Friday, February 01, 2008

Criminal Defense (Offense) in Texas?

I had to add this guy (Mr. Warren L. Clarke aka Hack Lawyer) to my blogroll when I saw the following re Texas CCA. In my years following the CCA I've never seen so many remands in a year, let alone a day. What's going on? Bringing justice to Texas was never very easy -- go on vacation, leave on probation.

The Court of Criminal Appeals handed down no published opinions today. However, it remanded four applications for writ of habeas corpus to the trial court for further fact-finding. They caught my eye because each dealt with allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel and are worth looking at.

In the first application, the defendant claimed ineffective assistance because her trial counsel failed to present evidence of her mental condition at the time of the offense. She further claimed that there was ample evidence available to establish that she was taking medication for schizopohrenia and bipolar disorder. The Court, finding that the records existed and clearly would have been relevant to support her credibility and undermine the State’s theory which portrayed her as a calm, calculating, clear-headed murderer, held that the claim alleged facts sufficient to provide her with relief. The Court also noted that trial counsel’s affidavit did in fact concede that he did not present any mental health evidence but failed to explain why he did not present any of this evidence after the defendant testified in her own behalf. The Court made clear that trial counsel be provided with another opportunity to explain his failure to present the evidence.

1 comment:

wlc said...

Thanks for the props and the post re the CCA. There's a slew of IAC claims being remanded to the trial courts and it's a pattern that has been established over the past year. What's to explain the Court's recent attention to detail and due process?