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FORT WORTH – Benson Varghese, managing partner of the law firm Varghese Summersett, has been named the 2019 Outstanding Young Lawyer by the Tarrant County Young Lawyer’s Association (TCYLA).

Varghese received the award on Tuesday, May 7 during the annual Law Day Awards Dinner at the Fort Worth Club. The event, which is hosted by TCYLA and the Tarrant County Bar Association, recognizes outstanding members of the bar and judiciary.

The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award is presented to a Tarrant County attorney who has demonstrated professional proficiency and service to the profession and service to the community.

“I am incredibly humbled to stand before you and to receive this award - not just for myself but also as a member of the criminal bar," Varghese told the audience. "It's rare for a member of the criminal bar to be selected as an Outstanding Young Lawyer. I can't remember the last time it happened. Thank you for the recognition.

“If there is one thing I can tell young lawyers it is to learn from established attorneys. I had the good fortune of working with a group of attorneys right out of law school, and I learned so much from the best of the best in Tarrant County in my practice area…Don’t be afraid to take the best from your mentors – many of whom are in this room tonight.”

Varghese was one of five local attorneys who were recognized Tuesday night for their service to the legal community and community at large. Other award recipients included:

  •  Gary L. Nickelson, Blackstone Award

 

  •  Judge Wayne Salvant, Silver Gavel Award

 

  •  Bobbie G. Edmonds, Professionalism Award

 

  •  Wade A Barrow, Outstanding Mentor Award

 

At age 37, Varghese is the founder of the largest and fastest-growing criminal defense firm in Tarrant County. A former Tarrant County prosecutor, Varghese started the firm five years ago in a small 10 x 15 office. Today, Varghese Summersett occupies 8,500 square feet of space in downtown Fort Worth and employs attorneys of the highest caliber.

Varghese serves as an officer on the Board of the Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and is an avid supporter of a number of philanthropic and non-profit organizations, including Tarrant County Volunteer Services (TVAS), Habitat for Humanity, WORTH, Rotary Club of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, among others. Last year, Varghese Summersett was honored with the 2018 Law Firm Pro Bono Award by TVAS for the firm’s work assisting indigent attorneys who can’t afford an attorney. And last month, the firm again awarded scholarships to students with autism and Down syndrome, an annual cause established in honor of two of the firm’s senior attorneys who have children with special needs.

On Tuesday night, Varghese was introduced at the reception by his law partner and wife, Anna Summersett, who touted his philosophy to “do what is right, every time, and do it without fear or hesitation.”

“Using that simple model, Benson quickly grew a one-person shop in a tiny rented office to the largest criminal defense firm in Dallas/Fort Worth,” Summersett told the audience. “He has since been named things like, ‘Entrepreneur of Excellence, Minority Leader in Business, Top Attorney, and Super Lawyer Rising Star.’ He pushed his firm to become the sixth fastest growing company in Fort Worth and the 782nd fastest growing company in the country.

“He does it better because he does it differently. He inspires me, our 2 month-old son, and even his adversaries across the aisle to do it better, too.”  

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Does Accident + Felony DWI = Deadly Weapon

In Couthren v. State, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held a person accused of felony driving while intoxicated may only be charged with using a  motor vehicle as a deadly weapon if the manner in which the defendant was driving could cause death or serious bodily injury. In this case, even though it involved an auto-pedestrian accident, the Court concluded that there was no evidence that the accident was caused by the defendant's reckless or dangerous driving.

In Texas, a person arrested for DWI who has two or more prior convictions for DWI will be charged with DWI – Felony Repetition, a third degree felony. 

Deadly Weapon Enhancements in DWIs

Deadly Weapon Enhancement


In any felony where it is show that the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon, the trial court shall enter a deadly weapon finding in the judgment. A motor vehicle is not a deadly weapon, per se, but can be if it is used in a manner that is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

DWI Accident - The Background

Donald Ray Couthren II was convicted of driving while intoxicated – felony repetition after he got behind the wheel in the early morning hours of June 16, 2012, after drinking two “Four Loko” beverages. Couthren was driving on a frontage road, just outside of Bryan, Texas, when a pedestrian walking home from a nearby bar stepped out in front of his vehicle. The vehicle struck the pedestrian and his head went through the windshield. He suffered six broken ribs, a broken leg and possibly a concussion. Couthren put the unconscious pedestrian in his vehicle and drove to a nearby house where he was subsequently arrested.

Four Loko

Reckless or Dangerous - Basis for Deadly Weapon Finding

A finding that the vehicle was used in a manner that is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury is dependent on whether the defendant’s driving was reckless or dangerous. Reckless or dangerous driving has been demonstrated by speeding, disregarding traffic signs, failing to maintain control of vehicle, fishtailing, causing property damage with the vehicle, driving on the wrong side of the road, almost colliding with another vehicle, and failing to yield to traffic. This is a fact-sensitive inquiry based upon specific testimony and the record of evidence. Furthermore, the fact of a collision and intoxication alone will not support finding of a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon.

Because this analysis is fact-sensitive, the court looked at two cases where the use of a motor vehicle in a DWI case satisfied the deadly weapon component to determine if the threshold was met in this case.

In Sierra v. State, there was no witness testimony regarding the accident, however the police conducted a thorough on-scene investigation and could determine the speed at which the vehicle was going. The Court concluded that, under these facts, a jury could have reasonably found that the defendant was speeding and failed to maintain control of his vehicle.

In Moore v. State, the defendant rear-ended a vehicle causing it slam into another vehicle in a major intersection. In this case there was evidence both that the vehicle was going fast enough to cause this double collision, as well as evidence that the defendant either failed to apply the brakes, or applied them too late to avoid impact. Here, too, the Court  found that the defendant was using his vehicle in a manner capable of causing serious injury or death.

Finally, the court, in a footnote, cites Tyra v. State, where the evidence showed that the defendant was too drunk to control the vehicle and the inability to control the vehicle demonstrated recklessness. In all three cases, there existed enough evidence to demonstrate the defendant’s intoxication caused the defendant to not be in control thereby making the vehicle a deadly weapon.

