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Corpus Christi Criminal Defense Blog

Jury selection methods are the subject of criminal appeal

Four people were murdered in a Mississippi furniture store in 1996. A man was arrested and tried for murder. After six trials, the case is on appeal again. Since the issue on appeal revolves around racial bias in jury selection, a decision may affect criminal cases in Texas as well.

Previous convictions were overturned on appeal due or resulted in a hung jury. One conviction was overturned for jury bias, when the prosecutor dismissed 15 African Americans from the jury pool. The present case contains the same issue. According to researchers, the district attorney in question has a long habit of dismissing African Americans from the jury pool when the defendant is black.

Former police officer convicted of assisting drug cartel

A federal jury in Texas deliberated for four hours before finding a former chief of the La Joya City Police Department guilty on two counts of providing aid and assistance to the Mexican Gulf Cartel's drug distribution activities. The verdicts came at the end of a four-day trial in Hidalgo County. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security became aware of the man's activities when he was employed as a sergeant by the Progreso Police Department.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, an informant told DHS agents that the man had boasted about working for the cartel and claimed to know senior cartel figures personally. He is said to have told the informant that he became involved with the cartel to raise money for an upcoming election campaign. Prosecutors allege that the man provided cartel leaders with information about police operations and the addresses of drug dealers. He is also said to have taken part in violent home invasions with cartel members to find narcotics.

Undercover drug sting leads to 3 arrests

Federal prosecutors in Texas have charged three people with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute in connection with an undercover drug operation at a popular San Antonio restaurant. Deputies from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration took part in the Feb. 25 operation. Two 18-year-old men and a 30-year-old woman face between 10 years and life in a federal prison if convicted on all charges.

According to federal court documents, deputies and agents arranged to purchase several kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from the defendants outside a Perrin Beitel Road restaurant. Reports indicate that the two 18-year-old men met with law enforcement shortly after midnight and were joined a short time later by the 30-year-old woman. After the three suspects had been taken into custody, a K-9 unit was called in to conduct a drug search.

Prosecutors to review drug cases involving suspended officer

Two Texas police officers have been relieved of duty in the wake of a no-knock drug raid in Houston on Jan. 29 that led to the death of two people. One of the officers is accused of lying about the heroin purchase that was used to justify the raid. The Harris County District Attorney's Office responded to the news by vowing to review at least 1,400 cases involving the officers. Two of the cases have already been dismissed.

Both of the dismissed cases stem from a drug raid in Dorchester in July 2018. The two officers entered the residence along with six colleagues after allegedly observing a confidential informer purchase crack cocaine. Reports indicate that a no-knock warrant was issued because one of the suspects had been charged twice for violating firearms laws. The raid did not lead to any drug charges against the primary suspect. A second individual, who was found sleeping in a car, was taken into custody after officers found less than a gram of crack cocaine inside the vehicle. The suspect denied the drugs were his.

SEC charges former Apple employee with insider trading

Texas residents may be interested to learn that a man who formerly worked as a high-ranking corporate secretary for Apple Inc. has been charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the lawsuit, the SEC alleges that the man avoided losses of $345,000 by selling off $10 million in Apple stock. He sold the stock a short period before Apple came out with their earnings in July 2015 that resulted in a 4 percent drop in stock.

The SEC also alleges that the man used insider knowledge to gain $37,000 in several other instances. According to the SEC, the man formerly helped ensure Apple complied with securities laws, provided legal advice in regards to SEC filings and helped manage the corporate subsidiary structure of Apple. Apple has strict rules that prohibit employees from insider trading, and the SEC noted that Apple was not being charged in the case. The man was terminated by Apple in September 2018.

2 men face drug charges after seizure of 74 pounds of cocaine

A recent criminal complaint against two Texas men gave few details about the special agents that uncovered their alleged drug trafficking materials. The evidence presented by federal prosecutors described a residence in Brownsville that special agents had been monitoring. They observed a 2014 GMC Sierra come and go from the house in a span of 2 minutes.

Law enforcement officers then stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver, a man from McAllen. He reportedly told police that he dropped 30 bundles of cocaine off at the house. The man at the house then subsequently gave agents permission to conduct a search of the premises, which yielded 74 pounds of cocaine. During questioning, the man admitted that his home served as a cocaine distribution point.

7 busted in Texas meth trafficking ring

On Feb. 5, federal and local authorities announced the arrest and indictment of seven individuals suspected of drug trafficking. The announcement was made in Tyler.

According to media reports, a multi-agency law enforcement task force started investigating an alleged methamphetamine trafficking operation in Upshur County in 2017. Over the course of the investigation, agents were able to obtain video and audio evidence of undercover officers buying meth from the defendants. As a result of this evidence, the agents obtained search and arrest warrants and seized an unspecified amount of methamphetamine and firearms.

House members re-introduce bill to make animal cruelty a felony

If two members of the U.S. House of Representatives have their way, malicious acts of cruelty to animals will soon be felonies in Texas and across the U.S. Individuals convicted under the proposed law, called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT, could face heavy fines and several years of incarceration.

PACT would make it a felony to crush, drown, burn, suffocate or impale animals. It would also criminalize bestiality and the sexual exploitation of animals. However, the law would not apply to veterinary care, hunting and situations where human life and property are being threatened by an animal. The proposed law has been lauded by the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Would a blacklist prevent police from lying?

If a police officer lied on the witness stand, would you trust them to testify in the future? Should prosecutors be notified that certain officers have a history of being untrustworthy? Several district attorneys of major U.S. cities have developed a database of unreliable cops, but should they?

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