2016-2017: Criminal Clinic Update


FROM THE Director of the Criminal Clinic and Assistant Professor of Law, CHRIS JENKS


April 10, 2017: 3L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Attorney Megan Scott, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of law Mike McCollum, successfully represented a client in Dallas County Criminal Court by being prepared to try the case. Scott, whose client was charged for the second time with operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, appeared in court ready for a jury trial and objected to the State’s request for a continuance. The Court sustained the objection, following which Scott negotiated with the State to reduce the charge to Obstruction of a Highway. 
April 7, 2017: 2 L Criminal Justice Clinic student Attorney Christopher Brandt, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professor of law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to quash in Dallas County Criminal Court. Brandt, on behalf of a client charged with failure to give identification, argued that the charging instrument, in alleging eight possible offenses, impermissibly failed to provide notice sufficient to allow the client to prepare a defense. The Court agreed and granted the motion to quash.
March 9, 2017: 2L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Attorney Jason Rios, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, obtained a dismissal on behalf of a client charged with Assault-Family Violence in Dallas County Criminal Court.  Rios, recognizing evidentiary issues stemming from the complaining witness having signed a affidavit of non-prosecution and then recanting, convinced the Assistant District Attorney responsible for the case to dismiss the charge. 
 

February 27, 2017: 2L Criminal Litigation Clinic Student Attorney Jason Rios, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, successfully obtained a dismissal on behalf of a client facing a Blood Test Driving While Intoxicated charge in Dallas County Criminal Court. Rios, recognizing evidentiary issues which would likely preclude the State from presenting a prima facie case, reviewed video of the traffic stop with the Assistant District Attorney in charge of the case and argued that that the video demonstrated that the client was not intoxicated at the time of arrest. The Assistant District Attorney agreed and dismissed the charge. 


February 24, 2017: 3L Criminal Litigation Clinic Student Attorney Lianne Baldridge, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court. Baldridge, on behalf of a client charged with possession of marijuana, argued that officers conducted a custodial interrogation without the required warnings and an illegal warrantless search. The Court disagreed and denied the motion.


February 22, 2017: 2L Criminal Litigation Clinic student attorney Jeff D. Clark, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professor of law Brook Busbee, represented a client charged with theft at a trial by jury in Dallas County Criminal Court. Clark conducted the voir dire, cross-examinations of both of the state's witnesses, and final argument. Although the jury found Clark's client guilty, the Court probated the sentence and reduced the costs and fees.

February 17, 2017: 2L Criminal Litigation Clinic Student Attorney Jeff D. Clark, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Brook Busbee, argued a motion to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court. Clark, on behalf of a client charged with possession of marijuana in a hotel room, argued that a police warrantless search of the hotel guest registry and cross-referencing of guests' personally identifying information against law enforcement databases violated the Texas Constitution.  The Court initially took the matter under advisement, but on February 24th denied the motion.

January 20, 2017: 2L Criminal Litigation Clinic Student Attorney Jeff D. Clark, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, negotiated the dismissal of a client’s Driving While Intoxicated charge in Dallas County Criminal Court.  Clark had filed a motion to suppress but rather than argue the motion, the State agreed to reduce the charge to deferred adjudication probation.  Following successful completion of probation, the case will be dismissed and will not be considered a conviction. 


January 19, 2017: 2 L Criminal Litigation Clinic student Attorney Christopher Brandt, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professor of law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to dismiss and alternatively to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court. Brandt, on behalf of a client charged with evading detention, argued that the actions of the Irving police department in losing or destroying video evidence the police relied upon in their report violated the client's United States Constitutional and Texas Constitutional rights of due process, equal protection and due course of law. The Court disagreed and denied both the motion to dismiss and suppress the video evidence.


November 11, 2016: 3L Criminal Litigation Clinic Student Attorney Tad Schmidt, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Brook Busbee, argued a motion to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court. Tad Schmidt, on behalf of a client charged with driving while intoxicated, argued that officers lacked reasonable suspicion for the stop and failed to establish the corpus delicti of Driving While Intoxicated, and therefore lacked probable cause to arrest. The Court disagreed and denied the motion.


November 2-3, 2016: 3L Criminal Litigation Clinic Student Attorney Rebekah Dall’Asen, under the supervision of adjunct professors of law Mike McCollum and Brook Busbee, successfully obtained a ruling for mistrial on behalf of a client facing an assault (family violence) charge in Dallas County Criminal Court. Dall’Asen conducted voir dire and the State directed one witness on the first day of trial. On the second day, the Court allowed the State to present evidence that the complaining witness was unavailable to testify as the result of threats purportedly made by the client the day before. After resting its case, the State then claimed that the complaining witness was in fact available and attempted to call her to testify. The defense argued that the Court should reassess the prejudicial impact of the previously admitted evidence that the client had allegedly threatened the witness in light of the witness’ availability to testify. The judge agreed that the evidence was unduly prejudicial and granted the motion for mistrial.

The issues presented are a reminder that the legal practice is often at the intersection of several bodies of law, here Supreme Court jurisprudence on the Confrontation Clause and the standard by which a criminal defendant is deemed to have forfeited the right to confront one’s accusers, and the procedural and evidentiary rules through trials are conducted and the admissibility of evidence determined.
November 11, 2016: 3L Criminal Litigation Clinic Student Attorney Phuong Tran, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to suppress. Tran, on behalf of a client charged with driving while intoxicated, contended that the police failed to obtain valid consent before drawing and testing the client's blood.  Tran argued that a warrant was required and, in its absence, that the Court should suppress the blood test results in line with the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013), and Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S. Ct. 1535 (2016).  On November 22, the Court denied the motion, though Tran's effort's preserved the issue for possible appeal.

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