The set of facts in Couthren v. State do not present enough evidence to issue a finding that the motor vehicle was a deadly weapon. On June 16, 2012, around 2:00 a.m. the defendant was driving his vehicle on a frontage road. The defendant admitted to consuming alcohol earlier that afternoon. The victim was walking home on the right side of the road. He was leaving a bar and decided to walk because he had two DWI charges and did not want a third. As the defendant was driving, the victim stepped in front of the vehicle and hit his head on the windshield. The defendant got out of the car to inspect the body, and noticed the victim was bloody and unconscious. There were no other witnesses present or any passing vehicles. The defendant decided to take the victim to the hospital, but in lieu of immediately driving to the hospital, the defendant drove to his house to exchange cars with his girlfriend where he became involved in an altercation. It was at this point the police were called and the defendant was arrested.

The Court of Appeals noted that they were unable to ascertain the manner in which the defendant was driving moments before the victim was hit. The only evidence present in the case was that the defendant admitted to drinking alcohol and further testified that he was driving roughly 30 miles per hour when he struck the victim. The officers testified that he appeared intoxicated, and was slurring his speech and swaying. They noted that the defendant did not drive to the hospital immediately, and that his vehicle’s windshield has a spiderweb of broken glass on the passenger’s side. Finally, they testified that it appeared that the victim was hit pretty hard. The court found this evidence did not meet the threshold of being reckless or dangerous. The only direct evidence was the defendant’s testimony that he was driving 30 miles per hour. The officers did not testify about the speed limit on the road, and did not conduct an investigation of brake marks or skid marks to determine the manner in which the defendant was driving. While the officers did say the victim looked to have been hit hard, it does not demonstrate the inference of speeding like in the Moore case. Thus, the court was unable to determine the motor vehicle was a deadly weapon in this case.

As an ancillary matter, the State also alleged that the defendant’s decision not to take the victim immediately to the hospital and to drive with the windshield broken was evidence of the reckless or dangerous standard. The court quickly dispels this notion by arguing a decision to drive may be reckless but that does not make automatically the vehicle a deadly weapon. Furthermore they noted that while the passenger side of the windshield was cracked, the officers noted the driver’s side appeared to be clear enough for a person to have enough visibility to drive. The court ultimately dispensed with their second argument and found the defendant did not use a deadly weapon in his DWI charge.

The post Does a DWI Felony + Wreck = Deadly Weapon Finding? appeared first on Varghese Summersett PLLC | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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DWI Second Offense | DWI Misdemeanor Repetition in Texas

DWI Second

While a second DWI  is a misdemeanor offense, a conviction for this offense carries with it significant direct and collateral consequences. 

One troubling aspect of a DWI-Second, also called  DWI Misdemeanor Repetition, is that if you are convicted of a second DWI, you are going to serve jail time no matter what - even if you are granted probation. Under Texas law, jail time is a condition of probation for a DWI-Second.

Another, even more troubling aspect, is that once you have a second DWI, any time you are suspected of a DWI in the future, you are going to be facing a felony charge.

A DWI Second in Texas is a hybrid Class A misdemeanor punishable by 30 days to a year in jail. Even though it has a unique minimum time in jail requirement, it is considered a Class A misdemeanor.

Jail as a Condition of Probation on a DWI Second in Texas

As mentioned, even a sentence of probation requires time in jail for a second DWI. If the prior DWI was within the last five years, your minimum time in jail on a probated sentence is five days. If the prior DWI was longer than five years ago, the minimum time in jail on a probated sentence is 72 hours. The most jail time a person can do as a condition of probation for a second DWI is 30 days.  The judge can impose up to two years of probation.

Other Conditions of Probation of DWI Second in Texas

You will have to complete the following conditions, and possibly more, for a DWI Second charge in Texas:

  • DWI Repeat Offender Program (DWI ROP)
  • Substance Abuse Evaluation/ Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration Program (TAIP)
  • Interlock as a Condition of Probation
  • Community Service
  • Victim Impact Panel

Bond Conditions of DWI Second in Texas

If you are charged with a DWI Second in Texas, you should expect the court will require you to have interlock installed on any vehicle you operate while you are out on bond. You should also expect the judge to add a condition that says you shall not consume alcohol while you are bond.

Fines for DWI Second in Texas

A fine of up to $4,000 will be imposed for a DWI Second charge in Texas. This is true for jail sentences and probated sentences.

License Surcharges for DWI Second Convictions in Texas

If you are convicted of a DWI Second in Texas, you should expect a $2,000 per year surcharge on your Driver License for three years, for a total of $6,000.

DWI Second Investigation and Prosecution

While the punishment range for a DWI Second is very different from a first-time DWI, the burden of proof and elements other than the prior are the same as that of a DWI first. For more information on DWI investigations and prosecutions in Texas, don’t miss this article: DWIs in Texas.

DWI Second License Suspensions

The criminal court judge may suspend your driver license for up to two years if you receive a jail sentence on a DWI Second charge in Texas. Administratively, your license will be suspended for one year if your driving record shows more than one DWI-related contact during the last 10 years.

The post Why do DWI second charges require jail time for probated sentences? appeared first on Varghese Summersett PLLC | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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When do the police need a warrant to search blood in intoxication cases?

The Court of Criminal Appeals handed down State v. Martinezanswering whether the State’s testing of blood previously drawn by hospital personnel for medical purposes constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. 

In facts similar to those in State v. Martinez, in 1991 the Court of Criminal Appeals handed down the plurality opinion in State v. Comeaux that the Fourth Amendment was violated when the State obtained a vial containing blood samples and tested the sample for blood-alcohol content without a warrant.

hospital blood draw DWI

In both Martinez and Comeaux, the defendants were taken to a hospital for treatment following a traffic accident and blood was drawn by hospital personnel for medical purposes but was not tested for blood-alcohol content by the hospital. However, because it was a plurality opinion, Comeaux did not establish binding precedent and left open the question of whether blood-alcohol testing by the State constituted a search.

No expectation of privacy in the results of a blood test performed by hospital personnel.

