Category: CRIMINAL CASES

Not guilty

INDECENCY WITH A CHILD BY CONTACT

Criminal Charge: Indecency with a Child by Contact
Case: State v. Evaristo Torres [F13-24064] [Dallas County]
Result: Not Guilty Verdict


Summary: Haslam and Dallas lawyer Frank Jackson tried this felony to a jury in the summer of 2016.  Mr. Torres was charged with illegally touching a granddaughter twice during family gatherings.  The jury acquitted him after a three day trial, a classic case of a child seeking attention during her parents’ divorce.

In this case, the teenage granddaughter actually admitted to a Dallas County District Attorney prosecutor two weeks before trial that she was “uncertain” her allegations had occurred.  While the prosecutor informed the defense of the admission, she didn’t inform the so-called expert who testified for the prosecution that the granddaughter exhibited many behaviors consistent with a sexual assault victim.  On cross examination, this “expert”, a woman with a college degree who represent herself as an expert in the field, admitted the child should have been interviewed by her organization, the Dallas County Child Advocacy Center, after the admission because this kind of recantation is not consistent with actual sexual assault.

The jury acquitted Mr. Torres in a little over an hour of deliberation, and this good man has returned to his many, many children and grandchildren an innocent man.

Case Pending

CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

Criminal Charge: Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substance and Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility
Case: U.S. v. Tasmin Stewart [3:15-cr-44-D(22)][NDTX]
Result: Pending


Summary:

The U.S. Attorney alleges Mr. Stewart unlawfully used a cell phone during the course of a sale of oxycodone in a motel. In exchange for his guilty plea, the AUSA agreed to dismiss the greater count of Conspiracy. As is the usual case in federal prosecutions, the AUSA tries to trump up claims about his prior misconduct to enhance his sentence. The case is pending sentencing.

Plea Bargain

CONSPIRACY TO POSSESS WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

Criminal Charge: Count 1: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Count 2: Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance.
Case: US v Christopher Alexander [3:14-cr-367-B(35)][NDTX]
Result: Guilty Plea


Summary:

In this case with almost 70 codefendants, the federal government alleged Mr. Alexander drove a man to a Dallas area motel put him together with a seller of meth.  To increase the sentencing ramifications, the government further alleged the meth was from Mexico.

Federal drug prosecutions increase the sentence as the drug amount increases and as the defendant’s criminal history increases.  Sadly, this creates an incentive for prosecutors and investigators to inflate both amounts.  In this case, the Garland DPS lab conducted the lab tests.  In a fascinating development, lab analysts refused to qualify the meth presented to it by law enforcement as “actual” meth rather than a meth mixture,  a characterization that vastly increases the sentence. In response, the the U.S. Probation and Parole Office employed an equation to up-convert the quantity reported by the lab to a greater quantity of actual meth.  And, then, of course, the USP&P Office reported that greater amount to the Court in its Presentence Report after Mr. Alexander plead guilty.

Haslam challenged this process as a deception on the Court: the proposition that federal probation officers are conducting organic chemical analysis in felony prosecutions is unauthorized, and for good reason. When confronted with this issue by Haslam, the AUSA prosecuting the case agreed to plea Mr. Alexander to the low end-point of his sentencing range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines to avoid an evidentiary hearing that would reveal this practice to the federal judge.