2017-2018 Criminal Clinic Update


FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE CRIMINAL CLINIC AND Associate PROFESSOR OF LAW, CHRIS JENKS


April 20, 2018: 3E Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Emily Heger, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, successfully argued a motion to quash in Dallas County Criminal Court. Heger, on behalf of a client charged with theft, argued that the charging instrument was too vague to allow for the preparation of a defense and also that it failed to contain required elements if the State was aggregating the value and quantity of the items allegedly stolen. The Court agreed, granted the motion to quash, and the State subsequently dismissed the case. 
 
April 20, 2018: 2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Tri Truong, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, successfully argued a motion to quash in Dallas County Criminal Court.  Truong, on behalf of a client facing a resisting arrest charge, argued that Texas case law interpreting the applicable penal code is inconsistent with the legislative history and that the charging instrument, in using an undefined term with variable meaning, failed to provide adequate notice of the manner and means by which the client allegedly committed the offense.  The Court agreed and granted the motion to quash.  The District Attorney’s Office subsequently dismissed the case. 
April 18-20, 2018: 2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Bianca Lurate, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, represented a client charged with driving while intoxicated based on a purported blood alcohol content of .11 in a trial by jury in Dallas County Criminal Court. Lurate conducted voir dire, cross-examination of the arresting officer, and final argument. Lurate effectively impeached the arresting officer during cross-examination and raised reasonable doubt as to whether the State appropriately seized, stored, and analyzed a sample of the client’s blood. After the jury deliberated for 6.5 hours without reaching a unanimous decision, the Court declared a mistrial. The State proceeded to offer a reduced charge of obstruction of a passageway, which the client accepted.
April 11-13 2018: 3L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Alexis Swanzy, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, represented a client charged with driving while intoxicated based on blood alcohol content at a trial by jury in Dallas County Criminal Court.  Swanzy conducted the voir dire, cross-examination of two police officers, and direct examination of two witnesses.  During voir dire, Swanzy obtained a favorable ruling on a Batson challenge on whether the State had unconstitutionally struck a member of the venire from serving on the jury.  At trial, Swanzy argued that the police officers did not follow correct procedure on the standard field-sobriety tests and that the State improperly drew and handled the client’s blood.  The jury disagreed, at least in part, and found the client guilty of a lesser included offense.  However, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Brook Busbee and Swanzy later filed a motion for new trial, which the Court granted.
March 23, 2018: 3L Criminal Justice Clinic student attorney Erin Brewer, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Brook Busbee, represented a client charged with theft in a motion to dismiss in Dallas County Criminal Court.  Brewer conducted the direct examination of her client and argued that the State violated her client’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. The Court agreed and dismissed the charge. 
February 2, 2018: 2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Jonathan Walther, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, obtained a dismissal on behalf of a client charged with possession of marijuana in Dallas County Criminal Court.  The client had been in a vehicle that the police pulled over purportedly because the license plate was not illuminated.  Utilizing the discovery process, Walther obtained the dash cam video from the arresting officer’s vehicle, which depicted that the license plate was illuminated.  After filing a motion to suppress arguing that the traffic stop was illegal, Walther practiced proactive criminal defense and met with the prosecutor to review the video, following which the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charge.
February 2, 2018: 2L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Attorney Katie Davis, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professors of Law, Mike McCollum and Brook Busbee, successfully argued a motion to dismiss in Dallas County Criminal Court. Davis, on behalf of a client charged with criminal mischief causing pecuniary loss, argued that the State’s failure to properly inform her client of the specifics of the charge by filing and providing an Information within the statute of limitations violated the client’s Constitutional right to a speedy trial.  The Court agreed and dismissed the charge.
November 15, 2017: 3L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Shem Vinton, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, represented a client charged with a driving while intoxicated in a trial by jury in Dallas County Criminal Court. Vinton conducted the voir dire, opening statement, cross-examination of the detaining officer, and the final argument. Vinton argued that the State failed to meet its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the client had lost the normal use of physical or mental faculties by way of the introduction of alcohol into their system. The jury agreed and returned a verdict of not guilty. Following the acquittal, 3L Morgan Smith, the Criminal Clinic Expunction Chief, filed a motion and the Court expunged the client’s arrest. 

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