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Varghese Summersett

Divorce proceedings can be contentious, especially when significant assets or joint property are involved. In some Texas divorce cases, the court may appoint a “divorce receiver” to manage and protect marital assets, especially property or real estate. In this article, we explain the role of a receiver in a Texas divorce case, when appointing one becomes necessary, and how they can impact your divorce proceedings.

But first, please watch this informative video by seasoned divorce attorney Wade Griffin, who offers an excellent overview of the role of a divorce receiver, including the difference between a realtor and a receiver and the advantages and disadvantages of having a receiver control the sale or refinancing of joint property.

What is a Receiver in Texas Divorce Proceedings?

A receiver is a neutral third party appointed by the court to manage specific assets or property during a legal dispute, such as a divorce. Their primary role is to ensure that assets are managed fairly and equitably until the court reaches a final decision. Unlike mediators or arbitrators, receivers have the authority to take control of, collect, and sometimes even sell the assets in question.

In the context of a Texas divorce, a receiver can manage anything from a jointly-owned business to real estate and financial accounts. Their involvement ensures that neither party can misuse or deplete the assets, preserving their value for equitable distribution.

When and Why Receivers Are Appointed

When is a Receiver Appointed in a Texas Divorce Case?

The court does not appoint a receiver in every divorce case. In fact, it’s a rather extraordinary measure. Typically, a receiver is called in under specific circumstances where asset management becomes a contentious issue. Here are some situations where the court may find it necessary to appoint a receiver:

High-Value Assets

When a divorce involves high-value assets, such as businesses, significant real estate holdings, or substantial financial portfolios, the court might appoint a receiver to ensure these are managed appropriately. High-value assets often have complex financial structures that need expert management to preserve their value.

Contentious Divorces

In cases where the divorcing parties cannot agree on how to manage their joint assets, a divorce receiver can step in to take control. This prevents either party from making unilateral decisions that could negatively impact the asset’s value or the other party’s interests.

Risk of Asset Dissipation

If there is evidence that one spouse might dissipate or hide assets, the court may appoint a receiver to protect those assets. This ensures that all assets are available for equitable distribution, preventing any unfair advantage.

Why Divorce Receivers Are Appointed

Receivers are appointed for several reasons, all of which aim to ensure fairness and equity in the management of marital assets. For example, a court may appoint a receiver if one of the parties is not complying with a court order regarding property division. This could happen if one party is preventing the property from being sold or managed properly.

Here’s a closer look at why the court might decide to bring in a receiver:

Preventing Mismanagement

One primary reason for appointing a receiver is to prevent asset mismanagement. In contentious divorces, emotions can run high, leading to poor financial decisions. A receiver ensures that assets are managed professionally and remain intact. For example, if one spouse is actively involved in a business that is being mismanaged, the court may appoint a receiver to protect the property.

Ensuring Fair Distribution

A receiver helps ensure that assets are fairly distributed between both parties. By managing and possibly liquidating assets, a receiver can convert complex holdings into more easily divisible forms, such as cash, making it easier to achieve an equitable distribution.

Protecting Both Parties’ Interests

In some cases, one party may have more control over the marital assets, creating an imbalance. A receiver levels the playing field, protecting both parties’ interests equally and ensuring neither party is disadvantaged.

How the Court Appoints Divorce Receivers

How the Court Appoints a Divorce Receiver

The Texas Family Code section that discusses the appointment of a receiver in a divorce case is Section 6.502. Here are the key points:

  • Under Section 6.502(a)(5), while a divorce suit is pending, the court may render an order appointing a receiver for the preservation and protection of the property of the parties.
  • The court must give notice and hold a hearing before appointing a receiver
  • Within 30 days of being appointed, the receiver must give notice of the appointment to any lienholders on property under the receiver’s control.
  • Within 7 days of the appointment, the court must issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting the appointment of the receiver.

So in summary, Section 6.502 of the Texas Family Code gives the court authority to appoint a receiver over marital property during a pending divorce case, after proper notice and a hearing. The receiver’s role is to preserve and protect the property, and certain procedures like notifying lienholders and issuing findings must be followed.

The appointment of a receiver is considered an extraordinary remedy, so the court must find it necessary to protect the property interests of the parties involved.

Responsibilities of a Divorce Receiver

Responsibilities of a Receiver

The specific duties of a receiver in a Texas divorce case can vary, but generally include:

  • Asset Management: The receiver takes control of specified assets, managing them to prevent waste or loss. This can involve overseeing business operations, maintaining property, and handling financial accounts.
  • Preservation of Value: The receiver is responsible for preserving the value of the assets under their control. This includes making necessary payments (such as taxes and insurance) and ensuring proper maintenance.
  • Reporting to the Court: Receivers regularly report to the court on the status of the assets, providing detailed accounts of their actions and the current condition of the assets.
  • Distribution of Assets: In some cases, the receiver may be tasked with liquidating assets and distributing the proceeds according to the court’s orders.

The appointment of a receiver can significantly impact a divorce case in several ways:

  • Ensuring Fairness: By managing and preserving assets, a receiver helps ensure that both parties receive a fair share of the marital property. This is particularly important in cases where one spouse is suspected of attempting to hide or deplete assets.
  • Reducing Conflict: A receiver’s involvement can reduce conflicts between the divorcing parties by providing a neutral party to oversee disputed assets.
  • Expert Management: Receivers often have expertise in managing complex assets, such as businesses or investment portfolios, ensuring these assets are handled properly during the divorce proceedings.

Qualifications of a Divorce Receiver

Qualifications of a Reciever

The Texas Family Code does not explicitly outline specific qualifications for a receiver appointed in a divorce case. However, here are some general requirements and considerations:

  • The receiver must be a neutral third party with no financial interest in the marital property they are appointed to manage and sell.
  • Texas courts typically require the receiver to be a resident of Texas.
  • The receiver must be able to obtain a receiver’s bond, which means having good credit and sufficient liquid assets.
  • The court will consider the receiver’s background, education, training, and prior experience as it relates to managing the type of asset(s) involved (e.g. real estate, business, etc.)
  • The receiver should have relevant professional designations, licenses, and ability to engage appropriate third-party professionals if needed
  • Ultimately, the court determines the suitability of the proposed receiver based on the specific circumstances of the case

While not an absolute requirement, courts often prefer to appoint receivers who are experienced real estate professionals, attorneys, or those with relevant business/asset management expertise when dealing with marital property like homes, businesses, investments, etc.

Does a Receiver Have to Be a Realtor?

Does a Divorce Receiver Have to be a Realtor?

In a divorce case in Texas, a judge may appoint a receiver to manage and sell certain marital assets, including real estate properties. Here are some key points regarding the appointment of a realtor as a receiver in a Texas divorce:

  • The court has the authority to appoint a receiver to take possession of marital property and sell it under certain circumstances, such as when the parties cannot agree on how to dispose of the property.
  • The receiver is typically a neutral third party, but in some cases, the court may appoint a realtor as the receiver to manage and sell a real estate property that is part of the marital estate.
  • When a realtor is appointed as a receiver, they are acting in a court-appointed capacity separate from their typical role as a real estate agent. The receiver has a fiduciary duty to the court and must follow the court’s orders regarding the management and sale of the property.
  • The receiver is entitled to reasonable compensation for their services, which is typically paid from the proceeds of the sale of the property or from the marital estate. The compensation amount is determined by the court and may be different from the typical real estate commission.
  • The appointment of a receiver is considered an extraordinary remedy, and the court will only do so if it finds it necessary to protect the property or the interests of the parties involved.

To recap, a judge in a Texas divorce case does have the authority to appoint a realtor as a receiver to manage and sell a marital real estate property. In such cases, the realtor acts as a court-appointed receiver and is entitled to reasonable compensation set by the court, separate from a typical real estate commission.

Other Professionals Who Can Serve as Receivers

Receivers can come from various professional backgrounds, depending on the nature of the assets and the needs of the case. Examples include:

  1. Accountants: For cases involving complex financial assets, an accountant may be appointed to manage and account for these assets.
  2. Business Managers: In cases where a business is a significant marital asset, a business manager with experience in the relevant industry may be chosen.
  3. Attorneys: Sometimes, attorneys with experience in receivership can be appointed, especially if the case involves legal complexities.

In Texas, while a receiver must be competent and impartial, there is no specific requirement that they be a realtor. The selection of a receiver is based on the nature of the assets and the specific needs of the case. The court will appoint an individual with the appropriate expertise to manage, preserve, or liquidate the assets in question, ensuring a fair and equitable process for both parties involved in the divorce.

Our lawyers make sure that every ending is a new beginning.

Facing Divorce? Contact Us

Divorce is a complex process, and the appointment of a receiver adds another layer of complexity. However, understanding the role of a receiver, when they are appointed, and why they are appointed can help you navigate your divorce more effectively. By ensuring that assets are managed fairly and equitably, receivers play a crucial role in protecting the interests of both parties in a Texas divorce case.

If you are facing a divorce and think a receiver might be necessary for your case, contact us today. Our experienced legal team is here to guide you through every step of your divorce, ensuring your interests are protected and your future is secure. Call 817-203-2220 today to schedule a consultation.

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Varghese Summersett

On June 12, 2024, the Court of Criminal Appeals handed down its decision in Heath v. State. The State v. Heath decision affirmed that Texas law by statute requires prosecutors to disclose all relevant evidence in the possession of the State, regardless of whether the prosecutor had knowledge of the evidence. This post explores what that means, why it is important, how it fits in with existing case law, and where prosecutors and defense lawyers go from here.

the power and responsibilities of prosecutors

The Power and Responsibility of Prosecutors

When a prosecutor stands up in court and says they represent the State of Texas, they do exactly that. Prosecutors have all the powers inherent to the state—endless budgets for investigation combining local law enforcement with the investigative powers of the grand jury and prosecutors’ own investigators. They also bear the responsibility of knowing everything the state has collected and has in its possession. The prosecution also bears the responsibility of turning over all relevant information.

Criminal Discovery Backdrop: 39.14 and the Michael Morton Act

Prior to the Michael Morton Act, the right to discovery in criminal cases in Texas was quite limited. At the time, Article 39.14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allowed for a more limited scope of discovery in criminal cases:

Limited Discovery Rights

Defense attorneys could request specific documents and evidence, but the scope of what could be demanded was narrower, and the burden was largely on the defense to specify exactly what they sought.

Good Cause Requirement

The defense needed to show good cause for why they should be granted access to certain pieces of evidence. This requirement often necessitated arguing for the relevance and necessity of each piece of evidence in court.

Judicial Discretion

The decision to grant discovery requests was left to the discretion of the court. This could result in inconsistencies in what evidence was made available to the defense depending on the judge’s perspective on what constituted good cause.

Limited Automatic Disclosure

Prosecutors were not generally required to provide all evidence favorable to the defense automatically. The prosecution’s duty to disclose was restricted to what was directly asked for and proven to be necessary by the defense.

The Burden to Turn Over Evidence

The Michael Morton Act, enacted in 2013, significantly amended Article 39.14. It was named after Michael Morton, a man who was wrongfully convicted in 1987 of murdering his wife. He spent nearly 25 years in prison before DNA testing proved his innocence in 2011. His case highlighted severe flaws in the criminal justice system, particularly around the withholding of exculpatory evidence by the prosecution.

Background Leading to the Creation of the Michael Morton Act

Wrongful Conviction of Michael Morton

Understanding the Michal Morton Story

Michael Morton was wrongfully convicted in 1987 for the murder of his wife, Christine Morton, primarily due to prosecutorial misconduct and the withholding of exculpatory evidence by then-district attorney Ken Anderson. Critical evidence that could have proven Morton’s innocence, including statements from his young son, who witnessed the murder and indicated that his father was not the killer, and police reports pointing to another suspect, was deliberately suppressed. This misconduct led to Morton serving nearly 25 years in prison until DNA testing in 2011 linked the crime to Mark Alan Norwood, a convicted felon.

Exoneration and Investigation

Morton was exonerated in 2011 after DNA evidence linked the murder to another individual. The exposure of this evidence, which had been available at the time of the original trial, led to public outcry and demands for reform in the handling of evidence in criminal cases.