The State in Martinez argued that State v. Hardy and State v. Huse held an individual does not have an expectation of privacy in vials of blood protected by the Fourth Amendment. In both Hardy and Huse, the State obtained grand jury subpoenas for the results of blood-alcohol tests conducted by hospital personnel. In Hardy, the Court of Criminal Appeals addressed whether the police need a warrant to obtain the results of a blood test when the blood is drawn and tested by hospital personnel for medical diagnosis. In answering the question, the Court discussed that an individual has potentially three separate privacy interests in his or her blood: the interest against the physical intrusion into the body to draw blood, the interest in exercising control over and the testing of the blood, and the interest in the results of the test.

At issue in Hardy was the interest in the results of the blood test. Reasoning that any interest society has in protecting the privacy of medical records was not sufficiently strong to require the Fourth Amendment protection of blood-alcohol testing results, the Court held that a warrant is not required to obtain the results of blood-alcohol testing performed by a hospital for medical diagnosis purposes.

Following the decision in Hardy, U.S. Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) designed to protect an individual’s privacy interest in medical information. In State v. Huse, the Court of Criminal Appeals took up the question of whether Hardy was still valid after the passing of HIPAA. Recognizing that HIPAA supports the claim that society recognizes a legitimate expectation of privacy in medical records in general, the Court determined that the expectation of privacy in medical records in general was not at issue because of HIPAA’s exception for information obtained pursuant to a grand jury subpoena.

Both Hardy and Huse explicitly established that an individual has no privacy interest in the results of a blood-alcohol content test but declined to determine whether a privacy interest in the exercise of control over and testing of a blood sample existed. In fact, Hardy only muddied the waters. Citing a United States Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives’ Association, the Court in Hardy noted that a blood draw instigated by the State for the purposes of testing for blood-alcohol content constitutes two discrete searches: the physical intrusion into the body and the subsequent analysis of the blood. However, while explicitly recognizing that blood analysis by the State itself is an invasion of a reasonable expectation of privacy, the Court refused to affirm the holding in Comeaux stating there “may” be a separate privacy interest in exercising control over and the testing of a drawn blood sample. Thus, the question at issue in Martinez was left largely unanswered by Hardy and Huse: to what extent does an individual have an expectation of privacy in the exercise of control over and testing over blood already drawn?

An individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy in control over and testing of a blood sample.

Under the Fourth Amendment, a search is unreasonable if it invades a reasonable expectation of privacy. A reasonable expectation of privacy includes both an individual’s subjective expectation of privacy and society’s recognition of the expectation of privacy as reasonable or legitimate. An individual’s subjective expectation of privacy is dependent on the facts of the case. However, citing Comeaux, the Court provided some guidance by noting that a person does not assume that a blood sample given for the purpose of private testing will be given to the State or for a purpose other than that intended.

 The Court went further to hold that an individual has an interest in the “private facts” in blood because blood contains information about an individual beyond the person’s intoxication and that the chemical analysis of the blood is an invasion of the individual’s privacy interest. Blood-alcohol testing was compared to a search of a cell phone, which requires a warrant due to the privacy concerns implicated by the information stored on the phone. This holding is consistent with the statement in Huse that HIPAA represents society’s expectation that private medical information should be kept free from discovery and disclosure. It is also consistent with the Supreme Court’s statement in Skinner that the chemical analysis of a blood sample following a blood draw constitutes a separate and distinct invasion of privacy. Given the private facts found in blood, the Court explicitly held that an individual has “an expectation of privacy in blood that is drawn for medical purposes.” 

The bottom line is that the law is now much clearer about what privacy interests in an individual’s blood are subject to the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is not implicated if the State seeks to obtain the results of a blood test performed by hospital personnel for medical diagnosis purposes. On the other hand, a warrant is required to satisfy the Fourth Amendment if the State seeks to draw and test an individual’s blood. Now, after Martinez, if the State desires to test the blood-alcohol content of blood previously drawn by hospital personnel for medical diagnosis, the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant.

Act

Warrant

Case

Obtain and Draw Blood without Consent

Required

Obtain Results of Blood Tested for Medical Purposes

Not Required

Huse and Hardy

Test Blood Drawn for Medical Purposes

Required

Martinez

The post Warrant Required for Law Enforcement to Test Blood Drawn for Medical Purposes appeared first on Varghese Summersett PLLC | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently went to great lengths to explain how it came to decision with a different result than the United States Supreme Court in Carpenter v. U.S.

In Sims v. State, the Court of Criminal Appeals determined a search warrant was not required when using real-time cell site location information (CSLI) for three hours to find a suspect. The Court reached this decision despite Carpenter v. U.S. where the Supreme Court found that retrieval of 127 days of historical CSLI was a violation the Fourth Amendment.

What is CSLI?

CSLI, or cell-site location information, is the data held by third parties (typically cellular companies like AT&T or Verizon) for business purposes in order to provide better service to their customers. When a person uses their cell phone to make a call, send a text, or access an application that requires the use of data, the phone connects with the cell tower, and the activity is stored. The data is retrieved and stored in cell towers. This data has the ability to provide time-stamped locations of the phone.

Because cell phones have become an integral part of everyday life, this dependency assures the location of a phone can be connected to the location of a person. The recent growth in the number of cell towers has allowed CSLI location readings to become more accurate, pinpointing a phone’s location within 50 meters.

CSLI and the Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment provides that a person is free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and that you, your home, your papers, and your things are secure and protected from warrantless search.

In order to obtain a warrant, authorities must establish probable cause. The necessity of a warrant provides a safeguard from governmental intrusion on a person’s individual privacy. The question then becomes whether tracking CSLI infringes upon a person’s right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. Though providing the same information, the Supreme Court has made a distinction as to whether CSLI is real-time or historical. Real-time CSLI is used to track current situations that are unfolding, whereas historical CSLI retroactively looks to see the phone’s location at certain points in time. The bright-line parameters have yet to be fully established and the inquiry is fact sensitive.

Carpenter v. U.S. (2018)

While a more robust and detailed account of Carpenter v. U.S. can be found here, this article will discuss the parts pertinent to the discussion regarding Sims v. State.

