they thought of DP’s “excuse” for refusing to take the breath test. One juror told him, “I thought it proved he had the normal use of his mental faculties. If someone who knows what they’re talking about tells you that you shouldn’t do something, the smart thing to do is take their advice.” Another said, “I can’t think of a better reason.”
Brazoria County: Indecent Exposure
JB was a cab driver who had a regular appointment to take a customer to her weekly doctor visits. On one occasion, he arrived about 20 minutes early. She was not yet ready, and so he parked his van along the curb next to the retirement home complex and ate his sack lunch. One of the residents approached his van as he finished his lunch and demanded to know what he was doing there. When JB explained that he was waiting for one of the residents to get ready for her doctor appointment, and that he was driving her there, the neighbor told him that such drivers were required to wait in a particular spot in the parking lot. JB told him that he knew this, but that he had spoken to the resident, and because she would not be ready for some time, he did not want to take up that spot, in case another driver needed to pick up another resident in the meantime. The neighbor insisted that he could not park there, and JB pointed out that it was a public street, and there were no No Parking signs anywhere, meaning that he could park there. The neighbor persisted, and JB relented and went to wait in the designated zone. Several minutes later, his customer called to tell him that she was rescheduling her appointment, so she did not need a ride that day.
As JB drove back toward the center of town (so he would be ready for the next available ride), he was pulled over. He had no idea why he had been stopped. He was shocked to learn that he was being stopped because someone had called the police and claimed to have seen him masturbating in public. It turns out that the neighbor was the complaining witness. In the written statement he eventually gave to the police, his account was identical to JB’s, except that he claims that he saw JB masturbating as he approached the van.
Our investigation revealed that this neighbor viewed himself as the “protector” of the residents of his complex, and that he regularly called the police for all sorts of ridiculous reasons. Although we spoke to more than one employee of the local police department who confirmed this, none were willing to come testify for fear of getting in trouble with their superiors. But during trial, we were able to get the neighbor to admit that he called the police often. In fact, on cross examination, he revealed that he did not call 911; rather, he called “2383,” which he later explained was the direct line to dispatch (without the 3-digit exchange, which was common to all of the department’s phone numbers).
At trial, the officer who initially pulled JB over admitted that he seemed genuinely surprised that she was stopping him, and that he had a brown paper bag with an empty sandwich baggie and an apple core on the passenger seat when she inventoried his van. She testified that, when she told her supervisor that JB admitted being where the neighbor had reported him to be masturbating, but denied that he had been masturbating, her supervisor ordered her to arrest him. Another officer had taken the neighbor’s written statement, but after reading it at trial, the arresting officer agreed that both JB and the neighbor gave identical accounts of their parking conversation. She also agreed that parking regulations would be a strange topic of conversation with a person you had just caught masturbating on the street in front of your home.
The jury agreed, and they took only a few minutes to find him Not Guilty.
Harris County: Indecent Exposure
MH was on his way home from work when his wife asked him to pick up dinner for the family. He called in his order to a local fried-chicken restaurant and headed that way. When he arrived, there was no room in the parking lot, so he decided to drive around the block a few times while he waited for his order to be ready. At the same time, a woman was standing on the curb on a nearby street, waiting for her daughter’s bus to arrive. While she was standing there, a man in a tan car pulled up next to the curb and yelled something to her. When she looked his way, she saw that his pants were open and he was masturbating. She was understandably shocked, and when she yelled, he drove away.
Several minutes later, the woman saw what she believed was the same person come back by, and this time she got a good look at the driver and wrote down his license plat number. A few minutes after that, the same car drove by again (a third time, according to the witness). The driver never looked at or said anything to her on these two final trips. After calling the police to report what had happened, the police used the license plate number to find MH, and she confirmed from a photo lineup that that he was the man she saw.