Legislative Response

The egregious nature of Morton’s case, combined with his and others’ advocacy, spurred legislative action. Lawmakers and stakeholders sought to prevent such miscarriages of justice by ensuring broader and more stringent disclosure requirements.

Key Provisions of the Michael Morton Act

Broad Disclosure Requirements

The Act requires the prosecution to disclose all police reports and witness statements, among other evidential materials, to the defense.

Proactive Disclosure Obligation

It shifts the burden somewhat from the defense having to request evidence to the prosecution having to automatically provide it.

Open File Policy

The Act essentially enforces an “open file policy” in criminal cases, requiring prosecutors to allow defense attorneys access to investigative files that could contain exculpatory or impeaching information.

Timeliness and Continuity

The Act emphasizes that disclosure must be timely, beginning as early as possible and continuing as new evidence is gathered.

Why We Have the Michael Morton Act

The enactment of the Michael Morton Act was driven by a recognition of the fundamental importance of fairness and transparency in the judicial process. Its provisions aim to:

Prevent Wrongful Convictions

By ensuring that all material evidence, especially exculpatory evidence, is disclosed, the Act sought to to prevent wrongful convictions like that of Michael Morton.

Restore Public Confidence

The legislature hoped the Act would restore and maintain public confidence in criminal prosecutions.

Changes Brought by the Michael Morton Act

The wrongful conviction and eventual exoneration of Michael Morton highlighted significant flaws in this system, particularly the risk of prosecutorial misconduct and the hiding of exculpatory evidence. The Michael Morton Act aimed to address these issues by instituting several important changes:

Expanded Discovery Obligations

The Act broadened the types of evidence the prosecution must automatically disclose to include nearly all materials relevant to the case. This includes police reports, witness statements, and any material that could be considered exculpatory.

Removal of Good Cause Requirement

The new law removed the requirement for the defense to show good cause to access evidence, placing the onus on the prosecution to provide access to evidence without needing specific requests from the defense.

Open File Policy

The Act implemented an open file policy, mandating that the prosecution make available a broader range of evidence, reducing the chances that significant evidence could be withheld, whether intentionally or inadvertently.

Proactive Disclosure Requirement

Prosecutors are now required to disclose all evidence as soon as practicable after it is gathered, and they must continue to disclose new evidence as it becomes available. This ongoing obligation ensures that the defense is kept informed throughout the process.

Documentation of Compliance

The Act also requires that the prosecution document what has been disclosed. This paper trail is intended to increase accountability and provide clear records that can be reviewed for compliance with the law.

After the Michael Morton Act, there remained questions, at least for some prosecutors, about what had to be turned over and how soon those materials had to be turned over. For example, some prosecutors believed they should not have a requirement to turn over evidence that was not admissible, others believed that as long as they turned over the information at some point, they had fulfilled their obligations, while others believed any failure to turn over evidence was not important if the information was not admissible.

When is evidence material?

After Michael Morton: Watkins Explains Materiality

The case of Ralph Dewayne Watkins v. The State of Texas involves a pivotal discussion on the interpretation of “material” evidence under Article 39.14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which was significantly amended by the Michael Morton Act in 2013. This case reached the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, where the meaning and application of the term “material” in the context of discovery laws were central to the appeal.

Summary of Watkins v. State

In Watkins v. State, the Court addressed whether the word “material” should be construed as “relevant.” The Court concluded that “material” implies relevance to the case’s issues, thereby necessitating disclosure. This interpretation supports a broader open-file policy, requiring prosecutors to provide access to a wider array of evidential materials early in the defense process.

Dissenting Opinion in Watkins

Presiding Judge Keller, in a dissenting opinion, argued that the majority’s interpretation was incorrect. She highlighted that during the legislative process, the specific change from “material” to “relevant” was initially proposed but ultimately not adopted. Keller suggested that the term “material” connotes something more substantial than mere relevance, implying a necessity for the evidence to have significant bearing on the case outcomes.

Prosecutors’ Responsibilities after Michael Morton and Watkins

Watkins v. State clarified that ‘material’ evidence is essentially ‘relevant’ and emphasized the proactive duty of prosecutors to seek out and disclose any relevant evidence under the amended version of Article 39.14. This ruling underscored that the prosecution’s responsibility includes not only evidence they are immediately aware of but also any information that could potentially be relevant, which necessitates a thorough search and continuous disclosure throughout the legal process.

what evidence in relevant?

What is relevant evidence?

Definition of “Relevant Evidence” according to Texas Rule 401

Evidence is considered relevant if:

  1. It has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and
  2. The fact is of consequence in determining the action.

After the Michael Morton Act and the Watkins v. State ruling, prosecutors in Texas were required to disclose all evidence that material to any matter involved in the action, which included all relevant information. There remained questions about what “as soon as practicable” meant in regards to how quickly evidence had to be turned over.

State v. Heath

State of Texas v. Dwayne Robert Heath centers on the statutory obligations of discovery under Article 39.14(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, particularly whether items unknown to the prosecuting attorney but held by law enforcement are included in the prosecutor’s duty to disclose evidence “as soon as practicable” after a defense request.

The Decision in State v. Heath

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling that law enforcement is encompassed within “the state” for the purposes of discovery obligations. Therefore, the prosecuting attorney is responsible for ensuring that all relevant evidence held by law enforcement is disclosed to the defense. The court held that “as soon as practicable” does not include a knowledge requirement on the prosecutor’s part, which means that the state must provide evidence as soon as it is reasonably possible, irrespective of the prosecutor’s awareness of the evidence.

Court’s Reasoning in Heath

The court’s reasoning is grounded in a textual and purposive interpretation of Article 39.14(a). It emphasized that the statute is designed to facilitate fair trials by ensuring timely and comprehensive evidence disclosure. This includes evidence in possession of any state agency, notably law enforcement, which is considered part of “the state.” The court also indicated that the term “as soon as practicable” implies an obligation of reasonable diligence to uncover and disclose evidence, which does not hinge on the prosecutor’s actual knowledge of the evidence.

Dissent in Heath

Justice Keel, joined by Justice Keller and Justice Yeary, dissented. The dissent argued that the majority’s interpretation unduly broadens the scope of the prosecutor’s duty and undermines the practical administration of justice. They contended that the statute should require some level of prosecutorial knowledge or control over the evidence before triggering the disclosure obligation.

Duty of the Prosecutor to Proactively Seek Discovery Clarified in Heath

The majority opinion in State v. Heath clarifies that the obligation of “the State” to produce discovery “as soon as practicable” includes items that may be unknown to the prosecuting attorney but are in the possession of law enforcement.

Court Makeup in Watkins and Heath

Case Majority Judges Dissenting Judges
State v. Heath Alcala, Hervey, Keasler, Keel, Newell, Richardson, Walker Keller (P.J.), Yeary (J.)
Watkins v. State Hervey, Keel, McClure, Newell, Richardson, Slaughter, Walker Keller (P.J.), Yeary (J.)

Implications for Prosecutorial Conduct

The absence of a mental-state requirement implies that prosecutors cannot solely rely on the evidence that is directly presented to them by law enforcement. Instead, they have a proactive duty to inquire and ascertain what evidence exists within any state agency that might be relevant to the cases they are handling. This duty extends beyond passive receipt of information to an active obligation to seek out potential evidence. The prosecutor must establish and maintain communication channels with associated law enforcement entities to ensure that all relevant information, even that which they are initially unaware of, is discovered and disclosed in compliance with statutory requirements.

Legal and Practical Measures

To fulfill this duty effectively, prosecutors might need to implement specific measures, such as:

Regular Training

Ensuring that both prosecutors and law enforcement officers are regularly trained on the requirements of Article 39.14 and the importance of comprehensive evidence sharing.

Systematic Review Protocols

Developing standardized protocols for reviewing and cataloging all evidence held by law enforcement that might pertain to ongoing cases.

Documentation of Efforts

Maintaining detailed records of the efforts made to discover and disclose evidence, which could be crucial in demonstrating compliance with discovery obligations in court.

Prosecutor’s Duties in Discovery

Broad Scope of Disclosure

As interpreted in both Watkins and Heath, the duty of the prosecutor encompasses all evidence “material to any matter involved in the action,” which essentially means all relevant evidence. This includes evidence in the possession of law enforcement agencies, even if the prosecutor does not have direct knowledge of it.

Proactive Disclosure

The term “material” implies that the prosecutor must seek out relevant evidence that could potentially influence the outcome of the case—not only evidence directly known to them. This proactive duty requires establishing systematic communication and procedures to ensure that all pertinent evidence held by any entity constituting “the State” is disclosed.

Timely Disclosure

The evidence must be disclosed “as soon as practicable” after a request by the defense. This timing underscores a requirement for diligence and efficiency in managing discovery processes without undue delay.

Continual Duty

The duty to disclose is not only prior to the trial but is ongoing. New evidence that comes to light must be disclosed as soon as it is known.

what happens when evidence is not turned over

Violations or Failures by Prosecutors

A violation or failure in the duty of discovery can manifest in several ways:

Failure to Disclose Known Evidence

This includes not disclosing evidence that the prosecutor knows about and that is relevant to the defense’s case. Such a failure can directly impact the fairness of the trial.

Negligence in Seeking Out Evidence

If a prosecutor fails to actively seek out evidence from law enforcement or other state agencies that might be relevant, this could constitute a failure in their duty, as established by the proactive standard set in these cases.

Delay in Disclosure

Not disclosing evidence as soon as practicable, thereby delaying the defense’s access to evidence, can also be seen as a violation of the statutory requirements.

Legal Consequences of Failure to Turn Over Evidence

The consequences for failing to meet these discovery obligations can be severe:

Exclusion of Evidence

As noted in Heath, a court may exclude evidence from a trial if it was not disclosed in time, affecting the prosecution’s ability to present its case.

Appeal on Grounds of Prejudice

If a case goes to appeal, the appellate court will examine whether the trial court’s decisions regarding evidence exclusion or the choice of remedy were appropriate given the context of the discovery violation. If the appellate court finds that the nondisclosure prejudiced the defense and the trial court’s remedy was insufficient, it can reverse the conviction.

Standard of Review

The appellate review typically looks at whether the trial judge abused their discretion in handling the discovery violation. This includes reviewing the proportionality and appropriateness of the judge’s response to the violation.

Disciplinary Actions

Prosecutors may face professional disciplinary actions for failing to adhere to ethical standards of disclosure.

responsibilities of defense lawyers

Defense Lawyer’s Duties in Discovery

Defense attorneys in Texas have several strategic steps they can take to ensure compliance with discovery laws, especially in light of the provisions of Article 39.14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the implications of recent court rulings on discovery obligations. Here’s a guide on how they can manage the discovery process and related trial proceedings effectively:

Request Discovery Early

Immediate Requests

As soon as they are retained or appointed, defense attorneys should make a formal request for all discovery materials under Article 39.14. This should be done promptly after the indictment to ensure that the prosecution provides all relevant evidence as early as possible.

Document Requests

All requests should be well-documented and filed officially, leaving a clear paper trail. This helps in establishing timelines that might prove crucial if a discovery violation needs to be argued later.

Monitor Prosecution’s Readiness

Track Announcements

Defense attorneys should carefully monitor and record every instance where the state announces readiness for trial. This is important because it indicates the prosecution’s assertion that they have complied with all necessary pre-trial preparations, including discovery obligations.

Challenge Readiness

If there is any doubt about the completeness or timeliness of the discovery provided, the defense should challenge the state’s readiness. This might involve questioning the state’s declaration of readiness and requiring them to prove that they have indeed disclosed all required evidence.

Formal Continuance Requests

Request for Sworn Continuances

If the prosecution is not ready and seeks a continuance, the defense should request the court to require the prosecution to file a formal, sworn continuance petition. This petition should explain why the continuance is necessary, which adds a layer of formal scrutiny to the prosecution’s readiness and compliance with procedural rules.

Record in Court

Each request or claim of readiness by the state should be put on the record. This ensures that all parties’ statements are formally noted, which can be critical in appeals or further legal challenges.