The Court in Carpenter held the police cannot request 127 days of CSLI without a warrant, and that doing was a violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy from unreasonable search and seizures. The Court declined to follow the Third-Party Doctrine, that a person relinquishes their right to privacy when information and documents are shared with a third party. While data stored in cell towers is held by a third party, it is not freely given in the same way as financial or bank records. Rather, the recording of physical locations are an automatic function of a cell phone any time it is turned on. The Court also noted that the number of days the police pulled CSLI, providing a complete record of the location of the phone during that time period, contravenes the reasonable expectation to privacy that is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Finally, the Court highlighted the narrow nature of their holding, and that it extended only to historical CSLI, and not real-time CSLI. Furthermore, the Court noted in exigent circumstances (e.g. pursuit of a fleeing suspect, or to protect individuals who are threatened with imminent harm), an officer would be able to obtain real-time CSLI information without a warrant.

Sims v. State  (2019)

In Sims, the defendant was charged with the murder of his grandmother. She was killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of her head. The police found that the victim’s car, purse, and two guns were missing, and were assumed to have been taken by the suspects. The officers discovered the suspects used a credit card from the purse at a Walmart in Oklahoma, roughly 80 miles north of where the victim was found. The officers thought there would be probable cause to attain a warrant for CSLI, however when they returned to the office, another officer had already attained CSLI without a warrant. The officers used the CSLI data to locate and apprehend the suspects. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the CSLI data alleging that accessing the CSLI records without a warrant was a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

In determining whether obtaining real-time CSLI records violated the Fourth Amendment, the Court looked to Carpenter and determined that what mattered was not the content of the CSLI records, but rather was whether the government seized “enough” information from the records that it violated a legitimate expectation to privacy. The Court noted that there is not a bright-line rule for determining how long police must track a cell phone in real time before it violates a recognized expectation of privacy, but merely determined that threshold was not met in this instance. The Court did not distinguish between historical and real-time data, nor did it claim that this case fell under the exigent circumstances exception mentioned in Carpenter. They simply determined that three hours of real-time CSLI tracking did not invade the legitimate expectation of privacy afforded by the Fourth Amendment.

Making Sense of Conflicting Cases

Because of Carpenter’s limited scope, it may be possible to harmonize Sims with Carpenter. First, Carpenter does not address the issue of real-time CSLI. Second, the amount of data extended 127 days whereas in Sims the data was limited to three hours. While we do not know where the proverbial line in the sand is for how much data is too much, we now have two ends of the spectrum, giving us a general baseline to determine when obtaining CSLI without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment.

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Was your cell site location information obtained without a warrant in a criminal case? Give us a call at 817-203-2220


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The post Sims v. State: Can police obtain real-time cell site location without warrant? appeared first on Varghese Summersett PLLC | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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Timbs v. Indiana: SCOTUS Boot on the Throat of Policing for Profit?

The Supreme Court, in Timbs v. Indiana, recently handed down a unanimous decision that may be the death knell for "policing by profit," limiting both police and prosecutors across the country. The Court held that the Eighth Amendment protection against excessive fines, including forfeiture of property, applies to states. This holding will limit asset forfeiture in cases where the forfeiture is based on an instrumentality theory and the asset is “grossly disproportional to the gravity of the offense.”

In the underlying case, Tyson Timbs pled guilty in Indiana state court for dealing a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit theft. He was sentenced to one year of home detention, five years of probation, and was required to pay fees of $1,203. The maximum fine that could be imposed was $10,000.

When he was arrested, the police seized his Land Rover SUV, which was valued at $42,000. He paid for the vehicle with money he received from an insurance policy when his father died. The State hired a private law firm to engage in a civil suit for forfeiture of the vehicle. Timbs’ principle argument was that the value of the asset seized was grossly disproportional to the gravity of the offense, and thus violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. The ultimate question for the court was whether the Eighth Amendment Excessive Fines Clause was incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment to apply to state action as well as federal action. 

The Excessive Fines Clause and the Incorporation Doctrine

The Incorporation Doctrine articulates a principal that the fundamental rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are incorporated to provide protection from state action as well as federal action. The Bill of Rights, in its inception, was promulgated as a safety valve from the federal government. After the Civil War, Congress ratified the Fourteenth Amendment containing language akin to the Substantive Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment, which protects individuals from the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment’s subtle, yet significant, difference was that it ensured due process against state action.

Over the ensuing years, and through numerous precedential cases, the Supreme Court began to articulate a test for whether a provision of the Bill of Rights was incorporated. Ultimately the test became whether the clause was so fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty that it ought to have protection from state action.

In determining the fundamental nature of the right in question, the Supreme Court often looks to the history and tradition of the right in question.

Until the Supreme Court case in Timbs, the clause regarding excessive fines had not previously been incorporated to provide protection against the states. This new ruling now advances that protection against excessive fines from the government is so fundamental to ordered liberty that it protects individuals from both federal and state action.

Limits on Asset Forfeiture

instrumentalities vs proceeds in asset forfeitures

This section will serve as a primer for understanding the basics of asset forfeiture. For more information on the subject, click here. Asset forfeiture is the act of the government seizing assets thought to be connected with a crime. Proceeds are the ill-gotten gains of a crime. Instrumentalities, on the other hand, includes anything used to perpetuate the crime.

 If an asset was purchased from the proceeds of a crime, or if it was used as an instrumentality in perpetuating the crime, it has the capacity to be seized by the government.

In cases where the assets are purchased from the proceeds of the crime, while an excessive fines analysis occurs, the assets are directly correlated to the gravity of the offense because the proceeds stem from the offense itself. Therefore, it is seldom, if ever, that assets from proceeds are considered excessive pursuant to the Eighth Amendment.

Assets seized as an instrumentality of the offense, however, are judged on a much different basis. This proportionality analysis occurs by taking the pecuniary value of the asset seized and comparing it to the maximum fine that could statutorily be imposed for committing the offense. Thus, if the value of the asset or property is within the monetary value of the maximum fine that could be imposed, the courts will presume that the fine is not excessive. Even when the value of the property is above the value of the maximum fine, as long as the numbers are relatively close, the courts will not declare the forfeiture excessive, and thus unconstitutional.

