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Criminal Defense Archives

Sentencing and penalties for second-degree murder

Individuals charged with second degree murder in Texas are innocent until proven guilty, and have rights to trial by jury and assistance of counsel, among others. If the accused individual is found not guilty at trial, the action is concluded. If the individual is found guilty, the case proceeds to sentencing. The law establishes several factors that a judge must consider in sentencing individuals convicted of second-degree murder.

Asserting self-defense in a homicide case

Homicide charges are of course quite serious in Texas and around the country. When a claim of self-defense meets essential criteria, a defendant could have murder or manslaughter charges dropped or be acquitted at trial. The general definitions of self-defense must be satisfied in order for a person to potentially avoid a criminal conviction.

Federal sentencing law phrase ruled unconstitutionally vague

Texas residents are likely aware that parts of laws are sometimes struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court on constitutional grounds. Federal sentencing laws have been widely criticized as unfair and capricious by justice advocates and judges, and a passage in one such law was ruled unconstitutionally vague by the Supreme Court on June 26. The Armed Career Criminal Act was the law in question, and the passage the justices took issue with was a catchall phrase describing the prior offenses that would warrant the law's application.

Use of the insanity defense in criminal cases

High-profile murder trials with defendants who invokes insanity defenses may lead some Texas court watchers to believe that such a defense is a common occurrence in criminal cases. In actuality, a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity is asserted in only 1 percent of county court cases, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and when asserted, fails at a far greater rate than it succeeds.

Changes for juvenile offenders ahead in Texas

On May 26, the Texas House voted to raise the age at which teens would enter the adult legal system. The provision was part of a bill earlier passed by the Senate that proposes keeping juveniles convicted of minor offenses closer to home rather than in faraway facilities.

The constitutionality of freezing all assets before conviction

Some lawyers are expressing concern for Texas defendants who have had their assets, tainted and untainted, frozen by the government. The case of one defendant from Miami is one prominent example; she was the president of two healthcare companies before she was indicted on charges of defrauding the government in October 2012.

Study shows ease of implanting false memories of crime

Texas residents may be interested in a study conducted by researchers in Canada and the United Kingdom that found it was not difficult to give people false memories of committing a crime. The research could have implications for people accused of crimes who are interrogated by the police.

Genes can predispose teens to deliquency

Families in Texas may be interested in a recent study that associated anti-social behavior with three specific genes of DNA. The study discovered that teens possessing the usual variants of these three genes may be predisposed to various levels of anti-social behavior in relation to whether the child was raised in a caring or abusive environment. Researchers concluded that genes may alter the sensitivity an individual has to their surroundings, thereby affecting both genes and behavior.

2 Texas men accused of assaulting and mugging 19-year-old

Two Texas men, ages 21 and 19, were taken into police custody on June 23 after they were accused of luring a 19-year-old man to their apartment in order to steal his cash and cigarettes after beating him. According to the report, they were taken into custody around 9:15 p.m. in Roman Forest.

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R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
1545 Heights Blvd. Suite 600
Houston, TX 77008

Phone: 713-752-2728 | Fax: 713-650-1602
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