AMERICA-BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING

Promoting Fear of Muslim Terror Government Continues Invasion into Privacy, Civil Rights

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

Did you know that the nation’s Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has given $31 billion in grants, including $3.8 billion in 2010 alone, to state and local governments to find and protect Americans from terrorists?

Read more

TEXAS COMMUNITY SUPERVISION REVISITED

Legislative Rush to Punish “Sex” Offenders Removes Punishment Alternatives, Probation, Unnecessarily Increases Prison Overcrowding

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

In 2008 we posted a piece about the restrictions the Texas Legislature had placed on the availability of probation. Historically probation was an alternative to penal incarceration designed to give first offenders and minor offenders a second chance.

Read more

DEFENDING AGAINST JUROR BIAS IN SEX CRIMES

Voir Dire, Inability to Consider Full Range of Punishment: Proper Objection and Practice to Preserve Error for Appeal

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

Sex offenses involving children are beyond a doubt the most difficult to defend, particularly when the allegations appear compelling and the witnesses are believable (here, here, and here). These kinds of sexual assault allegations are easy to indict and even easier to prosecute. All the prosecution needs is the victim’s testimony to secure and sustain a conviction. These offenses are difficult to defend because potential jurors enter the trial setting with a predisposed bias against anyone charged with a sex offense against a child. While the defense counsel tries to exclude these biased jurors from the jury, either through peremptory challenges or challenges for cause, too many effectively conceal their bias in order to serve and convict. These jurors want to be part of a process that convicts the insidious “child molester.”

Read more

THE TEXAS DEATH PENALTY SYSTEM BROKEN

Nationally Recognized Experts, Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Cite Risk of Innocents Being Put to Death, State of Texas Replies “No Comment”

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

That question could reasonably be asked of any state that maintains the death penalty. Every system of punishment is cracked in one way or another. The fact that 138 condemned inmates in 26 death penalty states have been exonerated since 1973, and the fact that there have been 261 DNA exonerations in this country since 1989, and the fact that our law books are filled with reversals of criminal convictions and death sentences offers compelling evidence that our entire criminal justice system, and, in particular, our death penalty systems is if not broken, certainly flawed. Earlier this year Harris County Criminal District Court Judge Kevin Fine stirred considerable legal and political controversy when he declared from the bench that Texas’ death penalty procedures were unconstitutional. The backlash was so intense, from the state’s attorney general to its governor, that Judge Fine clarified his ruling the next day by saying he had not actually declared the death penalty process unconstitutional and ordered attorneys in the case to submit additional legal arguments detailing how the process was so flawed that it violated the “cruel and unusual punishment” provisions of the Eighth Amendment.

Read more

WIKILEAKS-JULIAN ASSANGE-AND POSSIBLE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

Keeping the government in Check, the Uncomfortable Reality of Freedom of the Press

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange surrendered to British authorities on December 7, 2010 in connection with sexual assault allegations leveled against the Australian native by Swedish authorities. News media reports said Assange was engaged in consensual sexual encounters with two women (WikiLeak volunteers) in Sweden this past August when the encounters turned non-consensual because Assange would not use a condom. The controversial Assange has gained international acclaim and criticism for his website’s disclosure of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables and documents. The sexual assault charges became prominent after the disclosures occurred.

Read more

WIKILEAKS RENEW DR. AAFIA SIDDIQUI MYSTERY

86-year prison term for Dr. Siddiqui: Victory in Courtroom is Loss on Worldwide Public Stage

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

This website has maintained an ongoing interest in the bizarre case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (here and here). We have stated we do not know if the Pakistani native is a brilliant neuroscientist or an al Qaeda terrorist as our Government has repeatedly charged she is. What we do know is that our Government has cloaked the Siddiqui case in such mystery and secrecy that we believe she was most likely kidnapped, along with her three children, by Pakistan’s infamous intelligence agency in Karachi in 2003 and turned over to our Government who placed her in secret detention in Bagram military prison in Afghanistan where she was subjected to torture and other forms of debilitating abuse.

Read more

BOTH TERROR AND AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM ON TRIAL

Suspected Terrorists should be Transferred to Civilian Custody and Processed in the Criminal Justice System

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was involved in the two bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 which killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. To what extent we do not know. The final verdict is mixed on that issue. What we do know is that the New York Times reported Ghailani was captured in Pakistan in 2004 where he was held in one of the CIA’s “secret prisons” for most of the next five years. He was subjected to repeated interrogations and torture during that period before he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay detention facility, according to his attorneys. The Obama administration elected to use the Ghailani case as a test run for its policy that terrorists should be tried in civilian courts rather than before military tribunals (here, here and here). Ghailani was then indicted by a New York federal grand jury on 285 terrorism-related counts, including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and murder in connection with the embassy bombings, and thereafter transferred from military custody to civilian custody.

Read more

REFORM CAN SOMETIMES BE BAD MEDICINE

Anonymous Inside Sources Criticize Harris County District Attorney

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

Like all cold and flu medicine, “reform” at the governmental level sometimes gags those resistant to changing practices and policies away from the bad toward the good. Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos was elected on the theme that she would introduce “reform” to the district attorney’s office and put an end to the often illegal and unethical practices of the “convict at any cost” which hallmarked the former administrations of Charles “Chuck” Rosenthal and his predecessor Johnny Holmes. The trial of a criminal case is controlled by three entities: the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense counsel. To be effective and responsible, each entity must do their job in an honest, decent, and fair way. That was seldom the case under Rosenthal and Holmes.

Read more