The Court's Rationale in Timbs

The Court looked at the history and tradition of the Excessive Fines Clause. The Court was able to trace the lineage of the clause to the year 1215, having its roots in the Magna Carta. They determined that this fundamental document asserted that economic sanctions must be proportioned to the wrong doing. They further noted that this language was present in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was later co-opted into the Eighth Amendment. Furthermore, by 1868, 35 of the 37 States in existence expressly prohibited excessive fines, and that currently, all 50 states do. The Court discerns the understanding historically of the Excessive Fines Clause because it is indicative as to whether the clause is fundamental in the sense that it is deserving of protection from both federal and state action.

Image of Magna Carta

Photo of one of only four surviving examples of the 1217 version of the “Magna Carta” or Great Charter.

The Court ultimately held that there was overwhelming evidence to find the Excessive Fines Clause to be fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty. Because of this holding, the seizure of Tyson Timbs’ land rover, being grossly disproportional to the gravity of the offense, was unconstitutional.

The post Timbs v. Indiana: SCOTUS Boot on the Throat of Policing for Profit? appeared first on Varghese Summersett PLLC | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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We analyzed 203,866 criminal cases filed in Tarrant County over the last five years, from January 2014 through December 2018. While the Tarrant County District Attorney Office’s caseload and budget has increased, cases are sitting idle longer. This is largely due to the fact that more cases are coming in than getting resolved. In other words, the wheels of justice are turning slower than in years past.

All the information compiled in this article was obtained through Public Information Act (PIA) requests and other publicly available data from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, Tarrant County Commissioners Court, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission, and the Office of Court Administration. Here’s what the data showed:

Tarrant County’s Population is up 6 percent

More than 2.054 million people live in Tarrant County – an increase of 6 percent since 2014. The most populous city in Tarrant County is Fort Worth, which is the county seat and also where the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center is located.

The population in Tarrant County is up by 6% since 2014.
The population in Tarrant County is up by 6% since 2014.

Criminal Case Filings are up 16 percent since 2014

Over the past five years, the number of cases filed with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office has increased 16 percent. In 2018, 46,099 cases were filed, compared with 39,579 in 2014.

Tarrant County criminal case filings are up 16 percent since 2014.

Of the 46,099 cases filed in 2018 in Tarrant County, 28,695 were misdemeanors and 17,404 were felonies.

Misdemeanor case filings dropped in 2015 at the beginning of District Attorney Sharen Wilson’s administration. In 2018, the misdemeanor filings returned to 2014 levels.
Felony case filings have increased year over year in Tarrant County.
Felony cases also initially dropped but have been on the rise since 2015.

Tarrant County District Attorney’s Budget is up 14 Percent

Since 2014, the District Attorney’s Office Budget has increased by 14 percent (using actual expenditures for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and appropriations for 2018). In 2018, the DA’s approved budget was about $41 million.

Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney
Tarrant County District Attorney budget increased by 14%

Plea Bargains Have Dropped Significantly in Tarrant County

Despite the increased number of case filings and larger budget, fewer cases are being resolved in a timely manner through plea bargain agreements. For example, in 2014, for every 100 felony cases added to the dockets, 71 were resolved by pleas. Since that time, the number of pleas has dropped every year under the current administration. In 2018, only 58 pleas were secured for every 100 felony cases added to the docket.

Plea bargains are a way for cases to be resolved expeditiously, thereby generally maintaining or reducing the load for the court. When cases aren’t disposed through plea bargain negotiations and they sit on the docket, it increases the courts backlog of unresolved cases and strains resources.

While the budget and case filings have gone up, fewer cases are being resolved through pleas.

Case Resolutions are Reduced

For case resolutions, we included dismissals with the number of cases pled. In 2014, there were 99 cases resolved for every 100 cases filed. By 2018, that had dropped to 84 felony cases resolved for every 100 felony cases filed.

Case resolutions are down.
Including dismissals, cases were resolved at a 1:1 ratio in 2014. By 2018, more cases were being filed than resolved.

The rate of pleas in misdemeanor courts have also dropped. For every 100 misdemeanor cases filed in 2014, there were 85 misdemeanor pleas. For every 100 misdemeanor cases filed in 2018, there were 66 pleas.

It is taking longer to resolve felony cases. There has been an 11% jump in felony cases that were over a year old at the time of resolution in Tarrant County between 2014 and 2018.

felony cases that took over a year to resolve in Tarrant County
The number of felony cases in Tarrant County that were over a year old at the time of resolution.

Lack of Resolutions Shifts Burden to Taxpayers

The decrease in overall case resolutions ultimately affects taxpayers, who will have to pick up the tab for new courts, new judges, more prosecutors, pre-trial bond supervision, and pre-trial incarceration.

The Office of Court Administration reports that in Tarrant County there has been a 140% increase in the number of cases in which courts appoint attorneys since 2014. Between 2014 and 2017 (the last year expenditures are currently available for) the cost of court appointed counsel in Tarrant County has only gone up 14%.

Tarrant County court appointments have gone up by 140%. Retained cases have fallen every year since 2015.
Tarrant County court appointments have gone up by 140%. Retained cases have fallen every year since 2015.

Only 1 Percent of Felony Cases Go to Jury Trial

There were 17,404 felony cases filed in Tarrant County in 2018. Juries were selected 182 times in felony cases in Tarrant County in 2018. Based on records provided by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, verdicts were returned or mistrials were declared in 156 of those cases.

On average, each criminal district court in Tarrant County tried 16 cases.
On average, each criminal district court in Tarrant County tried 16 cases to juries.

Only 68 percent of Felony Jury Trials Resulted in State Verdicts

For purposes of this article, a guilty verdict to the offense charged or to an offense with the same punishment level is considered a win for prosecutors. A verdict of not guilty, a mistrial, or a verdict of guilty to a lesser charge is considered a victory for the defense. Based on those parameters, the state obtained favorable verdicts in 68 percent of the felony cases they tried in 2018.

Tarrant County prosecutors were successful in obtaining guilty verdicts to the offense (or equivalent offense) in only 68% of felony cases in 2018.
Tarrant County prosecutors were successful in obtaining guilty verdicts to the offense (or equivalent offense) in only 68 percent of felony cases in 2018.
Percentage of state felony verdicts in 2018 in each Tarrant County criminal district court.

