Proposed legislation that would allow people to carry firearms on Texas campuses has gotten “stuck” in the Senate and its fate is unknown. We first shared our thoughts about this bill a few months ago, when it was believed the bill would have no problems passing. Now, it appears as if opponents might be slowing the passage with some serious countermeasures. read more
Legislation aimed at giving University students and faculty the right to carry guns on campus is likely to pass this year according to the Associated Press. In a state that values their weapons as much as they do their longhorns and wide open spaces, guns on campus isn’t as controversial as elsewhere. If passed it would be only one of only a few to do so. read more
While Dallas school officials are saying they don’t yet see the influence of Mexican drug cartels in their schools, the Feds and the Texas Department of Public Safety are cautioning parents to be aware. read more
Following up on a call of terroristic threats, police saw Martin Garcia Vargas pull a weapon from his waist leading a veteran police officer to fire on him. Luckily the officer missed in this situation that was brought on by a toy gun. read more
While working at the Shell convenience store last Sunday morning, clerk Juan Romero witnessed two customers steal a 12 pack of Budweiser. What he did next may have crossed the line.
A new bill has recently passed the legislature and is awaiting signing by Governor Perry to make it official This law is designed to take a proactive step to preventing the growing illegal weapons trade between Texas and Mexico.
According to this piece from the Houston Chronicle, guns are often smuggled from Texas cities like Houston into Mexico where weapons are typically banned from civilian possession. This gun trade and the opposite flowing drug trade have significantly contributed to crime in our state. read more
Thomas Hannon, a Dallas man, is suing the 6 police officers accused of lying on police reports that landed him some serious criminal charges. According to Dallas CBS 11 News, Hannon was originally charged with possession of methamphetamine and felon in possession of a firearm. In total, he faced 20 years in prison if convicted. However the charges were dropped when the prosecution presented evidence that the arresting officer’s lied.
In August of 2007 Hannon was arrested outside of a Dallas hotel. According to court documents he ran into a friend at the hotel. Upon leaving the hotel, the men went in opposite directions. Hannon’s friend, who was carrying a black bag, went one way while Hannon was arrested on a felony warrant upon leaving. The police stated that Hannon had, in his possession, the black bag that actually belonged to his acquaintance.
This black bag ended up containing methamphetamines and a firearm. The changing point in the case came when the defense presented a security video from the hotel which showed the other man, and not Hannon, in possession of the black bag in question. Just as Hannon had claimed from the beginning, he never had control over the bag.
Thanks to good representation, the criminal case was dismissed and now Hannon seeks civil damages in Federal Court.
Who knows why the officers lied. Perhaps they were concerned with building a reputation of cracking big cases and sending dangerous men to prison. Maybe they had personal interest in the case or had encountered Hannon before.
Whatever the case, it is a perversion of the justice system. There is no doubt that people are wrongly accused of criminal acts. Even if the accusations aren’t intentionally false, it is not uncommon for innocent people to end up facing a judge on drug charges, weapons offenses, or property damage cases.
When facing criminal charges it may feel like the state of Texas and everyone in the court system has already assumed your guilt rather than presumed your innocence. Although this wasn’t Hannon’s first run in with the law he still deserved fair treatment in the justice system and until the dismissal of his charges he was denied this by the very people tasked with representing the integrity of the legal system.
A qualified and experienced Texas defense attorney can be critical to anyone facing prison time or a mark on their record. You attorney is there in order to ensure the system works how it was designed, to apply the laws in a fair and consistent manner.
Prosecutors are worried about how new proposed castle laws may effect prosecutions for violent crimes using weapons in Texas. Under the proposed law, if you use a weapon or shoot someone in your home, your car, or your place of business, you are presumed to have the right to use deadly force in defending yourself or your propertly.
This law would essentially turn the legal doctrine of reasonable doubt on it’s head in many criminal defense cases in Texas courts.
Prosecutors cite one hypothetical example where there is a fight in a parking lot, and a man is killed. If the defendant claims that the victim was trying to break into his vehicle, he gets the presumption of having the right to use deadly force under the Texas castle law as currently written. That means a jury would have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s claim of defending himself was untrue, in order to convict him of a crime.
One possible compromise that may be worked out is to redefine the meaning of “travelling”, in defending your car while on the road. Or maybe that entire section should be scrapped, and the castle law restricted to one’s home or property, and not defined so broadly.
But if the law passes in it’s current form, and the defenses that prosecutors fear become reality, there is no doubt that the law will eventually be ammended. But by then, it is likely that some violence criminals will have gone free by exploiting this technicality in Texas’ generous gun and self defense laws.