Author: lawoffice

Settlement

SHERIFF UNLAWFULLY SEIZES HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF PROPERTY

Civil Litigation: Sheriff Unlawfully Seizes Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars of Property
Case: Mike Pierce v. Terry Parks, Sheriff of Choctaw County, OK [CJ-15-55][Choctaw County]
Result: Sheriff Forced to Return All Property and Pay Damages


Summary: According to the Choctaw County Sheriff [the “CCSO”] and Oklahoma’s Alcoholic Beverage License Enforcement [“ABLE”], their agents had probable cause for the warrants they executed on Mr. Pierce’s home and his two SE OK businesses.  A very successful self-made businessman, Mr. Pierce had hundreds of thousands of dollars of property seized by these agents via these warrants, including rare coins and precious metals.

Mr. Pierce hired Haslam to get his property back and defend what the CCSO promised would be a raft of serious felony charges. Mr. Pierce reasonably feared some of the thousands of rare coins would be “lost” while in the CCSO property room.  The CCSO claimed it had turned the case over to the FBI and federal prosecutors to explain the lengthy delay in bringing charges.

Haslam filed a replevin motion in Choctaw County District Court to force the authorities to either bring charges or return the property.  Rather than defend Haslam’s motion, the CCSO agreed to hand-deliver all the property back to Mr. Pierce and pay damages for his losses.

Case Dismissed

TEXAS DFPS WRONGLY ACCUSES PARENTS OF DEPRIVING CHILDREN

Civil Litigation: Texas DFPS Wrongly Accuses Parents of Depriving Children, Caseworker Lies Under Oath
Case: ITO S children [Cause 85840][Lamar County]
Result: Case Dismissed at First Hearing


Summary: The Texas Department of Childrens’ Protective Services claimed the parents of these three children neglected them by exposing them to controlled substances.  The caseworker, Tiffany Massey, testified under oath that the school principal of one child had told her he had concerns the mother was abusing prescriptions drugs.  Her only other evidence in support of her claim was hearsay testimony.

The judge dismissed the case, but Haslam had already interviewed the school principal and – knowing that he had denied ever making such a claim to Ms. Massey – collected an affidavit from him denying it under oath.  When coupled with the transcript of Ms. Massey’s testimony, her aggravated perjury appears to be a an easy charge to bring and conviction to get for Lamar County District Attorney Gary Young.  Time will tell.

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: In this classic case of a child seeking attention during her parents’ divorce, Haslam and iconic 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 took only an hour to acquit him after a three day trial.

The early 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 routinely “testifies” for the Dallas County District Attorney, 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 inconsistent with actual sexual assault. She further admitted that had she been made aware of this admission by the granddaughter, she would have told the prosecutor the young woman should be re-interviewed.

The case is just one more illustration of the reality that prosecutors can lose their commitment to truth in the blind devotion to career advancement. And an illustration of the value of experienced trial counsel.