Child Sexual Assault Trials Are Resulting in More Acquittals

According to data provided by the Office of Court Administration, the number of acquittals at trial on Child Sexual Assault cases are up ten-fold. There were as many not guilty verdicts in these cases in Tarrant County in 2018 as there were in the three previous years combined.

Tarrant County prosecutors are losing more child sexual assault cases in jury trials.
The number of child sexual assault jury trials in Tarrant County that resulted in Not Guilty verdicts.

Tarrant County Prosecutors Prevailed in 63% of Misdemeanor Jury Trials

Data provided by the Tarrant County District Attorney reflects 211 misdemeanor jury trials in Tarrant County in 2018. Of these, there were 78 defense verdicts and 133 state verdicts. In other words, prosecutors are only prevailing in misdemeanor trials in 63% of cases.

Misdemeanor prosecutors only prevailed in 63% of cases.
Tarrant County misdemeanor prosecutions resulted in state jury verdicts 63% of the time in 2018.

We are updating our charge-specific pages to include data on case filings and resolutions. Be sure to check our DWI, marijuana, drug, and sexual assault pages for more information in the coming days.

For example, the increase in case filings for misdemeanor marijuana cases is seven times the state average, despite both the Governor and Republican platforms supporting decriminalization of misdemeanor marijuana charges.

Marijuana cases are being filed in Tarrant County at a far higher rate than elsewhere the state.
Misdemeanor marijuana cases are being filed in Tarrant County at rates far beyond the state average.

If you are a member of the Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, be sure to check member-only resources for data on the win-loss statistics sorted by prosecutor.

Finally, if you’re facing a criminal charge in Tarrant County, give us a call. We are passionate about using every resource at our disposal to put our clients in the best possible position. Call us at (817) 203-2220 or contact us online:

The post 9 Key Insights into Tarrant County Criminal Cases appeared first on Varghese Summersett PLLC | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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Case Analytics and the Criminal Justice System

Case analytics are big business in the world of civil litigation. They help lawyers understand what cases are worth, what motions a given judge is most likely to grant, and what juries are doing in a specific jurisdiction. While each case is unique, this data helps shape litigation strategy, manage client expectation, and even provide insight into opposing counsel.

This type of analysis is largely absent in the criminal arena, although there are some promising efforts under way at the federal level. We decided to take a deep dive into case analytics using Tarrant County as an example. We relied on information obtained through Public Information Act requests and publicly available sources including the Texas Indigent Defense Commission and the Office of Court Administration.

Our models can be easily applied to any county in the state, as well as statewide. Some of the information, such as how successful individual prosecutors have been, has been reserved for members of the local criminal bar association.

Tarrant County as an Example

We analyzed 203,866 criminal cases filed in Tarrant County over the last five years, from January 2014 through December 2018. Here’s what we learned.

Tarrant County’s Population is up 6%

As a starting point, we looked at the change in population in Tarrant County. More than 2.054 million people live in Tarrant County – an increase of 6 percent since 2014. The most populous city in Tarrant County is Fort Worth, which is the county seat and also where the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center is located.

 

The population in Tarrant County is up by 6% since 2014.
The population in Tarrant County is up by 6% since 2014.

Criminal Case Filings are up 16% since 2014

Based on data maintained by the Office of Court Administration, over the past five years, the number of cases filed with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office has increased 16 percent. In 2018, 46,099 cases were filed, compared with 39,579 in 2014. 

Tarrant County criminal case filings are up 16% since 2014.

Of the 46,099 cases filed in 2018 in Tarrant County, 28,695 were misdemeanors and 17,404 were felonies.

Misdemeanor case filings dropped in 2015, which was the first year of the current administration. In 2018, the misdemeanor filings returned to 2014 levels.

Felony case filings have increased year over year in Tarrant County.
Felony cases also initially dropped but have been on the rise since 2015.

Tarrant County District Attorney’s Budget is up 14 Percent

Since 2014, the District Attorney’s Office Budget has increased by 14 percent (using actual expenditures for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and appropriations for 2018). In 2018, the District Attorney’s approved budget was about $41 million. 

Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney
Tarrant County District Attorney budget increased by 14%

Resolutions through Pleas Trending Downward

Despite the increased number of case filings, fewer cases are being resolved through plea bargain agreements. For example, in 2014, for every 100 felony cases added to the dockets, 71 were resolved by pleas. Since 2014, the number of pleas have not increased in step with the number of cases filed. In 2018, only 58 pleas were secured for every 100 felony cases added to the docket.

Plea bargains are a way for cases to be resolved expeditiously, thereby generally maintaining or reducing the load for the court. When cases aren’t disposed through plea bargain negotiations and they sit on the docket, it increases the courts backlog of unresolved cases and strains resources.

While the budget and case filings have gone up, fewer cases are being resolved through pleas.

 

Case Resolutions Overall are Down

For case resolutions, we included dismissals with the number of cases pled. In 2014, there were 99 felony cases resolved for every 100 cases filed. By 2018, that had dropped to 84 felony cases resolved for every 100 felony cases filed.

Case resolutions are down.
Including dismissals, cases were resolved at a 1:1 ratio in 2014. By 2018, more cases were being filed than resolved.

The rate of pleas in misdemeanor courts have also dropped. For every 100 misdemeanor cases filed in 2014, there were 85 misdemeanor pleas. For every 100 misdemeanor cases filed in 2018, there were 66 pleas.

In the past, misdemeanor case resolutions (pleas and dismissals) exceeded case filings. Over the last three years, far more cases have been filed than have been resolved. The difference between the number of cases being filed and the number of cases being resolved went up in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

More misdemeanor cases are being filed in Tarrant County than are being resolved by plea or dismissal
Misdemeanor cases are being filed and accepted by the District Attorney’s Office at a much greater rate than they are being resolved in Tarrant County.

The number of misdemeanor cases more than 90 days old at the time of resolution went from 15,054 in 2014 to 17,113 in 2018 – an increase of 14 percent.

Misdemeanor cases are getting older on the Tarrant County dockets.
The number of misdemeanor cases that were more than 90 days old at the time of resolution hit an all-time high in 2018 in Tarrant County.

