Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

The severity of charges that are brought for the crime of assault depends on many factors. If a weapon is used in an assault, the type of weapon used can aggravate simple assault charges, possibly resulting in a serious felony conviction and significant jail time for an offender. The Texas Court of Appeals recently released a decision in which they affirmed the defendant’s conviction and subsequent sentence for aggravated assault for an attack involving a pair of children’s scissors.

According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the defendant was a long-term romantic partner of the victim and allegedly attacked her with scissors during an argument, cutting her on the arm and causing her to seek medical attention. Based on the injuries sustained in the fight, as well as threats and other abuse mentioned by the victim, the defendant was charged with aggravated assault. The charge was aggravated based on the relationship between the defendant and the victim, as well as the use of a deadly weapon, namely, the scissors.

The victim did not testify at trial, and the defense argued that the children’s scissors could not be considered a deadly weapon to aggravate the charges against him. The prosecution called witnesses who testified that the scissors could cause serious bodily injury if used with significant strength. It was up to the jury to decide if the scissors were to be considered a deadly weapon. Additionally, the prosecution admitted statements by the victim that the defendant repeatedly threatened to seriously hurt her if she ever reported the abuse to authorities. The jury found the defendant guilty of the aggravated assault charge, and he was sentenced to 40 years in Texas State Prison.

In a recent opinion from a Texas court, the defendant’s motion to suppress was denied. Originally, the defendant was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and aggravated assault. He appealed, arguing that the prosecutor’s use of evidence from the black box in his car was unwarranted. The court disagreed, sustaining the original verdict.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving one of his friends when he sped around a curve and lost control of his car. Immediately, the defendant crashed into a tree, and his friend died due to injuries sustained in the crash. Investigating the case, police officers obtained a search warrant to recover the defendant’s black box event data recorder. According to police officers, this black box would tell them important information on the car’s speed both at and before the crash itself.

While preparing for trial, the defendant argued that the officers should not have been allowed to seize the car’s black box – it was a violation of his right to privacy. The trial court denied this motion and proceeded with trial. Eventually, a jury heard all of the evidence and concluded that the defendant was guilty of homicide and aggravated assault because of his reckless driving.

Continue reading

In a recent opinion from a Texas court, a defendant’s request to suppress incriminating evidence was denied. The defendant had been previously found guilty of murder, and part of the evidence used against him in court was gunshot residue (sometimes called GSR) found in his vehicle. The defendant tried to argue that the GSR was improperly used as evidence because the detective who found the GSR did not obtain a warrant, specifically stating that he was going to be searching for GSR in the vehicle. The court denied this argument, affirming the lower court’s judgment and denying the defendant’s appeal.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a shooting occurred one morning in January 2018 outside of the victim’s apartment complex. The victim’s wife heard gunshots and found her husband dead outside of their apartment, but the shooter ran away before she was able to see him.

The defendant quickly became the main suspect in the police department’s investigation of the crime. Other apartment complex residents described the shooter and the shooter’s vehicle to detectives, which led investigators to the defendant himself. There was also testimonial evidence presented that the defendant and the victim had been arguing at work the day before the shooting, which gave detectives reason to believe the defendant had a motive to commit the crime. Other witnesses told police officers that before he lost consciousness, the victim had been uttering a name to people around him that sounded like the defendant’s first name.

Continue reading

In a recent opinion from a Texas court involving charges of domestic violence, the defendant’s request for a new verdict was denied. The defendant was found guilty of the second-degree felony offense of family violence assault by impeding the normal breathing of his girlfriend, as well as the third-degree felony offense of family violence. At trial, the prosecution argued that the defendant kept his girlfriend from being able to appear and testify in court. On appeal, the defendant said that this information was false and that he did not keep his girlfriend from coming to trial. The court disagreed and affirmed the guilty verdict.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police officers went to the defendant’s home after a neighbor called 911 to report domestic violence. Upon arrival, the officers knocked on the defendant’s door; the defendant, who was sweeping up glass from the living room floor, said that he and his girlfriend were “just getting into it.” The defendant’s girlfriend, on the other hand, reported to the officers that she and her boyfriend had argued and he had assaulted her. According to the defendant’s girlfriend, the defendant had punched her in the stomach and struck her with a broom ten times on the shoulders. When she ran outside, the defendant hit her in the head and pulled her into the house by her hair. At the end of the incident, she had red marks on her throat, bruising on her left arm, and a broken blood vessel in her eye.

Leading up to trial, investigators repeatedly tried to serve the defendant’s girlfriend with papers saying she had to appear in court. When they tried to deliver the papers, the defendant claimed that he and his girlfriend were no longer a couple and that he could not do anything to help the investigators locate her. Later, the investigators learned that the defendant and his girlfriend were still, in fact, together, despite what the defendant had claimed when the investigators asked for his help.

Continue reading

Self-defense is one of the oldest and most sacred defenses in all of criminal law. While self-defense applies in a variety of situations, it is also one of the most misunderstood defenses. One particular area of self-defense that is especially important to understand is the “Castle Doctrine.”

The Castle Doctrine is a very old legal concept that is based on the idea that a person’s home is their castle, and they should be able to defend against intruders without fear of violating the law themselves. It is also referred to as the Stand Your Ground law. Texas has a very broad Castle Doctrine that provides ample protection to those defending their homes.

Essentially, the Castle Doctrine makes legal conduct that would otherwise be considered illegal, provided the elements of the doctrine are met. Specifically, the Castle Doctrine allows you to use force you reasonably believe to be necessary to stop another person from trespassing on your property or, in some cases, taking your property. The most protection is afforded to those who are in their home at the time; however, the Castle Doctrine also applies to vehicles.

Contact Information