When MH was interrogated by the police, he strongly denied the accusation. He even offered to submit to a polygraph exam, but the police did not offer to let him take one. Our investigation suggested that the complainant had never seen the face of the driver who exposed himself to her, and that she did not write down the license plate number until seeing what she thought was the same car several minutes later. It appeared that she simply assumed that MH’s car was the same car, and so he was the same person who had exposed himself.
At trial, her testimony confirmed our suspicions: we were able to demonstrate that she could not possibly have seen a driver’s face from her vantage point up on the curb, unless she had leaned down toward the car. She had already testified that she was shocked and immediately recoiled when that driver exposed himself, and she admitted that she had not leaned down to see his face at that point. Rather, she did not think to try to get a good look at him until she saw what she thought was the same car coming back by again. As to whether it was the same car, the investigating officer admitted that the color and make of car that MH was driving was among the most popular on the road, and are particularly prevalent in the neighborhood where this occurred.
Ultimately, we argued that the complainant was being honest about what she had seen, and that she was not lying about someone exposing himself to her. Rather, she had made an understandable mistake when she saw a similar car, and incorrectly assumed that MH’s car was the same car shed seen earlier. The jury agreed, decided that they were not convinced that MH was the right person, and so they found him NOT GUILTY.
Montgomery County: Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
LV was a junior high school teacher. One day, she was called into her principal’s office, where she learned that someone had accused her husband of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old child. This alleged assault had occurred more than 15 years prior, and the accuser claimed the LV was present and helped her husband assault the child. Sh learned later that day that the accuser was her now-21-year-old niece. LV and her husband, also a teacher at the same school, were immediately placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the case and the school district’s investigation.
LV and her husband agreed to take a polygraph examination as soon as they learned of the accusations, in which they were asked if they had ever engaged in any inappropriate conduct with he accuser. Both passed their examinations easily, but unfortunately, that was not the end of the matter, as far as the police were concerned. At the end of the school year, since the police investigation was still under way, the school district had no choice but to terminate both LV and her husband.
Our investigation revealed that the accuser had made some truly outlandish claims in her story, such as the claim that LV’s husband had killed the family dog in order to scare the accuser into silence. According to the accuser’s story, LV then loaded the dead dog into her trunk and took the accuser down to Galveston, where she threw the dog’s body into Galveston Bay, and then LV and the accuser spent the day at the beach. We were able to show that LV and her family had only ever owned two dogs, and that both of those dogs were alive and well years after the supposed assault.
She also tried to claim that the attack had occurred during a particular week, when her parents were on a vacation in Hawaii; however, both her maternal and paternal grandparents remembered this trip, and they remembered that the accuser and her sister had split the week between the grandparents’ homes. They were never at the home of LV and her husband that week. (That was also the same week of Tropical Storm Allison, a storm that unleashed record-setting rainfall across the entire Gulf Coast. It would have been impossible to drive to Galveston that week, much less spend a day at the beach.)
Thankfully, the grand jury was able to see the accusation for what it was, and they refused to indict LV or her husband. Instead, they entered a No Bill.
Montgomery County: Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
DISMISSED on trial day
R.S. was accused of molesting his 6-year-old stepdaughter. He volunteered to give an interview for the police, where he denied the accusations. He also agreed to and passed a polygraph exam. Despite this, the police pursued the charges, indicting him for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.
Our investigation revealed that the accuser’s father, who had been trying for years to get custody of his daughters, had taken her to the police department to make her allegations. It also revealed that her story changed in major respects each time she told it. We also learned that her father had, a year or two prior, tried to get her older sister to make similar claims against R.S. She refused to make the allegation, but she did not tell anyone about it at the time, for fear of getting her father into trouble.
The State recognized that their case was problematic, and they offered R.S. several plea deals for lesser offenses, and even one for deferred adjudication, meaning that he would not be a convicted felon if he accepted the deal. He was not willing to admit to something he had never done, though, and so he insisted on a trial. On the morning of trial, realizing that the problems could not be fixed, the State moved to dismiss the case.