The rise in case filings was slower for misdemeanors than it was for felonies between 2014 and 2018 in Tarrant County. While case filings went up overall by 14 percent, the case filings for felonies went up by 30 percent.

In 2014, 78 percent of felony cases were being resolved within 90 days. In 2018, that number dropped to 64 percent.

However, the number of cases that were more than a year old when resolved has decreased slightly. In 2014, 934 felony cases were over a year old when disposed, compared to 823 in 2018.  The decrease in overall case resolutions ultimately affects taxpayers, who pick up the tab for new courts, new judges, more prosecutors, pre-trial bond supervision, and pre-trial incarceration.

Decline in Experienced Prosecutors

Unique to criminal case analytics is the ability to quickly gauge the overall experience level for any given prosecutor’s office in Texas. In 2001, Texas lawmakers implemented longevity pay for attorneys who have served as criminal prosecutors for more than five years. Longevity pay increases each year until it reaches a cap act the 21st year of service. Each year, millions of dollars flow from the state coffers to local district attorneys offices as District Attorney Longevity Pay Reimbursements. The more experienced the prosecutors are, the more each county collects in reimbursements. The District Attorney Longevity Reimbursement for Tarrant County has dropped each year since 2014 (when it was $424,570) to 2018 (when it was $299,630).

longevity pay

Tarrant County Court Appointments on the Rise 

The Office of Court Administration reports that there has been a 140 percent increase since 2014 in Tarrant County in the number of cases in which courts appoint attorneys. Between 2014 and 2017 (the last year expenditures are currently available) the cost of court-appointed counsel in Tarrant County has only gone up 14 percent.

Tarrant County court appointments have gone up by 140%. Retained cases have fallen every year since 2015.
Tarrant County court appointments have gone up by 140 percent. Retained cases have fallen every year since 2015.

Only 1 Percent of Felony Cases Go to Jury Trial

According to the Office of Court Administration, there were 17,404 felony cases filed in Tarrant County in 2018. Juries were selected 182 times in felony cases in Tarrant County in 2018.

There are 10 district courts in Tarrant County that handle felony cases. On average, each court has about 16 jury trials a year. A trial can last anywhere from one day to months, depending on the type of case. Capital murder trials where the death penalty is sought or cases with multiple charges or counts, such as sex cases, often last weeks or even a month or more.

On average, each criminal district court in Tarrant County tried 16 cases.
On average, each criminal district court in Tarrant County tried 16 cases to juries.

Only 68 percent of Felony Jury Trials Resulted in State Verdicts

For purposes of this article, a guilty verdict to the offense charged or to an offense with the same punishment level is considered a win for prosecutors. A verdict of not guilty, a mistrial, or a verdict of guilty to a lesser charge is considered a victory for the defense. Based on those parameters, the state obtained favorable verdicts in 68 percent of the felony cases they tried in 2018.

Tarrant County prosecutors were successful in obtaining guilty verdicts to the offense (or equivalent offense) in only 68% of felony cases in 2018.
Tarrant County prosecutors were successful in obtaining guilty verdicts to the offense (or equivalent offense) in 68 percent of felony cases in 2018.

Percentage of state felony verdicts in 2018 in each Tarrant County criminal district court.

Child Sexual Assault Trials Are Resulting in More Acquittals

According to data provided by the Office of Court Administration, the number of acquittals by juries on child indecency and sexual assault cases are up ten-fold. There were as many not guilty verdicts in these cases in Tarrant County in 2018 as there were in the three previous years combined.

Tarrant County prosecutors are losing more child sexual assault cases in jury trials.
Over the past five years, the number of child sexual assault trials that resulted in “not guilty” verdicts has increased.

Tarrant County Prosecutors Prevailed in 63 Percent of Misdemeanor Jury Trials

Data provided by the Tarrant County District Attorney reflects 211 misdemeanor jury trials in Tarrant County in 2018. Of these, there were 78 defense verdicts and 133 state verdicts. In other words, prosecutors are prevailing in misdemeanor trials in 63 percent of cases.

Misdemeanor prosecutors only prevailed in 63% of cases.
Tarrant County misdemeanor prosecutions resulted in state jury verdicts 63 percent of the time in 2018.

Juries Returned Defense Verdicts in 68 Percent of Misdemeanor Assault Family Violence Trials

According to data provided by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, there were 41 jury trials on misdemeanor assault family violence cases in 2018. Of those, 13 cases resulted in state verdicts, while 28 cases had defense verdicts. In other words, a verdict favorable to the defense was returned in 68 percent of the misdemeanor assault family violence cases.

Prosecutors did not obtain convictions to the highest offense charged in 68% of misdemeanor jury trials in Tarrant County in 2018.

We are updating our charge-specific pages to include data on case filings and resolutions. Be sure to check our DWI, marijuana, drug, and sexual assault pages for more information in the coming days.

For example, the increase in case filings for misdemeanor marijuana cases is seven times the state average, despite both Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Republican platform supporting decriminalization of misdemeanor marijuana charges.

Marijuana cases are being filed in Tarrant County at a far higher rate than elsewhere the state.
Misdemeanor marijuana cases are being filed in Tarrant County at rates far beyond the state average.

If you are a member of the Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, be sure to check member-only resources for data on the win-loss statistics sorted by prosecutor.

Finally, if you’re facing a criminal charge in Tarrant County, give us a call. We are passionate about using every resource at our disposal to put our clients in the best possible position. Call us at (817) 203-2220 or contact us online:



The post Case Analytics and the Criminal Justice System: A Look at Tarrant County appeared first on Varghese Summersett PLLC | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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FORT WORTH – The law firm of Varghese Summersett has been listed as one of Fort Worth’s Fastest Growing Companies by Fort Worth Inc. magazine. The law firm came in No. 6 on a list of 30 companies, which were ranked based on three-year revenue growth.

Fort Worth Inc. unveiled the rankings on January 10 during a reception in the Red Oak Ballroom at the Norris Conference Center in downtown Fort Worth. The companies are also featured in the January issue of Fort Worth Inc.