Understand and Leverage Continuance Rules

Code Requirements

Defense attorneys should be well-versed in the requirements set forth by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure regarding continuances. Article 29.03 specifies that the first continuance requested by the prosecution must be supported by an affidavit showing sufficient cause.

Subsequent Continuances

For any subsequent continuance, as per Article 29.04, the prosecution must prove “material” evidence that is expected to come to hand if the continuance is granted; the material evidence must not merely be cumulative; and there must be reasonable grounds to believe that such evidence will be obtained at the later date.

Advocacy and Vigilance

Active Advocacy

Defense attorneys must actively advocate for their clients’ rights to timely and complete discovery. This includes being vigilant about the prosecution’s compliance with discovery laws and readiness announcements.

Prepare for Challenges

Be prepared to challenge insufficient discovery and improper readiness claims through pre-trial motions and, if necessary, appeals. The preparation should include potential motions to exclude evidence that was not properly disclosed.

State v. Heath Opinion

State v. Watkins Opinion

Varghese Summersett

Concert injuries and deaths have become increasingly common in recent years.  The terrifying images of the crowd crush at the Astroworld Music Festival in November 2021 that resulted in hundreds of injuries and ten deaths remain etched in our minds.

When masses of people gather, injuries are not uncommon. However, event organizers, performers, and venues are responsible for ensuring a safe experience for all attendees. When they fail in this duty, resulting in catastrophic or even fatal injuries, it is essential to hold these parties responsible. 

If you have been injured or a loved one killed at a concert, festival, or another large event in Texas, it’s important to seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

In this article, the personal injury attorneys at Varghese Summersett explain common concert injuries, who could be liable for accidents, the process of recovering compensation, and how our law firm can help.

Common Injuries Sustained at Concerts

Common Injuries Sustained at Concerts, Festivals, and Large Events

Attending concerts, festivals, and large events should be an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, these gatherings can sometimes lead to accidents and injuries. Here are common concert injuries and scenarios of how they occur.

Common Injuries

  1. Bone Fractures: Crowded areas and the possibility of falls or being pushed can lead to broken bones. Stages, platforms, and uneven ground increase this risk.
  2. Head Injuries: Falling objects, such as stage equipment or decorations, can cause severe head injuries. Additionally, being knocked over or trampled can result in concussions or other head trauma.
  3. Heatstroke: Prolonged exposure to the sun and inadequate hydration can lead to heatstroke, especially in outdoor venues with limited shade and water availability.
  4. Trampling Injuries: Overcrowded events and sudden rushes of people can result in attendees being trampled, leading to bruises, cuts, broken bones, and internal injuries.
  5. Sprains and Strains: The physical activity associated with dancing or moving in large crowds can result in sprained ankles, strained muscles, and other related injuries.

How These Injuries Can Occur

  • Overcrowding: When too many people are allowed into a venue, it can lead to crushing incidents, as seen in the Astroworld tragedy. Overcrowding increases the risk of falls, trampling, and other injuries.
  • Poor Venue Maintenance: Uneven flooring, broken railings, and other maintenance issues can cause attendees to trip and fall, resulting in injuries.
  • Inadequate Security: Insufficient or poorly trained security staff may fail to manage crowds effectively, leading to chaotic situations where people can get hurt.
  • Lack of Safety Measures: Failure to implement and enforce safety protocols, such as proper barriers, signage, and emergency exits, can exacerbate the risk of injury.
  • Weather Conditions: Outdoor events are particularly susceptible to weather-related hazards. Strong winds can cause structures to collapse, while extreme heat can lead to dehydration and heatstroke.
  • Negligent Behavior: Performers’ encouragement of rowdy behavior or a lack of crowd control can lead to dangerous situations where attendees are at risk of injury.

If you or a loved one has been injured at a concert, festival, or large event, it is crucial to seek legal advice. Our experienced personal injury lawyers in Texas can help you navigate the complexities of your case and work towards obtaining the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.

Who Can Be Held Responsible?

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Concert or Large Event/Festival Injuries?

When attending a concert, festival, or crowded event, the last thing on your mind should be the potential for injury. However, accidents do happen, and it’s important to understand who can be held responsible if you or a loved one are injured. In Texas, several parties may be liable for injuries sustained at these events, depending on the circumstances.

1. Event Organizers

Event organizers are responsible for ensuring the safety of attendees. They plan and coordinate all aspects of the event, including crowd control, security, and emergency response. If organizers fail to implement adequate safety measures or overlook potential hazards, they can be held liable for resulting injuries.

2. Venue Owners

The owners of the venue where the event is held also have a duty to maintain a safe environment. Under Texas premise liability law, venue owners must ensure their property is free from dangerous conditions that could harm visitors. This includes maintaining structural integrity, providing sufficient lighting, and ensuring that all safety features, such as handrails and exits, are functional. If an injury occurs due to the venue owner’s negligence, they can be held accountable.

In the case of the Astroworld tragedy, venue owners and security contractors were accused of failing to implement proper safety measures, crowd control, and emergency response plans. People who did not purchase tickets for the event were able to gain admission, resulting in an overcrowding. 

3. Performers and Artists

Performers and artists can sometimes contribute to unsafe conditions at events. If a performer encourages reckless behavior, incites the crowd, or acts negligently in a way that leads to injuries, they may be held liable. For example, if a performer urges the crowd to rush the stage, resulting in trampling or other injuries, they could be considered partially responsible.

In the case of the Astroworld concert, performer Travis Scott was cited as contributing to an environment of chaos/rowdiness among attendees. Scott was said to have been encouraging the crowd to get riled up, creating a climate of mob behavior. This behavior, among other things, caused the crowd to rush the stage all at once, contributing to the injuries and deaths of the victims. 

4. Security Companies

Security companies hired to manage and control the crowd have a critical role in ensuring attendees safety. If security personnel are inadequately trained, understaffed, or fail to respond appropriately to dangerous situations, they may be held liable for any injuries that occur. Proper crowd management and quick intervention in emergencies are essential to prevent accidents.

5. Vendors and Contractors

Vendors and contractors providing services or equipment at events can also be held responsible for injuries. This includes food and beverage vendors, equipment rental companies, and staging contractors. If their products or services are faulty or contribute to an unsafe environment, they may share liability. For instance, if a stage collapses due to poor construction, the contractor responsible for building it could be held accountable.

6. Other Attendees

In some cases, other attendees may be responsible for injuries. If an individual acts recklessly or violently, causing harm to others, they can be held personally liable. This is particularly relevant in cases involving fights, altercations, or intentional acts of violence.

7. Government Entities

If the event is held on public property or requires permits from local government entities, these entities may also bear some responsibility. Government agencies are tasked with ensuring that public events comply with safety regulations and standards. If they fail to enforce these standards, resulting in injuries, they may be held partially liable.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Determining liability in concert and event injury cases can be complex, involving multiple parties and intricate legal considerations. If you or a loved one has been injured at a concert, festival, or large event, it’s essential to seek legal advice. Our experienced personal injury lawyers in Texas can help you identify the responsible parties and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 817-203-2220 for a consultation.

duty-breach-causation-damages-ability-to-pay
duty-breach-causation-damages-ability-to-pay

Proving Negligence in Texas Concert Injury Cases

Proving negligence in concert injury cases in Texas requires demonstrating that the responsible party failed to exercise reasonable care, leading to the injury. This involves a multi-step process to establish liability. Here are the key elements that must be proven:

1. Duty of Care

The first step is to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. In the context of a concert or large event, various parties, such as event organizers, venue owners, performers, and security companies, have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of attendees. This includes providing a safe environment, proper crowd control, and emergency response measures.

2. Breach of Duty

Next, it must be shown that the defendant breached this duty of care. A breach occurs when the defendant fails to act as a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. For example, if the event organizers did not provide adequate security, or if the venue owners neglected necessary safety inspections, these actions could be considered breaches of duty.

3. Causation

The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the injury. This involves demonstrating a clear link between the defendant’s actions (or inaction) and the harm suffered by the plaintiff. In legal terms, this is known as “proximate cause.” For instance, if inadequate crowd control led to a stampede that caused the plaintiff’s injuries, this connection needs to be clearly established.

4. Damages

Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered actual damages as a result of the injury. Damages can include physical injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Documentation, such as medical records, bills, and witness testimonies, can help substantiate the extent of the damages.

Gathering Evidence

To prove negligence, gathering sufficient evidence is crucial. Here are some types of evidence that can support a negligence claim:

  • Eyewitness Testimonies: Statements from other attendees, staff, or security personnel can provide firsthand accounts of what happened.
  • Video and Photographic Evidence: Surveillance footage, videos, and photos taken during the event can help illustrate the conditions and actions that led to the injury.
  • Event Records and Reports: Incident reports, security logs, and maintenance records can offer insights into what went wrong and whether the responsible parties took appropriate measures.
  • Expert Testimonies: Testimonies from experts in event safety, crowd management, and medical professionals can help explain how the breach of duty led to the injuries.

Notable Concert Injury Cases
Notable Texas Concert Injury Cases

2021 Crowd Rush at Astroworld Festival

On November 5, 2021, at least 10 people were killed at well-known rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival in Houston. These deaths were a result of asphyxiation due to the overcrowding that was present at the concert. The concert was essentially “overrun,” as more people showed up to the concert than had tickets.  Here are the details:

  • At least 10 people died from compression asphyxia during a crowd surge toward the stage while Travis Scott was performing.
  • Over 300 people were initially reported injured at the festival, but a later court filing revealed staggering numbers – 732 claims of injuries requiring extensive medical treatment, 1,649 claims of less extensive injuries, and 2,540 claims where injury severity was still undetermined, totaling over 4,900 claimed injuries.
  • Hundreds of lawsuits were filed alleging negligence by Travis Scott, the festival organizers Live Nation, the venue, security contractors, and others for poor planning, lack of crowd control measures, and insufficient emergency response.
  • A security guard also reported being injected with a needle and revived with Narcan, prompting a narcotics investigation into potential drug involvement.

The Astroworld tragedy stands out as one of the deadliest and most devastating crowd control disasters at a concert in recent U.S. history, leaving thousands injured in addition to the lives tragically lost.

2016 Crowd Surge at Chance the Rapper’s Austin Show

  • During Chance the Rapper’s performance at the Statesman Skyline Theater in Austin in 2016, a crowd surge left several people injured.
  • At least 8 people were hospitalized, with injuries ranging from broken bones to paralysis from being trampled.

2015 Crowd Crush at Chevelle Concert in Dallas

  • At a Chevelle concert at the Bronco Bowl in Dallas in 2015, a crowd crush occurred when fans rushed toward the stage.
  • At least 12 people were injured, with some suffering broken bones and one person going into cardiac arrest.

2011 Crowd Surge at Electric Daisy Carnival in Dallas

  • During the Electric Daisy Carnival rave in Dallas in 2011, a crowd surge led to dozens of injuries.
  • At least 28 people were hospitalized, with some suffering fractured bones and one person nearly dying from trampling injuries.

These incidents highlight the potential dangers of crowd control issues at concerts, particularly when fans rush toward stages, leading to trampling, crushing injuries, and in the worst cases, fatalities.

Types of Compensation for a Texas Oilfield Accident

Types of Compensation for Texas Concert Injuries

If you have been injured at a concert, festival, or large event in Texas, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation. Understanding the types of damages you can seek is crucial for ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Here are the main categories of damages available in personal injury cases in Texas.

1. Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate you for the financial losses directly resulting from your injury. These damages are typically easier to quantify and include:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes the cost of emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any other medical treatments required due to the injury.
  • Lost Wages: If your injury has caused you to miss work, you can seek compensation for the income you lost during your recovery period. This also includes any future lost earnings if the injury impacts your ability to work long-term.
  • Rehabilitation Costs: Costs associated with ongoing rehabilitation, such as physical therapy or occupational therapy, can also be included.
  • Property Damage: If any personal property was damaged during the incident, such as clothing, electronics, or other belongings, you can seek compensation for repair or replacement.

2. Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are designed to compensate for the intangible losses that are harder to measure. These damages address the broader impact of the injury on your life and include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury. This can include chronic pain, discomfort, and the psychological impact of the incident.
  • Emotional Distress: Injuries from traumatic events can lead to significant emotional and mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Compensation can be sought for these emotional impacts.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the injury has reduced your ability to enjoy daily activities, hobbies, or other aspects of life that you previously enjoyed, you can seek compensation for this loss.
  • Loss of Consortium: If the injury has negatively affected your relationship with your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of companionship and support.

3. Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are intended to compensate the victim, punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future. These damages are not awarded in every case but may be considered if the defendant’s actions were especially harmful or negligent.

Navigating the complexities of a personal injury claim and determining the appropriate types and amounts of compensation can be challenging. Having experienced legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Our personal injury lawyers in Texas are dedicated to helping victims of concert and event injuries secure the compensation they deserve. We will work diligently to build a strong case, gather necessary evidence, and advocate on your behalf.

Tough cases call for the toughest lawyers.

How Our Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help Victims of Concert Injuries

If you or a loved one has been injured at a concert, festival, or large event, navigating the aftermath can be overwhelming. Dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and the emotional impact of the injury is challenging enough without having to worry about the legal complexities of your case. Our experienced Texas personal injury lawyers are here to help you every step of the way.

1. Comprehensive Case Evaluation

We begin with an evaluation of your case to understand the circumstances surrounding your injury. This involves reviewing incident reports, medical records, and any available evidence. We will identify all potentially liable parties, whether they are event organizers, venue owners, performers, security companies, or others.

2. Gathering Evidence

Building a strong case requires solid evidence. Our team will gather and preserve crucial evidence, including eyewitness testimonies, video and photographic documentation, and expert analysis. This comprehensive approach ensures we have a detailed and accurate account of what happened and who is responsible.

3. Legal Advice

Our lawyers have extensive experience in personal injury law and a deep understanding of Texas legal statutes and regulations. We provide clear, straightforward legal advice tailored to your specific situation. We will explain your rights and the legal options available to you, ensuring you are fully informed at every stage of the process.

4. Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance companies can be intimidating and frustrating. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who will handle all communications with insurance providers on your behalf. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

5. Pursuing Maximum Compensation

We are dedicated to securing the maximum compensation for your injuries. This includes economic damages for medical bills and lost income, non-economic damages for pain and suffering, and, in some cases, punitive damages to hold negligent parties accountable. Our goal is to ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve.

6. Court Representation

If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, we are fully prepared to take your case to court. Our experienced trial lawyers will present a compelling case on your behalf, advocating vigorously for your rights and interests in front of a judge and jury.

7. Providing Support and Guidance

We understand that dealing with a personal injury is not just a legal issue but a deeply personal and emotional experience. Our team is here to provide compassionate support and guidance throughout the entire process. We are committed to helping you navigate this challenging time with confidence and peace of mind.

8. No Upfront Fees

We believe that everyone deserves access to quality legal representation, regardless of their financial situation. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis. You won’t owe us anything unless we win your case, ensuring that you can focus on your recovery without the stress of legal fees.

Injured Injury While Attending A Concert in Texas? Contact Us.

Proving negligence in concert injury cases can be complex and challenging. It often involves multiple parties and intricate legal arguments. Having experienced legal representation is essential to navigate these complexities.

Our personal injury lawyers are skilled in complex cases. We will help gather evidence, build a strong case, and pursue the compensation you deserve. We have years of experience guiding people through the toughest times in their lives. Let us be there for you. Contact us today at 817-203-2220 for a free consultation.

Hire our personal injury attorneys who do not settle for less.

Varghese Summersett

Introduction

On June 14, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a significant decision in the case of Garland v. Cargill, striking down the federal ban on bump stocks. The Supreme Court bump stock decision, coming in at a 6-3 ruling, marked a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over firearm regulations in the United States.

Background of the Case

Bump stocks are attachments that enable semi-automatic rifles to fire at speeds comparable to automatic weapons, releasing hundreds of rounds per minute. The national debate over these devices intensified after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, where a gunman used bump stocks to perpetrate the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, resulting in 60 deaths and over 500 injuries. In response, the Trump administration in 2018 reclassified bump stocks as machine guns, mandating their destruction or surrender to the ATF—a reversal from earlier interpretations that did not uniformly classify bump stocks as machine guns.

The Case

Michael Cargill, a U.S. Army veteran and Austin gun store owner, became a central figure in challenging this rule after surrendering two bump stocks. His lawsuit, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit supported, led to the Supreme Court’s review. The Supreme Court’s decision, affirming the 5th Circuit, concluded that the ATF’s 2018 rule overstepped its authority under federal law.

Details of the Supreme Court’s Ruling

The Supreme Court ruled that the ATF exceeded its statutory authority by classifying bump stocks as machine guns. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, argued that bump stocks do not make a semi-automatic rifle fire automatically as defined by law since the trigger must function separately for each round fired, contrary to the continuous firing mechanism of machine guns.

Dissenting Opinion

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, penned a forceful dissent. She argued that the majority’s interpretation dangerously narrows the definition of machine guns and disregards the practical realities of how bump stocks enable rapid, continuous fire. Justice Sotomayor warned that this decision could lead to “deadly consequences,” echoing concerns about potential increases in mass shootings facilitated by such devices.

Implications of the Decision

This ruling significantly impacts the regulatory landscape:

  • The decision lifts the federal ban on bump stocks in 35 states that do not have their own corresponding laws, potentially leading to a resurgence in their use.
  • At least 15 states along with the District of Columbia maintain their bans, which will likely remain in force.

Public and Political Reaction

The decision has been met with substantial criticism from gun control advocates who warn of the potential increase in mass shootings facilitated by such devices. In response, there are calls for Congress to enact legislation specifically banning bump stocks.

Are Bump Stocks Legal in Texas?

Bump stocks are legal in Texas. Although there was significant national discussion about banning these devices following the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Texas has not passed any state-specific legislation banning the possession, sale, or use of bump stocks.  Like any state without any state law specifically prohibiting them, bump stocks remain legal in Texas.

States Where Bump Stocks Are Illegal

State Legal Status Statute
California Illegal Penal Code Section 30600
Colorado Illegal HB19-1177
Connecticut Illegal Section 53-202w
Delaware Illegal Title 11, Chapter 5
Florida Illegal SB 7026
Hawaii Illegal HRS 134-8
Maryland Illegal Criminal Law Section 4-301
Massachusetts Illegal Chapter 140, Section 121
Nevada Illegal NRS 202.360
New Jersey Illegal PL 2018, c.39
New York Illegal Penal Law 265.01
Rhode Island Illegal Title 11-47-8.1
Vermont Illegal Title 13, Section 4011
Washington Illegal RCW 9.41.190
District of Columbia Illegal DC Code § 7-2502.02

Conclusion

Garland v. Cargill is not just a legal determination about a specific firearm accessory but a landmark case with wide-reaching implications on how firearms are regulated in the United States. It reflects the broader societal and political conflicts surrounding gun control and the scope of regulatory authority, ensuring that this topic will remain at the forefront of legal and political discourse. In the upcoming terms, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to tackle several significant cases related to gun rights, which will likely influence the legal landscape around firearm regulations. One such pivotal case involves the regulation of so-called “ghost guns”—firearms that can be assembled from parts and do not have serial numbers. This case, expected to be argued in October, will address the Biden administration’s efforts to regulate these untraceable weapons. Additionally, the Court’s future docket includes a review of laws surrounding gun storage and public carry restrictions, reflecting the ongoing national debate on how to balance Second Amendment rights with public safety concerns.

Garland v. Cargill Full Opinion

Varghese Summersett

In Texas, blue laws prohibit the sale of liquor on Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, with additional restrictions on beer and wine sales. Beer and wine can be purchased from 7:00 AM to midnight Monday through Friday, from 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM on Saturday, and from 10:00 AM to midnight on Sunday, while car dealerships must choose to close either on Saturday or Sunday but cannot operate on both days of the weekend.

In this article, we will explore the origin of these limitations and cover when and where you can buy alcohol on a Sunday.

History of Texas Blue Laws

William G. Harper’s “A Short History of the Texas Blue Laws” documents blue laws dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries within some American colonies. Originally designed to protect Sunday as a day of worship, these laws encouraged church attendance by limiting secular and commercial activities.

Some historians suggest that these laws were transcribed onto blue paper, hence the name. Others believe that “blue” was a derogatory term used at the time to describe the puritanical nature of these regulations.

The original Texas blue law, enacted in 1961, restricted the sale of 42 specific items on consecutive weekend days (Saturday and Sunday).

  • Clothing and wearing apparel
  • Clothing accessories (belts, hats, gloves, etc.)
  • Home appliances (large and small)
  • Cameras and camera accessories
  • Cookware and kitchen utensils
  • Silverware and flatware
  • Hand tools and power tools
  • Hardware and building materials
  • Furniture and home furnishings
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Clocks
  • Luggage and travel accessories
  • Musical instruments and accessories
  • Radios and radio accessories
  • Televisions and television accessories
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Washing machines
  • Dryers
  • Air conditioners and fans
  • Mattresses and bedding
  • Mirrors
  • Dishes and glassware
  • Pots and pans
  • Cutlery and silverware
  • Lamps and lighting fixtures
  • Linens and towels
  • Curtains and drapes
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Sporting goods
  • Toys and games
  • Books and magazines
  • Records and tapes
  • Paints and painting supplies
  • Wallpaper and wallpaper supplies
  • Electrical appliances
  • Plumbing supplies
  • Automotive parts
  • Tires and automotive accessories
  • Bicycles and bicycle accessories
  • Office supplies
  • School supplies
  • Pet supplies

Current Texas Blue Laws: Alcohol and Cars

While many original blue laws have been repealed, restrictions on alcohol and automobile sales remain, reflecting long-standing traditions.The Texas statute that contains the alcohol-related blue laws is found in the Alcoholic Beverage Code, Chapter 105. This chapter outlines the hours of sale and consumption for various types of alcoholic beverages, including liquor, mixed beverages, malt beverages, and wine. It specifies restrictions such as prohibiting the sale of liquor on Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, and sets specific hours for the sale and consumption of other alcoholic beverages.

When Can You Buy Alcohol in Texas?

Under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, the sale of alcohol on Sundays is still subject to specific restrictions.

When can I buy beer, wine, and liquor.

Can You Buy Beer, Wine or Liquor on Sunday?

  • Beer and Wine: Sales are permitted in grocery and convenience stores from 10 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. This extension from the previous noon start time allows for greater flexibility.
  • Liquor: Sales of liquor are prohibited on Sundays in Texas. Liquor stores must remain closed, reflecting stringent regulations aimed at limiting alcohol consumption.

Texas Alcohol Hours

The hours during which you can purchase alcohol in Texas vary by type and day of the week:

  • Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for liquor in stores.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for liquor, extended hours for beer and wine in some locations.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to midnight for beer and wine, no liquor sales in stores, although bars and restaurants can serve alcoholic drinks after noon.

What Time Does Texas Stop Selling Alcohol?

Liquor sales must cease by 9 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. For beer and wine, sales extend to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.

car dealerships are closed on Sundays

Car Sales Regulations

According to Section 728.002 of the Texas Transportation Code, car dealerships in Texas are prohibited from operating on both Saturday and Sunday. Dealers must choose one day of the weekend to open, typically opting for Saturday. This ensures a mandatory day of rest, complying with the state’s legislative intent to reduce commercial activity on Sundays.

Development and Controversy of Blue Laws

The persistence of blue laws in Texas has been a topic of debate. Proponents argue that these laws help maintain community standards and values, providing predictable days off for workers in certain industries. Opponents believe they are outdated and restrict modern commerce. The most significant changes occurred in 1985 when Texas repealed many of the blue laws, though restrictions on liquor and auto sales persist due to their specific inclusion in state codes.

Conclusion

Texas blue laws are a fascinating example of how historical practices can persist into the modern era, reflecting the state’s unique cultural and religious heritage. While they continue to regulate activities like alcohol and car sales, the discussion around their relevance and application remains active among lawmakers, businesses, and consumers alike.

