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Grand Jury Representation

Representation at the grand jury is often ignored by lawyers and if not ignored, it is often inadequate because many do not understand the importance of the client’s story or how to adequately discover and tell it. Instead, many lawyers blow it off as a waste of time or get caught up in the law to an extent that the grand jurors become confused or bored.

What is a grand jury and what is their role?

In Texas, before any person can be charged with a felony criminal offense, the case has to be presented to (12) people who have been given the authority to make the decision to charge criminally or not. After a case is presented, the grand jurors vote on whether or not to charge a person with a felony offense. A decision to charge a person with a felony requires (9) votes. If the grand jury chooses to charge or formally accuse a person of a felony, they do it in a document called an Indictment.

What are the potential benefits of proper representation at grand jury?

Recently, we were hired after our client was indicted for a serious felony accusation because the Grand Jury and the prosecution did not get the opportunity to see what I have seen and know the man they have charged. I believe, with proper representation at Grand Jury, the Grand Jurors would not have charged him with the felony because his story was compelling and I related to his situation. I have learned over the years that it is our stories that will change people.

Unfortunately, our “justice” system is not perfect and even if it is the best in the world, our families and friends deserve better. The word justice is defined by many with a meaning that suits them in the role they have found themselves. Lately, I have referred to it as doing the right thing. We have a statute that says that the prosecutor’s “primary duty is not to convict, but see that justice is done…” I think that duty should extend to all of us.

Politics, the desire to win, selfishness, along with other factors, many times get in the way of doing the right thing. And so, the definition of justice is often justifiably defined to fit our role in the “game” which is similar to the way many of us justify spending money on something we really do not need. The grand jury is potentially a place where external factors are less likely to get in the way of justice. The grand jury can act without fear of retaliation, judgment, damaging an ego, or losing votes.

The grand jury is often times the best place to get justice and potentially stop a criminal prosecution. There is less pressure and less stress on everyone involved and can be cost effective, especially since the pressure of an indictment and a potential felony conviction can often lead to a guilty plea and punishment in an effort to minimize the damage. The grand jury is a place that lawyers and prosecutors, can do the right thing without the political pressure that all too often has a way of justifying or defining “justice”.

The older I get, the more I realize that life experience has had the most impact on my ability to help others in my role as a lawyer. Through my work with the Trial Lawyer’s College and years of training in psychodrama, I realize the importance of our stories in our world. Life can be difficult and when we take the time to see each other’s life story, we can always relate to the emotions and feelings of others.

GRAND JURY RESULTS

2004- Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child- No-Billed
2005- Deadly Conduct- No-Billed
2005- Injury to a Child- No-Billed
2005- Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon- No-Billed
2006- DWI with Child under (15)- No-Billed
2007- Aggravated Assault- Indicted as Misdemeanor then acquitted by Jury
2010- Theft over $1,500.00- No-Billed
2012- Possession of Marijuana over 4 oz.- Indicted prematurely and Dismissed
2012- Assault Family Violence (Impeding Breath)- Indicted as Misdemeanor, reduced to Class C and expunged later
2012- Deadly Conduct- No-Billed
2013- Indecency with a Child- No-Billed
2013- Deadly Conduct- No-Billed
2013- Criminally Negligent Homicide- No-Billed
2013- Criminally Negligent Homicide- No-Billed
2013- Prescription Fraud- Indictment and Pretrial Diversion
2014- Credit Card Abuse- Indictment and Pretrial Diversion
2015- Possession of a Controlled Substance- No-Billed
2015- Illegal Dumping- Case Refused before Grand Jury
2015- Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon- No-Billed
2015- Assault Family Violence (Impeding Breath)- No-Billed
2016- Endangering a Child- No-Billed
2016- Aggravated Assault-Deadly Weapon No-Billed

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