“We are honored to have made Fort Worth Inc.’s inaugural list of fastest-growing companies in Fort Worth,” said Benson Varghese, founder and managing partner of Varghese Summersett. “In four years, we’ve gone from hanging a shingle to becoming the largest criminal defense firm in North Texas. At the center of our success is an amazing group of attorneys and staff.  Fort Worth is home to a lot of great talent, and the community has embraced our efforts to provide unparalleled legal service. We are also very excited about our new family law practice, which is another opportunity to spread our wings.”

Varghese Summersett earned the No. 6 spot by having a 738.85 percent sales growth from 2014 to 2017. The No. 1 slot went to ExcelHealth Inc./IReliev, a pain relief device company, that saw a 3063.46 percent growth in revenue over the same three years.

The companies on the list ranged from health care, to finance, digital marketing, real estate, construction, law, defense, consumer goods, retail, IT and land services. To be eligible, the companies had to be for-profit; generated revenue by March 31, 2014; had at least $50,000 in 2014 revenue and completed or billed at least $1.5 million in 2017 revenue; and are based in Greater Fort Worth, including several surrounding counties. It was the first time that Fort Worth Inc. has compiled a fastest-growing companies list.

Varghese Summersett PLLC is a full-service criminal and family law firm based in downtown Fort Worth. The firm, headed by Varghese and law partner and wife Anna Summersett, was started in 2014 and quickly grew to the largest criminal defense firm in North Texas. Last year, the firm expanded to include a family law practice, VS Family Law Group. Both branches are housed under one roof in the One City Place building.

 

Varghese Summersett

Inmates have been smuggling prohibited or illegal items, such as drugs, tobacco, cellphones, and weapons, into jails and prison for decades. They often recruit friends or relatives to bring unauthorized items during visitation or send them through the mail. Sometimes, guards or staff members are on the take. In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of drones to fly items over prison walls. 

In a highly-publicized case last year, an Oregon woman was sentenced to two years in federal prison for conspiracy after she passed seven tiny balloons filled with methamphetamine into her inmate boyfriend’s mouth during a long kiss during visitation. Two of the balloons ruptured and he died later of methamphetamine toxicity, the Associated Press reported.  

Regardless of the technique, smuggling contraband and prohibited substances into jail or prison is a crime. “Helping” an inmate get a prohibited item can lead to serious consequences both at the state and federal level.

In Texas, there are two separate state penal code offenses that cover items that can’t be brought into or possessed in a Texas jail or prison including:  

  • Prohibited Substance or Items in a Correction Facility 
  • Contraband in a Correctional Facility 

 Here’s an overview of the state statutes, punishment ranges, and some examples of people who were arrested for smuggling prohibited items or contraband into jail or prison. 

What Constitutes a Correctional Facility” in Texas? 

Under Texas Penal Code 1.07, a correction facility is a designated place of confinement for an individual who has been arrested, charged or convicted of a criminal offense. It includes:  

  • A city or county jail 
  • State run or private contract prisons
  • Community correction facilities, such as a halfway house  

What are “Prohibited Substances and Items in a Correctional Facility? 

Texas law prohibits the possession and distribution of drugs, alcohol, weapons, tobacco or money in a correctional facility. This offense can occur in several ways. Sometimes, an arrested person will conceal a drug during his or her arrest or before sentencing and it gets into the jail that way. Other times, a friend or family member or corrections officer may provide them with the prohibited substance.  

Under Texas Penal Code 38.11, it’s illegal in Texas for an individual to provide or attempt to provide an inmate at a correctional facility the following substances: 

  • Alcohol 
  • A controlled substance or dangerous drug 
  • A deadly weapon 
  • A cellular phone or other wireless communications device or components 
  • Money 
  • Cigarette or tobacco product (unless the sheriff or jail administrator allows it) 
Contraband in a Correctional Facility

What is the Punishment for Prohibited Substances and Items in a Correctional Facility? 

Individuals who take a prohibited item into a correctional facility or on property owned or controlled by a correctional facility, face a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in state prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. Federal charges are also possible. 

What Constitutes “Contraband” in a Correctional Facility? How is it Different than a “Prohibited Substance”? 

When many people think of “contraband,” they often think of illegal drugs or guns. However, in jail or prison, contraband refers to items that have been banned by jail or prison operators, which may be harmless or legal in the free world. This could include coffee, soap, syringes, pornography, aspirin, or outside food. Facility operators often ban certain items because they can be used to make weapons, or because they are items that the inmates fight over or use as a substitute for money. Each correctional facility will have its own rules regarding contraband smuggling.  

Under Texas Penal Code 38.114, it is illegal to provide contraband to an inmate, introduce contraband to a correctional facility, or possess contraband in the correctional facility. (Alcohol, cigarettes, money and phones are covered under the “Prohibited Substances and Items in a Correctional Facility” statute above.) 

What is the Punishment for Contraband Smuggling in a Correctional Facility? 

Jail or prison employees or volunteers who provide, introduce, or possesses contraband at a correctional facility face a Class B misdemeanor charge. All other offenses under this statute are Class C misdemeanors. Federal charges are also possible. 

What are federal charges that can stem from smuggling drugs or other items into a correctional facility? 

Over the years, dozens of people have been charged federally for smuggling items into a correctional facility. Charges have included bribery, racketeering, drug trafficking, conspiracy, and engaging in organized criminal activity.   

Examples of People Arrested for Smuggling Items into Jail or Prison 

There are stories abound about friends and family members sending inmates drugs in cards or books. Prison guards have been arrested for smuggling cellphone into prisons. Lately, drones are being used to drop in goods. Here’s some examples of individuals who were arrested for smuggling items into a Texas jail or prison. Some were charged by state officials, while others were prosecuted federally. 

Contact Us 
If you or a loved one is facing charges stemming from contraband or a prohibited substance in a correctional facility, you need a skilled defense attorney by your side. Our team includes former prosecutors and board certified attorneys with decades of experience. Call today for a complimentary strategy session. During this call we will: 

  • Discuss the facts of your case; 
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and 
  • Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case. 

Call:?(817) 203-2220 

 You can also contact us online:

 

The post Contraband Smuggling: Consequences of Sneaking Items into Jail and Prison appeared first on Varghese Summersett PLLC | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys.