Category: CRIMINAL CASES

Case Dismissed

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT with A DEADLY WEAPON

Criminal Charge: Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Case: State of Texas v. X [Collin]
Result: Dismissed with Prejudice


Because this long-time military veteran’s felony case was dismissed with prejudice [meaning it can never be refiled] by the Collin County DA, his felony arrest will be expunged from his record and his name is omitted here. Likewise, the companion misdemeanor case will be expunged after the deferred adjudication probation period has ended.

This gentleman was originally charged with Class A misdemeanor deadly conduct when his rifle laser strayed into a neighbor’s window while bore-sighting it on his own backyard fence. The prosecutor, however, trumped up the thin racial dimension of the allegation and managed an indictment for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony carrying up to 20 years in prison. The County even refused to admit him – a veteran with no criminal history and an honorable discharge – to its Veteran’s Court program.

The Defendant hired a former local prosecutor to defend the case, but fired him after a few month’s work.

Haslam’s first motion was a writ of habeus corpus to remove the expensive leg monitor imposed on him. With the monitor removed, Haslam moved to suppress the police’s illegal entry and search of the Defendant’s home.  The Court agreed and excluded certain evidence and testimony that eroded the strength of the case.

As the weakened felony moved to trial Haslam forced another, related misdemeanor to trial first in order to have a less risky opportunity to cross-examine the complaining witnesses. In the course of this effort, he moved for the production of their criminal histories  – a motion the State and the Court remarkably refused. Texas law requires the production of this material under circumstances that existed here, yet a myth persists it can’t be done. This is what is known as “building error” into a case: it’s a ready-made appeal in the event of a trial conviction.

Weeks later, the day before the misdemeanor trial, the prosecutor announced she was dismissing the felony and offered a 2 year deferred adjudication on the related misdemeanor. She tried to quietly preserve the right to refile the felony; however, Haslam negotiated a dismissal with prejudice – meaning the felony can never be refiled.  Remarkably, despite the express agreement to dismiss the felony with prejudice, the prosecutor presented her order dismissing to the trial court that omitted this language.  Haslam filed yet another motion and proposed order [a so-called order nunc pro tunc] to enforce the agreement to dismiss with prejudice and the trial court quickly signed it. After two years of misdemeanor probation, this defendant will walk away legally unscathed.

Deferred Adjudication

FELONY ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON

Criminal Charge: Felony Assault with a Dangerous Weapon
Case: State of Oklahoma v. X [Choctaw]
Result: Reduced to Misdemeanor and Deferred Six Months

Oklahoma State Courts Network


Because this young defendant’s charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and deferred for 6 months, it will be expunged and stricken from public record upon successful completion of the short probationary period. Accordingly, his name is omitted here.

Charged with felony assault with a dangerous weapon, a charge that carries up to 10 years in the state penitentiary, the Choctaw County [OK] judge originally appointed him a lawyer. However, when the defendant rejected the State’s original plea bargain, the judge determined he was no longer poor enough to deserve an appointed lawyer and gave him a deadline to hire one. Eventually the judge jailed him because he couldn’t hire a lawyer. [It’s against the law for a judge to look beyond the wallet of the defendant when determining whether a court-appointed lawyer is required, but that didn’t stop this court]. McMillion v State, 742 P.2d 1158 [1987] and Spain v. District Court of Tulsa County, 882 P.2d 79 [1994].

His family hired Haslam, who promptly filed a motion and achieved his release from custody the day after he was jailed. Haslam then had the district court judge disqualified for refusing to afford this defendant a court reporter – the judge’s wife – at a motion hearing. Thereafter, he sued the City of Hugo under the Oklahoma Public Information Act for refusing to produce various police reports – this civil lawsuit settled for approximately $6,000 and the missing police reports were promptly coughed up.

With the missing evidence in hand, the Choctaw County prosecutor readily reduced the felony to the misdemeanor and 6 months deferred adjudication. The case will be expunged from his record.

Case Dismissed

DOMESTIC ASSAULT AND BATTERY

Criminal Charge: Domestic Assault & Battery
Case: State v. Jonathan Bradley [CM-17-274][Choctaw]
Result: Dismissal

Oklahoma State Courts Network


Summary: Mr. Bradley was charged with domestic assault and battery.  On reviewing the police reports, Haslam filed a motion for the production of a statement allegedly taken from the complainant and scene photos taken by a responding officer. Oddly, neither the statement nor the photos were included in the materials the Choctaw County DA originally produced to him.

Haslam filed a motion to compel the missing evidence and the Court granted this motion. Still, the prosecutor failed to turn it over. Reluctant to grant Haslam’s motion to dismiss the case, the Court convened an evidentiary hearing to hear from the prosecutor and the cops. After hearing Haslam’s examination of the police officer and his argument for dismissal, the Court granted the motion to dismiss the charges</strong against Mr. Bradley.