Articles Tagged with Kaufman County

What is self-defense?

Texas Penal Code section 9.31 says that a person is justified in using deadly force when and to the degree the person reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary – to protect themselves from another’s use or attempted use of deadly force or to prevent another who is in immediately attempting aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

When is self-defense viable?

What is an expunction?

An expunction is available to a someone arrested for a crime, but never convicted, or to a person given deferred on a Class C misdemeanor. Expunctions are for arrests only, they serve as a way to have the arrest taken off of your record.

The process.

What is reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop in Texas?

Reasonable suspicion in general.  

The Texas case, Hamal v. State, explains that an officer has sufficient reasonable suspicion when he or she is aware of specific articulable facts, that when combined with rational inferences from those facts, would lead the officer to suspect that a person has committed, is committing, or will soon commit a crime.

The 6th and 14th Amendments of the United State Constitution guarantee an accused party the right to “be confronted with the witnesses against him.” Meaning that if you are charged with a crime and proceed with trial, you have a right to cross-examine testimonial statements by the witness.

Crawford v. Washington 541 U.S. 36, 68 (2004) says that these statements are not admissible against the accused unless the person who made the statement is unavailable and the accused had a chance to cross-examine them.

What are testimonial statements?

Many cases involving child abuse have expert witnesses involved. Child abuse and sexual assault cases have medical experts, therapists, or counselors who are called to testify. However, Texas law limits the ability of experts to tell a judge or jury that a child is honest.

Texas law prohibits an expert to testify or make a direct comment as to whether the child’s statements are truthful. In other words, the expert cannot specifically say “yes, the child is telling the truth” or “the child is lying”. Direct comments about the truthfulness of the statement are not allowed.

However, the expert may testify to certain behaviors of the child that may lead the court to believe that the child has been coached or manipulated to tell a certain story about the abuse.

You can be convicted of improper photography in Texas, without any photographs.

 Everyone has a camera these days. Even crappy cell phones usually have an 8-megapixel HDR camera on board. Your Instagram feed is full of strange photographs, and some stuff you’d rather not see. But in Texas, some photographs are illegal.

What is improper photography in Texas?

Forney is one of the faster growing DFW exurbs. It has quickly become a hotbed of Kaufman County DWI arrests. I used to get a fair number of DWI cases from across Kaufman County, many DPS arrests on the interstate, and then a fair number from Terrell/Crandall/Kaufman etc. It seems that I’m seeing a greater number of DWI arrests from the Forney Police Department. I’m not surprised. Forney is a city seemingly designed to maximize DWI arrests. You can’t walk anywhere, and you certainly can’t walk to any establishment that serves alcohol. I’m not sure why we have the majority of our alcohol serving-establishments next to the interstate, why old downtown Forney (the most walkable area in the city) remains mostly dry.

Forney has it’s own jail, and it is possible to make bail there without being transported to Kaufman. I haven’t figured out why certain arrestees are transported to the county jail and others make bail in Forney. Going to jail anywhere sucks, but the Forney jail/police station is brand new and really clean. Much less risk of getting a resistant staph infection than if you are arrested in Dallas.

Forney does not have it’s own breathalyzer, so if you take a breath test you have to go to Kaufman. By the way NEVER TAKE A BREATH TEST. Kaufman County’s breath test machine is based on 1968 technology. The operator manual admits that today’s version of the Intoxilyzer is no more accurate than it was during the Apollo program. Really, don’t do it.

Some old news from last week, the Kemp, Texas police department is being shut down due to budgetary concerns. This isn’t the first small town Kaufman County PD officer to face massive layoffs. Last year, almost the entire Combine police force was jettisoned.

How will this affect your Kemp PD criminal case? It depends on where these officers go and if they are available to testify in the future. If not, that could present some challenges for the State. Especially for the typical “pull the car over for innocuous traffic offense, find dope” case. You have a right to confront the witnesses against you, cops included.

In the interim, KSO will take over for Kemp PD.

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