Varghese Summersett

Comprehensive Guide to Juvenile Defense in Texas

Navigating the complexities of juvenile law in Texas can be challenging for juveniles and their families. This comprehensive guide to juvenile defense in Texas provides an overview of key aspects of the juvenile justice system, from initial intake to potential sentencing, and offers links to additional resources for those seeking more detailed information.

Who is a “Child” for Juvenile Court in Texas?

Whether a child is subject to the jurisdiction of a juvenile court depends on their age. For juvenile law purposes, the Texas Family Code defines a “child” as a person who is:

  • 10 years or older and under 17; or
  • 17 years or older and under 18, who is alleged or found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision as a result of acts committed before turning 17. (Texas Family Code §51.02(2))

A juvenile court typically loses its jurisdiction to handle any juvenile case when a person turns 18. Although children under 10 cannot be prosecuted for committing crimes, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) may provide services for children as young as seven who are at risk of getting into trouble and for the children’s families. (Texas Family Code §264.302)

Who is a juvenile

Juvenile Offenses

Juvenile offenses can generally be categorized as delinquent conduct, Conduct Indicating a Need for Supervision, and traffic offenses.

Delinquent Conduct

Delinquent conduct refers to actions, other than traffic offenses, that violate a criminal law of Texas or the United States and are punishable by imprisonment or confinement in jail. (Texas Family Code §51.03(a)(1))

Conduct Indicating a Need for Supervision (CINS)

CINS involves actions, other than traffic offenses, which include:

  • Running away
  • Inhalant abuse
  • Expulsion from school
  • Prostitution
  • Sexting

(Texas Family Code §51.03(b))

Traffic Offenses

For juveniles, traffic offenses specifically exclude jailable offenses, such as racing on highways. (Texas Family Code §51.02(16))

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Understanding Juvenile Defense in Texas

Juvenile defense in Texas requires a deep understanding of the state’s legal framework, which differs significantly from adult criminal law. Juveniles are treated with the goal of rehabilitation rather than punishment, although serious offenses can lead to severe consequences.

Our Fort Worth Board Certified Juvenile Lawyer put together this page to help you under key aspects the juvenile justice system.

Taking a Child into Custody

Juvenile Processing Office

If a peace officer decides to take a child into custody, they may transport the child to an officially designated juvenile processing office, where the juvenile may be kept for up to six hours. (§52.025(d), F.C.)

Permitted Reasons for Detention

A child may be detained in a juvenile processing office only for:

  • Returning the child to a parent or other responsible adult
  • Completion of essential forms and records
  • Photographing and fingerprinting of the child if authorized
  • Issuance of a warning to the child as required by law
  • Taking a statement from the child (§52.025(b), F.C.)

Conditions of Detention

A juvenile processing office is a room in a police station or sheriff’s office used for the temporary detention of a child. It may not be a cell or holding facility used for other types of detentions, and a child cannot be detained for longer than six hours. (§52.025, F.C.)

Rights of the Child and Parents

A child may not be left unattended in a juvenile processing office and is entitled to be accompanied by a parent, guardian, custodian, or attorney. (§52.025(c), F.C.) The parent of a child taken into custody has the right to communicate privately with the child for reasonable periods. (§61.103(a)(1), F.C.)

Transport to Juvenile Detention Facility

If the child is not released to the parent or guardian, the law enforcement officer must transport the child to the appropriate juvenile detention facility. If the facility is outside the county, the officer who took the child into custody must transport the child to the out-of-county facility. (§52.026(a) and (b), F.C.)

juvenile detention in texas

When Can a Juvenile Be Taken Into Custody?

Texas law permits a juvenile to be taken into custody, beyond an initial detention, under the following circumstances:

  • Pursuant to an order of the juvenile court
  • Pursuant to the laws of arrest
  • By a law enforcement officer if there is probable cause to believe the child has violated a penal law, committed delinquent conduct, or violated probation
  • By a probation officer if there is probable cause to believe the child has violated probation conditions
  • Pursuant to a directive to apprehend (§52.01(a), F.C.)

A directive to apprehend is a court order authorizing law enforcement or a probation officer to take a child into custody if there is probable cause. Taking a child into custody is not considered an arrest, so a child can truthfully state they have never been arrested. (§52.01(b), F.C.)

When Can a Statement Be Taken from a Juvenile?

Juvenile Statements or Confessions

The Family Code has specific provisions for taking statements from juvenile suspects, which provide special protections. For example, a child must be taken to a juvenile processing office without unnecessary delay and without being taken to any other place first. (§52.02(a), F.C.)

Notification Requirements

A person taking a juvenile into custody must promptly notify the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian, and the office designated by the juvenile board. If the child is a ward of a guardianship, law enforcement must notify the Probate Court by the first working day after taking the child into custody. (§52.02(b), §52.011, F.C.)

Written Statements or Confessions

Before making a written confession, the child must receive a warning from a magistrate about their rights, including the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney, and the right to terminate the interview at any time. The magistrate must ensure the child is voluntarily waiving these rights. (§51.095(a)(1)(A), (C), F.C.)

After waiving rights, the child can return to the juvenile processing office for a written confession. The confession must be signed in the presence of a magistrate, without law enforcement or prosecuting attorneys present. The magistrate must certify that the child understands and voluntarily signs the statement. (§51.095(a)(1)(B), (D), F.C.)

Recorded Statements or Confessions

If the confession is recorded, the magistrate’s warnings and the child’s waiver must be included in the recording. The magistrate may review the recording to ensure voluntariness and make written findings. (§51.095(a-5), (f), F.C.)

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First Offender Program

Eligibility and Process

A first offender program is not just for first-time offenders. A juvenile who has previously participated and was not referred to court may be referred again. The program is typically for cases involving CINS or delinquent conduct, excluding felonies or violent misdemeanors. (§52.031(a), F.C.)

Officers must make a written referral to the agency, identifying the child and the grounds for custody. The child and parent must consent to participate, and the child cannot be detained in law enforcement custody. (§52.031(e), (f), (g), F.C.)

Program Activities and Outcomes

Participation may involve restitution, community service, vocational training, education, counseling, or periodic reporting. Successful completion results in case closure without court referral. If the child fails the program, they will be referred to court. Law enforcement may keep a record of successful completion to determine future eligibility. (§52.031(j), §58.001(f), F.C.)

Criteria for Detaining a Juvenile

Detention Hearing Outcomes

After a detention hearing, a child must be released unless the judge finds that the child:

  • Is likely to abscond
  • Lacks adequate supervision
  • Lacks a parent or person to ensure court return
  • Is a danger to themselves or public safety
  • Was previously adjudicated for delinquent conduct and likely to reoffend (§54.01(e), F.C.)

Conditions of Release

Release conditions must be in writing, ensuring the child’s appearance at court proceedings. If released to an adult, the adult must ensure the child’s appearance or face contempt charges. (§53.02(d), §54.01(f), F.C.)

The juvenile court can order the child’s parent to assist in complying with release conditions, enforceable by contempt. Initial detention orders extend to the end of the case but not more than 10 working days, with the possibility of extension in certain cases. (§54.01(r), (h), F.C.)

Key Stages in the Juvenile Justice Process

  1. Juvenile Intake Process The juvenile intake process is the first step after a juvenile is taken into custody. This process determines whether the case should be handled formally or informally.
  2. Juvenile Detention Hearing A detention hearing is held to decide if a juvenile should be kept in detention or released while awaiting further court proceedings.
  3. Juvenile Adjudication Hearing Similar to a trial in adult court, an adjudication hearing determines if the juvenile committed the alleged offense.

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Common Juvenile Offenses

Juveniles can be charged with a variety of offenses, from minor infractions to serious crimes.

Juvenile Rights and Protections

Understanding a juvenile’s legal rights is essential for ensuring fair treatment within the justice system.

  • Right to a Juvenile Attorney: Juveniles have the right to legal representation. This right is crucial for navigating the legal process.
  • Interrogating a Minor: The rules governing how police can interrogate minors are designed to protect their rights, yet they may not be as comprehensive as you might expect or hope.

Juvenile Sentencing and Rehabilitation

The goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate rather than punish. Sentencing can vary based on the severity of the offense and the juvenile’s history.

  • Determinate and Indeterminate Sentences: Texas law includes both determinate and indeterminate sentences for juveniles.
  • Juvenile Deferred Prosecution: This option allows for an alternative to the formal juvenile process, offering juveniles a chance to avoid a blemish on their record.

Specialized Programs and Records

  1. Sealing Juvenile Records Sealing a juvenile record can provide a fresh start by limiting who can access the record. In many cases, we can help you seal a juvenile record.
  2. Juvenile Diversion Programs Diversion programs aim to redirect juveniles away from the justice system through rehabilitation and education. Tarrant County’s specific programs are detailed here.
  3. First Offender Program This program is designed for juveniles with no prior criminal record and focuses on preventing future offenses. Learn more about the Tarrant County First Offender Program here.

Additional Considerations

  • Conduct Indicating a Need for Supervision: Some behaviors, while not criminal, indicate that a juvenile needs supervision. More on this topic can be found here.

Conclusion

Juvenile defense in Texas encompasses a broad spectrum of laws, rights, and processes designed to rehabilitate young offenders while ensuring their rights are protected. If your child is going through the juvenile justice system in north Texas, give us a call at 817-203-2220. We can help.

Varghese Summersett

What happens when you get arrested while you have a morals clause?

Many corporate officers, entertainers, and athletes have morals clauses. In this article, we explore what happens when you are arrested while you have a morals clause. We will go through everything we can do to try to help save your contract.

What is a morals clause

What is a Morals Clause?

A morals clause is a provision in a contract that requires an individual to adhere to certain standards of behavior. These clauses are often included in employment contracts, especially for high-profile positions such as entertainers, athletes, executives, and public figures. The primary purpose of a morals clause is to protect the employer’s reputation and business interests by ensuring that their employees or representatives do not engage in conduct that could be considered unethical, illegal, or damaging to the company’s image.

When Do Employment Contracts Have Morals Clauses?

Employment contracts typically include morals clauses in situations where the employee’s personal conduct could significantly impact the employer’s brand, reputation, or business. Common contexts where morals clauses are found include:

  • Entertainment and Sports: Actors, musicians, athletes, and other public figures whose actions are closely scrutinized by the media and public.
  • Corporate Executives: High-level executives and key employees whose actions could affect the company’s reputation and shareholder confidence.
  • Public Figures and Influencers: Individuals whose public image is integral to their role and the entities they represent.
  • Teachers and Coaches: Professionals in roles that serve as role models and have a duty to uphold certain ethical standards.

College athletes with morals clauses

  • Student-Athletes: NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) contracts often include moral clauses. These clauses are designed to protect the reputation of the businesses and organizations that enter into agreements with student-athletes. 

What Happens if You Are Being Investigated and You Have a Morals Clause?

If someone makes an accusation against you, there are a number of things we will do. First and foremost, we want to avoid an arrest if at all possible. This is difficult for many reasons. First and foremost, you can be arrested on just probable cause – which is just facts that suggest an offense took place. As a result, just a person saying something happened is often enough to result in an arrest, particularly for allegations of assault or sexual assault. Nonetheless, we are experienced at have conversations to try to get detectives to consider other evidence (although never your own statement) such as video evidence, receipts, other witness statements, mitigation evidence, and evidence as to the alleged victim’s motivations, such as this is nothing more than a money grab. We also meet with prosecutors who might be in a position to accept or reject the case. While they may take the official position that every case is handled the same and they won’t have any direct input on whether the case is filed or not, we know this is only partially true. Moreover, we must do this to prevent what often happens: police and prosecutors trying to overcompensate this idea that “everyone is treated the same” by making an example of a public figure. The reality is not everyone is treated the same though. If you are a blue-collar worker, being arrested for an allegation is very different than if you have a morals clause that could affect your current and future employment. A prosecutor or detective with true discernment understands this. Being fair doesn’t mean treating everyone exactly the same. If that were the case, prosecutors and police could be replaced by technology. With that said, it takes real courage for a prosecutor or detective to do the right thing (like the prosecutor on Scottie Scheffler dismissing his charges), and you have to be prepared for the great likelihood of an arrest.

What Happens if You Are Arrested and You Have a Morals Clause?

If you are arrested for a criminal offense, our strategy is to do everything humanly possible to get your case dismissed. The faster we can find a pathway to a dismissal, the more chances we have to get on the right side of things with your employer. We have had conversations with employers explaining how easy it is to have a case filed against a person, particularly when the law only requires probable cause for an arrest, and the detective is not required by law to consider defenses or mitigation. In other words, the standard for an arrest is far lower than even the civil standard of proof at a trial, which is the preponderance of evidence. Without immediate intervention, being arrested while you have a morals clause can result in the following:

  • Internal Review: Your employer may conduct an internal review to assess the situation and determine if your conduct violates the morals clause.
  • Suspension: Pending the outcome of the review, you might be suspended from your duties.
  • Termination: If it’s determined that your conduct violates the morals clause, you could be terminated from your position.
  • Reputation Damage: The arrest and any subsequent negative publicity could harm your professional reputation, making it difficult to secure future employment.
  • Clawback Provisions: Some morals clauses include provisions that allow the company to reclaim payments already made to the individual. This can include bonuses, salaries, or other financial benefits.
  • Fines: The contract may specify fines or other financial penalties for violating the morals clause.

How to Defend Yourself and Not Violate the Morals Clause if You Are Arrested

Here are some steps to take if you are arrested and want to defend yourself without violating the morals clause:

  • Call Us: Call us immediately to understand your rights and obligations. We will guide you through the legal process and help you prepare a defense.
  • Send us the Contract: We will carefully review your employment contract, specifically the morals clause, and discuss with you what behaviors constitute a violation.
  • Manage Public Relations: We are (to our knowledge) unique in the criminal defense space as a firm with a Chief Content Officer who was a reporter for a number of years and has a network of fellow reporters throughout Texas and across the United States. We will be prepared for the possibility that your name is mentioned by the media and be ready with statements and a public response if needed.
  • Gather Evidence: We will collect any evidence or witnesses that can support your case and demonstrate that your behavior does not violate the morals clause.

Legal Considerations in Sports: Morals Clauses

Recent scandals in the sports world have painfully demonstrated to some athletes that the salary clause in their player contracts and endorsement contracts is not the only contractual term that deserves substantial attention during the negotiation process. Most player contracts and endorsement contracts contain a “morals clause,” which gives the athlete’s team, league, or company paying the athlete to endorse its products the right to terminate a contract or otherwise punish a player who engages in criminal or unseemly behavior.

Although a morals clause may sometimes be treated as “boiler plate” in contracts, violation of a morals clause can have a huge economic impact, from loss of salary paid by a team to the loss of lucrative endorsement deals. Rather than waiting until some incident has landed them in the headlines to look at the morals clause in their contract, players should understand in advance what triggers the clause and what each side is allowed to do if the clause is invoked.

Examples of Morals Clause Violations

The list of athletes and other sports professionals who have been suspended or terminated from teams, fired from coaching jobs, or lost lucrative endorsement contracts because of illegal, immoral, or unethical conduct that violated a morals clause in their contract has grown longer recently:

  • Michael Vick: Convicted of bankrolling an illegal dog fighting operation and sentenced to 23 months in prison. Nike suspended and eventually terminated its endorsement agreement with him.
  • Adam (Pacman) Jones: Suspended for the entire 2007 season by the NFL, without pay, after five arrests and violating probation.
  • Kobe Bryant: Lost numerous endorsements due to sexual assault charges, though he later regained some endorsements.
  • Rick Neuheisel: Fired from his coaching job at the University of Washington for violating NCAA rules that prohibited gambling. He is now the UCLA coach.

Negotiating Morals Clauses in Contracts

Negotiating morals clauses in player contracts can be very different than negotiating them for endorsement contracts. Major league player contracts usually don’t allow much room for negotiation because they contain uniform language for all players. Led by the NFL’s personal conduct policy, player contracts nowadays are likely to contain more specific and stringent restrictions on player conduct off the field. They may require the player to dress neatly in public, to conduct himself according to the highest standards of honesty and sportsmanship, and to refrain from doing anything that would be detrimental to the best interests of the team or league.

But language specific to particular player contracts can be negotiated. For example, Yankees designated hitter Jason Giambi admitted to having used steroids, which could have been cause to terminate him, but the Yankees declined to do so, perhaps because of his value to them, but also because reportedly during the negotiation of his contract language that could have provided grounds for termination based on steroid use had been changed.

Morals Clauses in Endorsement Deals

A morals clause in an endorsement deal can be much more detailed than a standard player contract and allows for more negotiation, depending on the player’s bargaining position. Companies insist on a morals clause because the company is investing a large sum of money to have a player be the public face for the company’s products; the company builds its advertising and marketing campaign around the player so that the player’s talents and achievements become associated with the company’s products. Problems arise when the player’s talents and achievements are overshadowed by scandal or criminal conduct. When the association between the player-endorser and the company begins to damage the company, the company understandably wants to part ways.

Negotiating the Morals Clause

When negotiating the morals clause in an endorsement agreement, one of the most important issues is what kind of behavior will trigger the clause. In general, a player will want a short list of actions that will trigger the clause, such as a conviction on criminal charges. A company paying for the endorsement will want a broadly worded clause that lets the company act, at its sole discretion, if the player’s actions warrant termination or a fine. For example, there are many kinds of behavior that fall short of a conviction that could tarnish a company’s image, such as public fights, arrests for drunk driving, drug use, criminal accusations (even if the charges are later dropped), and domestic scandals. A company may also want to be able to take action if the player-endorser criticizes its product or management.

A relatively new twist is a reverse-morals clause, which allows a player to terminate an endorsement agreement if the company engages in fraud or other criminal activities.

Conclusion

If you are arrested or under investigation while you have a morals clause, call us immediately. These are complicated

Morals clauses are now standard in most sports contracts, as sports professionals are under increasing scrutiny from tabloids and the news media. Behaviors that might have gone unnoticed or were kept out of the public eye a few years ago are now on the front pages in a matter of hours. Teams and leagues, and the companies that pay athletes to endorse their products, are increasingly faced with the question of how to respond to scandals. One of the first things they look at is the morals clause in the player or endorsement agreement. This means athletes should pay close attention to these clauses during contract negotiations.

By understanding what actions trigger the clause and negotiating the terms carefully, players can protect themselves from severe consequences and safeguard their careers and financial interests.

Varghese Summersett

Young Thug, a prominent rapper, is currently on trial in Atlanta, two years after being arrested for racketeering and gang-related charges. His high-profile trial—which began in November and is expected to last several more months—is already the longest in Georgia history.

The trial has been marred with lengthy delays and complications, partly because prosecutors want to use Young Thug’s rap lyrics as evidence that he led a criminal street gang responsible for murders, shootings, and carjackings dating back to 2012. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, argue that his lyrics are artistic expression protected by the First Amendment and should not be used as evidence.

So far, prosecutors have had some success in getting Young Thug’s lyrics in front of the jury, but only time will tell how much weight this evidence will carry in the final verdict.

The case has sparked a broader debate about the intersection of art and law, with many in the music industry and civil rights groups watching closely. They argue that using rap lyrics in criminal trials as evidence sets a dangerous precedent that could stifle creative expression and disproportionately impact artists from marginalized communities. As the trial progresses, it remains a pivotal moment not only for Young Thug but also for the wider conversation about free speech and the criminal justice system.

In this article, the attorneys at Varghese Summersett discuss the case and the controversy and arguments surrounding the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials and prosecutions in the United States.

Background on Young Thug

Background On Young Thug’s Criminal Charges

On May 9, 2022, Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Lamar Williams, and 27 alleged members of the street criminal gang, Young Slime Life (YSL), were arrested for conspiring to violate Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and participating in criminal street gang activity.

The 88-page indictment accused Young Thug of co-founding and leading YSL, which prosecutors allege is a gang affiliated with the Bloods. Prosecutors also allege that YSL – the acronym for the rapper’s label, Young Stoner Life Records – also stands for “Young Slime Life” gang.

Specific charges against Young Thug include renting a car used in a 2015 murder, possession of illegal drugs and firearms, and additional charges stemming from a raid on his Buckhead home.

A total of 28 people, including Young Thug, were charged in a 56-count indictment related to YSL’s alleged criminal activities. Other co-defendants include:

  • Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, and Slimelife Shawty, whose name is Wunnie Lee, were both charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy and negotiated plea deals in the case.
  • Walter Murphy and Trontavious Stephens – two other people charged with co-founding YSL with Young Thug – have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.
  • Marquavius Huey, Deamonte “Yak Gotti” Kendrick, Quamavrious Nichols, Roalius Ryan and Shannon Stillwill are also defendants.

Young Thug Trial: Admissibility of Rap Lyrics in Criminal Trials

What Is The RICO Act?

The RICO Act, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, is a federally mandated law that aims to combat the presence of organized crime in the United States. Georgia has its own state RICO law modeled after federal RICO but is much broader. Some notable differences include:

  • Georgia’s RICO Act (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4) makes it a crime to participate in, acquire or maintain control of an “enterprise” through a “pattern of racketeering activity” or to conspire to do so.
  • An “enterprise” can be a legal entity like a business or an informal association with a common purpose. Unlike federal RICO, proof of an actual enterprise is not required.
  • “Racketeering activity” means committing at least two of over 40 predicate state crimes listed in the law within four years to establish a “pattern.”
  • Unlike federal RICO, Georgia’s law does not require proving continuity over an extended period – even a short pattern of related crimes can qualify.
  • Penalties include 5-20 years in prison, a $25,000 fine or triple the illicit proceeds, whichever is greater.
  • As a state charge, it cannot be pardoned by the President.

Georgia’s RICO law is broader than the federal version, making it easier to prosecute. It requires fewer elements of proof for a racketeering charge.

And WhileOthe  Act is being used to prosecute a ganggang-affiliatedense in the Young Thug case, the RICO act Act be used to prosecute a multitude of crimes, including public corruption and white-collar crimes.

Noteably, former President Trump and more than a dozen others are facing RICO charges in Georgia, stemming from accusations they tried to overturn the state’s 2020 election returns.

Why Prosecutors Want to Rap Lyrics in Court

State’s Case: Why Prosecutors Want to Use Rap Lyrics As Evidence

An interesting aspect of the Young Thug trial is that prosecutors have been attempting to use Young Thug’s own rap lyrics as evidence against him in his trial.  The prosecution maintains that the lyrics demonstrate his intent, motive and involvement in crimes like:

  • Murder: “I never killed anybody, but I got something to do with that body.”
  • Shootings: “a hundred rounds in a Tahoe”
  • Robbery: “She gettin robbed by Tick”

By drawing connections between the lyrics and specific alleged crimes, prosecutors aim to show Young Thug wasn’t just portraying a fictional persona but had actual knowledge and participation in the gang’s racketeering activities.

Proving the Existence of a Criminal Enterprise

The racketeering charges hinge on proving YSL was an illegitimate criminal street gang, not just a record label. Prosecutors claim Young Thug’s lyrics referring to being the “general” of the “pack” that acquired “things of value” through illegal means helps establish YSL operated as a criminal enterprise under his leadership.

In the indictment, prosecutors specifically cited Thug’s song “Slime Shit.”  The song depicts Thug’s connection to the YSL gang and some of the criminal activity the gang engages in. Specifically, they highlighted the lines:

“I’m in the VIP and I got that pistol on my hip, you prayin’ that you live, I’m prayin’ that I hit, hey, this that slime shit.”

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Thug and an alleged fellow YSL member threw up gang signs to the song on social media in 2017. 

As the trial moves forward, the outcome could have significant implications not just for Young Thug but for the broader legal landscape regarding the admissibility of rap lyrics in criminal cases – or creative expression in general. The stakes are high, and the verdict will be closely watched as a defining moment in the intersection of art, free speech, and the criminal justice system.

Defense Arguments against Rap Lyrics in Court

Defense Argument Against Rap Lyrics in Criminal Trials

As the trial of Young Thug unfolds, his defense team is staunchly opposing the prosecution’s attempt to introduce his rap lyrics as evidence. They argue that this move not only violates his constitutional rights but also perpetuates harmful racial biases and misunderstands the nature of artistic expression.

The main defense arguments against allowing  rap lyrics in criminal trials as evidence are:

  • First Amendment Violation: Young Thug’s lawyers argue that using his lyrics as evidence violates his First Amendment right to free speech and artistic expression. They contend rap lyrics are often exaggerated, fictional narratives and should not be treated as literal confessions or evidence of criminal intent. Admitting lyrics could set a precedent that unfairly criminalizes a particular art form and has a “chilling effect” on rappers’ freedom of expression.
  • Racial Bias Concerns: Critics claim the practice of using rap lyrics disproportionately targets and prejudices Black artists and perpetuates racial stereotypes. The defense argues the lyrics would improperly influence the jury’s perception and tap into racial biases against Young Thug. His lawyer stated: “To call the use of these lyrics anything other than racist would be to sugar coat it.”
  • Lack of Direct Relevance: Young Thug’s lawyer argued individual lyrics should only be admitted when clearly tied to specific alleged criminal actions, which prosecutors allegedly failed to establish. The defense contends many other artists use similar lyrical phrases, so admitting them shows improper “character evidence” rather than direct relevance to crimes charged.
  • Improper Character Evidence Lawyers: Prosecutors are using Thug’s “words” to convince jurors he is “a bad man” – the kind of improper character evidence that is typically inadmissible.
  • Distinguishing Rap Persona from Reality: The defense asserted that Thug’s rap persona and lyrics represent an exaggerated character, not reality, arguing “Rap is the only fictional art form treated this way.”

In essence, the defense challenged the lyrics’ First Amendment protections, potential for racial bias, lack of direct relevance to alleged crimes, and blurring of Thug’s artistic persona with prosecutorial implications of his actual character and intent.

Prosecution Success So Far

While controversial, prosecutors cite precedent where lyrics have been admitted as evidence in other cases, including those involving racist hate groups. They argue the rules of evidence do not exempt rap lyrics if they are relevant to alleged crimes. To date, prosecutors have had some success so far in being allowed to use Young Thugs lyrics at trial:

  • In a November 2022 ruling, Judge Glanville determined that prosecutors can conditionally use up to 17 sets of lyrics if they properly lay the foundation connecting them to the alleged racketeering crimes.
  • However, the judge stated he would consider objections to specific lyrics during the trial if their relevance is questionable.

Allowing Rap Lyrics as Evidence

Precedents Allowing Rap Lyrics in Criminal Trials as Evidence

As the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials gains attention, it’s essential to examine the legal precedents that have shaped this controversial practice.

  • Courts have often permitted the introduction of defendants’ rap lyrics to
    demonstrate motive, intent, identity, or knowledge related to the alleged crimes they are charged with.
  • In cases like United States v. Foster (2006) and Holmes v. Nevada (2013), courts ruled that specific details in the lyrics mirroring the crimes made them highly probative as quasi-confessions or admissions of guilt by the defendants.
  • The precedent set is that if lyrics sufficiently resemble evidence of the crime, they can be viewed as autobiographical statements rather than fictional artistic expressions.
  • Prosecutors have circumvented rules against using lyrics as improper character evidence by arguing they demonstrate knowledge (e.g. of drug codes) or specific criminal intent rather than just a general propensity for violence.

Young Thug Trial: Admissibility of Rap Lyrics in Criminal Trials

Rap Lyrics in Criminal Trials: Legal Considerations and Pushback 

Defense attorneys argue admitting rap lyrics violates First Amendment rights to free artistic expression, is racially biased against Black artists, and taps into prejudicial stereotypes before juries.

  • Some courts have excluded vague, general lyrics as improper character evidence that is more prejudicial than probative (New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Skinner 2014).
  • Lawmakers in states like California, New York, and at the federal level have proposed legislation to limit the admissibility of lyrics as evidence of crimes unless directly tied to the case facts.
  • In California, the Decriminalizing Artistic Freedom Act requires prosecutors to hold a separate hearing from the jury to admit song lyrics as evidence. This act was put into place in an effort to maintain the freedom of expression and to ensure that the defendant is getting his or her right to a fair trial. Acts such as these aim to decrease the use of rap lyrics without substantial support or justification to back their claims. 
  • Critics argue the precedents give prosecutors too much leeway to take lyrics out of context and present them as confessions, when rappers commonly use hyperbolic fiction and metaphor as an art form.

So, while there are numerous precedents allowing prosecutors to use a defendant’s rap lyrics against them at trial by arguing they demonstrate criminal knowledge or intent, there is also significant pushback over First Amendment, racial bias, and improper prejudice concerns with this practice.

Other Examples Of Rap Lyrics Young Thug Trial: Admissibility of Rap Lyrics in Criminal Trials In Court 

Young Thug’s case, although unique, is not the only instance of rap lyrics being used in court. Here are some other notable examples of rap lyrics being used as evidence in criminal trials. 

  • Taymor “Tay-K” McIntyre (2019) – He released the viral hit “The Race” while on the run from authorities, and was ultimately sentenced to 55 years in prison for his role in a 2016 home invasion robbery in Texas that left a 21-year-old man dead. Prosecutors used his lyrics and music video as key evidence against him at trial.
  • Tekashi 6ix9ine’s (2019) – His rap lyrics were used against him in trial in an attempt to substantiate their claims that he was an active member and participant in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang.
  • Jamal Knox (2015) – Prosecutors in Massachusetts used his rap lyrics glorifying violence against transit police to argue he had a motive for shooting one.
  • Vonte Skinner (2014) – The New Jersey Supreme Court overturned part of his attempted murder conviction, ruling that the admission of his violent rap lyrics as evidence violated his free speech rights and was more prejudicial than probative.
  • Brandon Duncan (2014) – His rap lyrics about body dismemberment were allowed as evidence in his trial for shooting and killing a man in Nevada, though the state Supreme Court expressed some concerns over their use.
  • Lil Boosie (2012) – In his first degree murder trial, the judge ruled that specific lyrics from his song “187” containing slang terms like “murder” (murder) and “cake” (money) could be admitted as evidence by prosecutors trying to establish Boosie’s alleged involvement in hiring a hitman to kill Terry Boyd, despite defense objections against using artistic lyrics against him in court. 
  • Olutosin Oduwole (2011) – An aspiring rapper, his writings about a shooting were deemed admissible as evidence of his intent in an attempted murder case in Illinois.
  • Rashee Beasley (2008) – Convicted of murder in part based on prosecutors arguing his rap recordings were admissions of guilt, not artistic expression, in New Jersey.
  • Lorne Benton (2007) – His rap lyrics describing a shooting were allowed as evidence of identity and motive in his New York trial for a fatal shooting outside a nightclub.
  • Antra’mail Hunter (2005) – Prosecutors used his rap lyrics describing a shooting to help convict him of attempted murder in California.

While not an exhaustive list, these examples from various states illustrate how prosecutors have frequently introduced defendants’ rap lyrics as purported confessions, evidence of motive, identity, or intent related to the alleged criminal acts they were charged with, despite defense objections over First Amendment rights.

Young Thug Trial: Admissibility of Rap Lyrics in Criminal Trials

Why Is This Case Important? 

The Young Thug trial is important for several key reasons:

  1. High-Profile Test of Georgia’s RICO Law
    This is one of the highest-profile cases testing the boundaries of Georgia’s racketeering (RICO) law. Prosecutors are using this statute, typically reserved for organized crime, to argue that Young Thug’s record label YSL is actually a criminal street gang. The trial’s outcome could set important precedents for how this law is applied going forward, including against President Trump who was also indicted under Georgia’s RICO act.
  2. First Amendment Implications
    A major controversy surrounds prosecutors’ use of Young Thug’s rap lyrics as evidence of alleged criminal activity. Defense attorneys argue this violates First Amendment rights and unfairly criminalizes artistic expression, especially for black artist. How the court rules on admitting lyrics could have significant free speech implications.
  3. Racial Bias Concerns
    Critics claim prosecuting rappers based on their lyrics perpetuates racial stereotypes and bias against Black artists before juries. The trial will scrutinize whether using lyrics as evidence is a discriminatory practice.
  4. Spotlight on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene
    As one of Atlanta’s biggest rap stars, Young Thug’s alleged gang ties have put a spotlight on the city’s influential hip-hop culture and industry. The trial’s outcome could impact rappers’ creative freedom and the local music scene.
  5. Lengthy, High-Stakes Case
    After over a year of delays and nearly 10 months of jury selection alone, the complex, wide-ranging trial involving numerous defendants is expected to be lengthy and feature high-profile witnesses like Killer Mike. With Young Thug facing serious charges like racketeering conspiracy, the stakes are extremely high.

In essence, the Young Thug trial represents a critical legal test case straddling issues of prosecutorial overreach, First Amendment rights, racial bias in the justice system, and the intersection of hip-hop culture with the law – making it one of the most consequential celebrity trials in recent memory

Rapper with a Criminal Charge in North Texas?

If you are a rapper or artist in North Texas accused of a crime in Dallas, Fort Worth or the surrounding areas, we urge you to contact Varghese Summersett as soon as possible. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have successfully represented a number of rappers and artists and will fight for your future. Call 817-203-2220 for a consultation today.

Tough cases call for the toughest lawyers.

Varghese Summersett

“How much insurance should I have?” This is a question that you’d much rather ask before you need coverage than after a loss.

As a personal injury lawyer, one of the worst situations we see is when a person is struck by an uninsured or underinsured motorist and the victim does not have a policy that will cover the damages.  Think about it for a second: Texas mandates you get insurance to cover others. Shouldn’t you take it upon yourself to make sure you are covered in any situation?

While the specific answer to how much insurance you should have depends on your unique situation, there are key types and amounts of coverage every Texan needs to protect themselves financially, their loved ones, and their assets. Texas has special considerations compared to other states, from minimum auto insurance requirements to increased risks from severe weather.

In this guide, we will break down the must-have policies, explain how to determine the right coverage levels for your needs, and share insider tips to get the best protection at the lowest rates, all in plain, easy-to-understand language. If you want to safeguard your finances as a Texas resident, you’ve come to the right place.

how much insurance should you have?

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage in Texas

In Texas, state law requires all drivers to maintain at least the following minimum levels of liability insurance coverage:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability: $25,000 per accident

These minimum requirements – often referred to as 30/65/25 – help ensure drivers have coverage for injuries and damages they might cause in an accident. However, individual insurance needs can vary, and it’s beneficial to consider additional coverage options based on personal circumstances.

Additional Coverage Options

Coverage Type Description State Requirements
Bodily Injury Liability Covers medical expenses, rehabilitation, and legal fees for individuals injured in an accident where the insured is at fault. $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability Covers the cost of repairing or replacing property, such as vehicles or structures, damaged in an accident where the insured is at fault. $25,000 limit
Uninsured Motorist Provides protection for bodily injury and property damage in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident unless rejected

Uninsured motorist property damage: $25,000 with a $250 deductible unless rejected

Not required
Underinsured Motorist Provides protection in the event of an accident with a driver who does not have sufficient insurance coverage. Not required
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs for the policyholder and passengers in an accident, regardless of fault. Not required – $2,500 must be offered by the insurer.
Collision Covers the cost of repairing or replacing the insured’s vehicle if damaged in an accident, regardless of fault. Not required
Comprehensive Covers the cost of repairing or replacing the insured’s vehicle if damaged in non-collision events, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. Not required

Texas Liability Insurance Coverage

When you purchase liability car insurance in Texas, it includes two main components:

  • Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily injury liability covers others’ costs such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses if they are injured in an accident that you cause. It also covers your legal expenses if you are sued following an accident.

  • Property Damage Liability

Property damage liability covers repairs to property you damage in an accident you cause, including other people’s cars, fences, or other structures. It may also cover the cost of other people’s belongings destroyed in a car accident or a rental car for the other driver.

UIM Coverage
UIM Coverage

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage

Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage provides additional financial protection in the event of an accident with a driver who has little or no insurance. This coverage helps pay for car repairs and medical bills, with a $250 deductible for car repairs.

Key Benefits of UM/UIM Coverage

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Pays for car repairs, medical bills, property replacement, rental car costs, and pain and suffering expenses.
  • Long-term Care: Provides financial support for long-term care needs or if you cannot work due to accident injuries.
  • Hit-and-Run Protection: This covers you if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident where the at-fault driver cannot be found.

Please take a moment to watch this informative video by personal injury attorney Ty Stimpson to learn more about UM/UIM coverage and why it is so important.

Who Is Covered by UM/UIM Insurance?

UM/UIM coverage extends to:

  • You, the policyholder
  • Your family members
  • Passengers in your vehicle
  • Anyone driving your car with your permission

How much Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage should I have?

In Texas, the amount of Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage you should have depends on various factors, including your financial situation and risk tolerance. However, it’s important to understand the legal minimums and the maximum coverage available to make an informed decision.

Texas law requires that insurance companies offer UM/UIM coverage in the same amounts as your liability coverage unless you reject it in writing.

While there is no state-imposed maximum limit for UM/UIM coverage, insurers typically offer higher limits to match your liability coverage. Common maximum limits include:

  • $500,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $500,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $100,000 or more per accident for property damage

Some insurers may offer even higher limits, or umbrella policies that can extend your coverage beyond these amounts.

When deciding on the amount of UM/UIM coverage, consider the following:

  • Personal Assets: Protect your assets in the event of a severe accident.
  • Medical Costs: Ensure sufficient coverage for potential medical expenses.
  • Vehicle Value: Consider the value of your vehicle for property damage coverage.
  • Risk Exposure: Think about the likelihood of encountering uninsured or underinsured drivers in your area.

building the right insurance portfolio

How much Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage Should You Have in Texas?

Under Texas law, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage must be offered with all auto insurance policies. You can only opt out of PIP coverage by specifically denying it in writing when purchasing your policy, which is not recommended.

  • Health Insurance: If you have good health insurance, you might opt for lower PIP coverage. However, remember that PIP covers more than just medical expenses, including lost wages and household services.
  • Risk Tolerance: Consider your comfort level with risk and how much financial protection you want in case of an accident.
  • Budget: Higher PIP coverage comes with higher premiums. Balance your need for coverage with what you can afford.

While the minimum PIP coverage in Texas is $2,500, you may want to consider higher limits, such as $10,000 or more, to ensure you have adequate protection for medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs in the event of an accident.

What Is PIP Coverage?

PIP coverage, also known as “no-fault coverage,” means that regardless of who caused the accident, you are entitled to PIP benefits to help pay for medical and other expenses. PIP covers:

  • 100% of medical-related expenses, including ambulance services, hospital visits, surgical procedures, X-rays, dental services, bloodwork, nursing, rehabilitation services, and funeral costs.
  • 80% of your lost wages due to injuries from the accident.
  • Costs for essential services you regularly provide to your family or household if you are not an income producer.

Who Is Covered by PIP?

PIP coverage extends to:

  • You, the policyholder
  • Drivers listed on your auto insurance policy
  • Passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident
  • Members of your household as defined by your policy

Multiple PIP Claims

UM/UIM coverage limits apply individually to all covered persons. For example, if three people are in your car during a collision, each can make a PIP claim. Additionally, if you are a passenger in an accident, you can collect benefits from both your own PIP policy and the driver’s PIP policy, if applicable. However, you cannot double-dip if one policy covers all your expenses.

How Much MedPay Coverage Should You Get in Texas?

Medical Payments (Med-Pay) coverage is an optional add-on to your auto insurance policy that covers reasonable medical and funeral expenses resulting from an accident. Unlike Personal Injury Protection (PIP), insurance companies are not required to offer Med-Pay coverage.

Key Differences and Coverage

  • Coverage Period: Med-Pay often only covers expenses incurred within one year of the accident.
  • Reimbursement: It may only reimburse for health insurance deductibles and co-pays.
  • Exclusions: Med-Pay does not cover lost wages or essential services if the injured person is unemployed.

do you need an umbrella polciy

Umbrella Policies Coverage Beyond Auto Insurance Limits

An umbrella policy is a type of insurance designed to provide extra liability coverage beyond the limits of your standard policies, such as home, auto, or boat insurance. This additional layer of protection kicks in when the liability limits of your underlying policies are exhausted, offering broader coverage and higher limits.

Key Features of an Umbrella Policy:

  1. Extended Liability Coverage: Umbrella policies provide additional liability coverage that exceeds the limits of your existing policies. For example, if your auto insurance has a liability limit of $300,000 and you’re involved in an accident resulting in $500,000 in damages, your umbrella policy would cover the remaining $200,000.
  2. Broader Protection: These policies often cover claims that might not be included in your other insurance policies, such as libel, slander, and certain lawsuits.
  3. Affordable Premiums: Considering the high level of coverage they offer, umbrella policies are generally affordable. This cost-effectiveness makes them an attractive option for many people looking to protect their assets from significant liability claims.
  4. Peace of Mind: With an umbrella policy, you can feel more secure knowing that you have additional protection against large, potentially devastating financial losses.

Who Needs an Umbrella Policy?

Anyone with significant assets or potential exposure to large liability claims can benefit from an umbrella policy. This includes homeowners, landlords, business owners, and even individuals with substantial savings or investments. Essentially, if your assets exceed the liability limits of your primary insurance policies, an umbrella policy can help protect those assets.

So How Much Insurance Should You Have?

The best insurance portfolio covers you in case the worst should happen. Your liability coverage should be enough to cover you and your assets if you are sued after an accident. Auto liability coverage is a good start.

If you have assets to protect, getting an umbrella policy in place also makes sense. Beyond that, you should protect yourself against the rising number of uninsured and underinsured motorists in Texas by getting a UM/UIM policy with high limits. Finally, add PIP or MedPay coverage so you have quick access to coverage for medical payments that will cover the immediate expenses after an accident. While it takes some effort to set up the right insurance portfolio, the peace of mind is more than worth it. Think of insurance as a critical part of your financial safety net – without it, one unexpected setback could derail your stability and goals.

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Us.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, the last people you probably want to deal with are insurance agents – who definitely don’t have your best interests in mind. At Varghese Summersett, we handle all of that for you. We do all the legwork, hold liable parties accountable for their actions, and get you the compensation you deserve so you can pick up the pieces of your life.

We have helped countless accident victims in Fort Worth, Dallas and the surrounding areas. Call 817-203-2220 for a free consultation.

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Varghese Summersett

E-cigarettes have been around for decades, but the devices saw a rise in popularity among teenage clientele around 2015. 

Although you must be 21 or older to purchase E-cigarettes, minors continue to use them. This prompted Texas legislators to pass a new law in 2023 that regulates the advertisement of E-cigarettes to this age demographic in hopes that it will reduce the appeal and accessibility of these products to minors

In this article, we will discuss the Texas law that prohibits marketing E-cigarettes to minors, the punishment for violating the offense, and the intent behind the law. 

Texas Law Against Marketing E-Cigarettes to Minors

The Law Prohibiting Marketing E-Cigarettes To Minors In Texas

In 2023, Texas passed House Bill 4758, which makes it a Class B misdemeanor for businesses and individuals to market, advertise, or sell e-cigarette products to minors.

The new law – known as the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act – includes selling e-cigarette products with packaging that appeals to minors, such as photos of food, celebrities, or cartoon characters. 

Prohibited e-cigarette products is codified under Section 161.0876 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, which states that a person committees this offense if he or she markets, advertises, sells ,or causes to be sold an e-cigarettte product if the product’s container:

  1. depicts a cartoon-like fictional character that mimics a character primarily aimed at entertaining minors;
  2. imitates or mimics trademarks or trade dress of products that are or have been primarily marketed to minors;
  3. includes a symbol that is primarily used to market products to minors;
  4. includes an image of a celebrity; or
  5. includes an image that resembles a food product, including candy or juice.

Punishment for Prohibited E-Cig Products

Punishment for Prohibited E-Cigarette Products

Marketing, advertising or selling a prohibited e-cigarettes product is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of as much as $2000, or both. 

In order to ensure that retailers are not engaging in selling e-cigarettes to minors, Texas officials sometimes conduct compliance checks. A compliance check involves undercover operations where a minor will try to buy nicotine products to test whether sellers are following the law. 

Intent Behind E-Cig Marketing Law

Intent Behind the Passing of the E-Cigarette Marketing Law

There is no doubt that E-cigarettes are dangerous, containing nicotine, heavy metals, and cancer-causing materials. Lawmakers pushed for this law because they believe E-cigarettes are intentionally designed to attract minors. They are particularly concerned that young people are vulnerable to these advertisements, which can result in early dependence on these addictive products. The aim is to reduce the use of E-cigarettes among minors and safeguard their long-term health.

Nicotine Use Can Contribute to Poor Academics

Subsequent Consequences Of Marketing E-Cigarettes To Minors

Marketing and selling E-cigarettes to minors can encompass far more consequences than legal action taken against the seller. Some of these subsequent consequences can include: 

  • Regulatory Responses: Marketing E-cigarettes to minors can elicit stricter regulation on the sales of E-cigarettes as a whole. Specifically, the government may choose to ban the production of flavored products, limit channels of advertising, and control the locations of sales in an effort to deter minors from buying/using these products. 
  • Lasting Public Health Impact: Encouraging the use of nicotine products among minors can cause lasting damage to public health. This is because the full scope of health implications as a result of modern E-cigarettes remain unknown. Likely, the long-term use of these products will result in increased healthcare costs related to treating nicotine-related health illnesses. 
  • Negative Impact On Academic Performance: Nicotine use can impact cognitive function in minors, thus resulting in poor academic performance. Specifically, regular nicotine use can decrease attention span, impair learning, and cause memory issues. These negative cognitive effects can result in low academic performance. 
  • Gateway To Smoking: Promoting nicotine use among minors can desensitize minors to the negative impacts of nicotine use, ultimately normalizing the use of this product and potentially resulting in an increase in nicotine use. Additionally, this can give rise to the social acceptance of smoking, which can increase this action among this age demographic as well. 

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What To Do If You’re Accused Of Marketing E-Cigarettes To Minors in North Texas

If you have been accused of marketing E-cigarettes to minors in North Texas, it’s crucial to take immediate and strategic steps to protect your rights and record. Here’s what you need to do:

Do Not Speak to Authorities Without an Attorney

It’s imperative that you refrain from speaking to authorities or answering any questions without legal representation. Here’s why:

  • Right to Legal Counsel: You have the constitutional right to an attorney. Exercising this right ensures that your interests are protected from the very beginning of the investigation.
  • Avoid Self-Incrimination: Without proper legal advice, you may inadvertently say something that could be used against you. An attorney can guide you on what to say and what to avoid.
  • Legal Strategy: Consulting with an attorney before making any statements allows you to develop a strong defense strategy from the outset.

Call Varghese Summersett

When facing a criminal offense, having experienced legal representation is essential. Here’s why you should contact an experienced attorney at Varghese Summersett:

  • Expertise in Criminal Defense: Our team comprises seasoned criminal defense attorneys who have successfully handled a wide range of criminal cases in Texas. We understand the complexities of laws surrounding the marketing of E-cigarettes to minors.
  • Personalized Defense Strategy: Every case is unique, and we tailor our defense strategies to fit the specific circumstances of your case. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
  • Comprehensive Legal Support: From initial consultations to courtroom representation, we provide full-spectrum legal support. We will investigate the charges, gather evidence, and advocate fiercely on your behalf.
  • Proven Track Record: Our firm has a proven track record of defending clients against serious criminal charges. We bring our extensive experience and dedication to each case we handle.

Contact Us Today

If you are accused of marketing E-cigarettes to minors, don’t wait. Reach out to Varghese Summersett for expert legal assistance today. Our experienced attorneys are ready to defend you and help you navigate this challenging time. We handle cases in Fort Worth, Dallas, Southlake and the surrounding areas.

Call us at 817-203-2220 to schedule your consultation. Your defense starts here.

Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyers