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Thursday, January 24, 2013

C.P.S. Appeals

As of late I have been writing several parental rights termination appeals. One thing that I have noticed is that there is a great number of  mind boggling bad parenting decisions made and two a distinct pattern that one sees from theses cases.  A strong resistance by parents to let go of focusing on themselves during the service plan and court proceedings and an utter lack of common sense to obtain legal counsel early on in the case. This defensive initial reaction by parents is understandable considering that I would assume having ones children yanked out from their home is a very traumatic experience for all involved. 
Many of the mistakes made in the process that ultimately result in termination of parental rights would be entirely avoided if the parent had merely sought out counsel to guide them early on. I also realized that 12 to 18 months is a very short time in which to change life patterns, so it is an imperative that people properly and diligently begin working through the process correctly. Lastly,  parents in these cases really need to understand that it is a very bureaucratic, complex, time consuming, and over worked system.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teams fire up grills for Chamber Barbecue Cook-off | Amarillo Globe-News

Teams fire up grills for Chamber Barbecue Cook-off | Amarillo Globe-News

Good Times Bar-B-Que

Hey come out this Wednesday (sponsor night) and Thursday (general admission) to the Good Times Chamber of Commerce Cook off in downtown Amarillo. We have a booth as we have for many years. I invite you to come say hello and eat some really great food and drinks.  Look forward to seeing ya'll there.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lesser Included Plea on Original Murder Charge

I was able with some hard work and diligence from myself, the A.D.A. and District Attorney for Potter County to save the tax payers of Potter County a ton of money. My client was Indicted for first degree murder. After a careful analysis of the facts, evidence and the situation all parties, on the eve of trial a plea agreement was struck wherein my client entered guilty plea to second degree manslaughter and received 10 years deferred adjudication. This agreement was beneficial to all parties and had the blessings of the victim's family.   The point of this post is that when the justices system is used correctly it benefits all involved.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lawyers must have time to prepare for trial or bad things happen.

In a recent C.P.S. case, No.07-11-00511-CV, In The Interest of B.W.F., a child the 7th Court of Appeals rejected our argument that a court appointed attorney appointed to represent a parent should have the required 45 day time period set forth in Rule 245 Tex. R. Civ. P. before being forced to trial. The dissent by Justice Pirtle, agreed that by not complying with Rule 245 the trial court violated our client's 14th amendment rights of due process of law. The dissent also found serious flaws in the manner of notice to the parent. Interesting read. I recommend your read both opinions which I believe can be looked up on the 7th Court of Appeals web site and make up your own mind.  It is great to appoint counsel to represent someone who might lose his/her children, but to give said attorney only 14 days to prepare for trial is like giving someone a gun in  a duel, but not giving him a bullet to shoot.  The trial attorney for the terminated parent did a good job at the trial level.  I was very elated with the justices decisions in: In Re J.M. I thought we would make more progress here to prevent the procedural railroading that has been occurring in theses C.P.S. cases. It seems to me that the majority let the facts of the case interfere with their reasoning regarding a procedural argument.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Felons and Firearms

I just received a not guilty verdict in Potter County in a case where my client was accused of possession of a firearm. My client had a previous felony conviction. The law in Texas is basically that after five years a person with a felony conviction may possess a firearm in his home, but nowhere else after the lapse of five years from the date he was discharged from his sentence.  My client was accused of possessing a gun on his sisters property. However, there was no forensic evidence, or direct evidence connecting my client to the gun.  One witness testified she saw my client fire a weapon, but no one else or any evidence connected my client to the weapon. In fact the "eyewitness" never even testified she saw a weapon in my client's hand.  My client had previously plead guilty to a class A misdemeanor of firing a firearm inside the city limits related to the case, but when he did so he was unrepresented by an attorney and my client only had a 9th grade education. He did not even read the plea papers and entered his time served plea only to get out of jail and get back to work because he was too poor to bond out.

Two points I think are relevant other than the obvious acquittal:

1. Never ever sign or plea to a criminal case without an attorney.  If not for a very intelligent jury and some good trial work my client's prior plea could have sent him to prison for up to ten years. If you are charged with a crime let an experienced attorney do his job and make the State prove their case.

2. When it comes to firearms know the law. Know where you can possess a weapon and under what circumstances. 

My client and his family narrowly escaped a horrible experience. I was proud to protect his legal rights.

Monday, June 11, 2012

 Deepest condolences to the family of Jeff Tankersley for the tragic loss of Jeff over the weekend.  The Amarillo legal community lost a good man.