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Corpus Christi Criminal Defense Blog

What the long-term consequences of a federal conviction are

When a person is convicted of a crime, it's like a scarlet letter attached to their name. Currently, there's no system in place in Texas or the United States as a whole that automatically expunges an individual's criminal records after a certain period. Once a defendant is convicted of a crime, and more specifically a federal one, their conviction is generally attached to their name forever.

There are collateral consequences to being convicted of a crime. This is more than just the adverse information being on an individuals' permanent record too.

Why is there a focus on drug trafficking in South Texas?

Law enforcement agents across the United States try to stop drug trafficking and similar crimes that are tied to drug cartels. One way that these drugs make it into the country is through sophisticated tunnels. These have been found along the southern border that joins the U.S. with Mexico. The busts that come when new tunnels are found are usually considerable and can lead to serious criminal charges.

In a recent event, federal agents found a tunnel that contained 17 pounds of heroin, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 3,000 pounds of marijuana, 1,300 pounds of cocaine and over two pounds of fentanyl. All told, the value of the drugs was around $29.6 million. While this bust didn't happen in Texas, it gives you an idea of how large some of these drug smuggling operations are.

When is a police search of your vehicle lawful?

If a police search of your vehicle has resulted in your arrest, then you may be wondering what your options are in your case. That greatly depends on whether the search of your car was lawful in the first place. If it wasn't, then any of the potentially incriminating evidence that law enforcement seized may be able to be suppressed. That's why it's important that you know when police can lawfully search your car.

Virtually every one of us is protected from unlawful searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. There are some exceptions to this rule though.

Man convicted in drug trafficking case

On March 6, a 28-year-old man was convicted of obstruction of justice following a five-day trial prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Texas. He was accused of drug trafficking and threatening to kill his roommate and jail guards.

According to local media reports, in 2016, law enforcement officers started investigating a drug trafficking ring that was operating in Dallas and east Texas. During the course of the investigation, they reportedly recorded the defendant and his roommate attempting to sell drugs to a police informant. The officers further discovered that he was a stripper and dealing cocaine in various strip clubs in the Dallas area.

West Texas drug raid leads to arrest of 19 people

On March 5, multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies coordinated to bust a large drug ring operating in west Texas. So far, 33 individuals have been charged in the case.

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Texas, approximately 300 officers joined forces to arrest 19 people connected to the ring and seize a large quantity of methamphetamine and cash. Several firearms were also reportedly confiscated. The raids took place in the cities of Dimmitt, Hart, Hereford and Milano as well as in rural areas of Deaf Smith County and Swisher County.

Texas man on trial for drug trafficking

In early March, the trial of a Texas man charged with trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine began in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. The defendant, age 28, was charged with additional crimes following his arrest in 2017.

The defendant is reportedly one of several people accused of trafficking meth and cocaine in Dallas and the East Texas area. He is on trial for allegedly conspiring to traffic large amounts of meth and cocaine, using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and threatening a witness. The witness intimidation charge came while he was in custody for the drug and weapons charges, and he was additionally charged with possession of contraband in prison. He pleaded guilty to the possession charge the morning his trial began. His sentencing will take place at a later date.

With police, don't stay silent, but don't talk

When you encounter the police, you do not want to incriminate yourself in any way. You can do this by accidentally saying something that makes you appear guilty -- whether you are or not. One little statement can lead to an arrest and may land you in jail. This is not the time for any mistakes.

The advice you get from a lot of people is to "plead the fifth." This is in reference to the Fifth Amendment, which says that you have a right to remain silent. You don't have to say anything, specifically so that you do not feel forced to incriminate yourself. You can stay silent.

Paper suggests ways to reduce juror racial bias

Criminal defense attorneys in Texas can reduce juror racial bias by addressing discrimination during trials and pretrial hearings, according to a new paper by an assistant federal public defender in Arizona. The document dealt with bias against Latinos, but its findings could be applied to any minority defendant.

The paper, which was recently published in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice, claims that empirical studies show attorneys can take several steps to decrease the risk of race bias in jurors. For example, attorneys may use pretrial motions to allege that authorities targeted a defendant based on his or her race. This accusation can be backed up by the testimony of expert witnesses. The defense could also introduce evidence of a police officer's arrest record if it demonstrates a history of bias.

Unreliable psychological tests often used in courtrooms

Many psychological and IQ tests that are used in courtrooms in Texas and across the country may be unreliable. The use of such tests may sway a jury, influence custody decisions or result in a person being denied bail or sentenced to capital punishment. A recent study looked at the validity of such tests.

Researchers from Arizona State University reviewed hundreds of psychological exams that had been used in court cases. They found that one-third of the tests weren't reviewed by prominent psychological journals. Only 40% of the tests used in court cases received a favorable review. Almost 25% of the tests were determined to be unreliable. Of the 876 cases reviewed, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory was most commonly used. This test has favorable reviews. Unfortunately, the second most common test was the Rorschach test, which experts believe to be subjective and ambiguous.

Former law enforcement officer convicted for drug crimes

Texas residents who are accused of being involved in drug crimes should understand the harsh penalties they might face if they are convicted. This applies to anyone, including law enforcement. A recent case involving a former police officer shows the potential personal and professional consequences of a drug conviction.

The officer, 44, received a 10-year prison sentence for various crimes conducted with drug traffickers. The investigation started in 2011. As it moved forward, officers were said to be involved. They were alleged to have portrayed themselves as drug transporters. However, they sold what they were supposed to be transporting and told the drug providers that the drugs had been seized in law enforcement raids.

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