Three states approve measures condoning death penalty

Three states approved state-wide measures in support of capital punishment last Tuesday, November 8. In traditionally liberal California, voters opposed a measure to ban the death penalty and passed a proposal seeking to speed up court proceedings for capital punishment cases. In comparison, voters in conservative Oklahoma passed a measure seeking to secure the use of the death penalty by a two-to-one margin, also allowing lawmakers to assign any method of execution not specifically banned in the United States constitution. Nevada, for its part, voted to reject a ban on the death penalty.

Executions have been put on hold recently in several states because of legal battles surrounding the death penalty, and because of the shortage of drugs for lethal injection. California has the largest number of inmates awaiting execution – around 750 inmates are on death row – but the state performed its last execution in 2006.

If you are charged with a criminal offense in Dallas or another area of Texas, hire the legal representation of our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter by calling our offices today at (214) 845-7007.

Austin man charged with indecent exposure

Forty-one-year-old Austin, Texas resident Peter Phelan was charged with indecent exposure on Saturday, October 15. Police caught him masturbating on the second floor of Austin’s Public Library, which is located at 800 Guadalupe Street.

Members of the Austin Police Department responded to calls of concern from Austin Public Library patrons, who said there was a “suspicious person” lurking in the building. When police arrived, they caught Phelan with a newspaper spread over his lap. He had a computer screen in front of him showing a male and a female having sexual intercourse. Phelan was arrested and is now behind bars with a $3,500 bond attached to him as a result of the action.

Call 214-845-7007 if you are charged with a criminal offense in Dallas or another area of Texas. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter can provide you with a strong and comprehensive legal defense strategy to lessen the blow of a conviction to your future.

Barrio Azteca gang member gets 20 years in jail

32-year-old El Paso, Texas resident and Barrio Azteca gang member Luis Humberto Hernandez Celis was sentenced to 20 years in prison for racketeering, conspiracy, and drug trafficking offenses.

According to federal officials, the Barrio Azteca gang started operating in the late 1980’s as a prison gang and later became a transnational criminal organization based in West Texas and Mexico. The gang has a militaristic command structure that includes “captains,” “lieutenants,” “sergeants,” and “soldiers” who perform criminal activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, intimidation, threats of violence, and murder. Hernandez Celis said the gang members charge a “street tax” or “cuota” on businesses and criminals who conduct business on their turf.

Money collected is deposited into prison commissary accounts of gang members and used to pay for defense lawyers or is reinvested into the organization to buy drugs, guns, and ammunition.

A criminal conviction can lead to jail time, fines, probation, and other penalties. To increase the chances of having your criminal charges dropped, seek the legal services of the attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas by calling our offices at (214) 845-7007.

Human rights advocate to spend five years in jail

Dallas, Texas activist Dominique Alexander, who founded the Next Generation Action Network, was released from prison on Wednesday, September 21 after receiving a sentence of five years in jail on Tuesday, September 13. Alexander pleaded guilty to a charge of serious bodily injury to a child in 2011. The Next Generation Action Network is a nonprofit organization that advocates equality for all races, religions, and nationalities.

District Judge Gracie Lewis subtracted more than three years from his sentence, using the time Alexander served on probation as a factor in the sentence, to which defense attorney Debbie Sanchez said, “I’ve never seen that happen, ever.” Alexander was one of the organizers of a downtown rally that was interrupted when gunman Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire on the police detail assigned to keep the peace at the protest on July 7, 2016, resulting in the death of four Dallas police officers and a public transit officer.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter provide legal services for our clients in Dallas and handle criminal defense cases such as assault and gun possession. If you have questions regarding your legal issues, please contact our firm by calling (214) 845-7007.

Number of death penalty executions lulls in Texas

It has been more than five months since Texas executed someone on death row: the longest time that executions were postponed since 2008.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which recently issued four stays in four weeks, has stopped six executions. Though executions and the ordering of death sentences have continuously dwindled in recent years, it’s “unusual” for Texas to experience such a long gap in executions, said Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Elsa Alcala. Alcala is a staunch opponent of the death penalty and how it is applied in Texas, noting changed witness testimony and junk science as serious issues.

According to at least two judges on the state’s highest criminal court, it was through the effort of defense attorneys that executions are on the decline recently. With this development, those who oppose the death penalty are optimistic that courts are thinking twice before ordering executions.

If you are accused of a crime, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter can help you achieve a reduced sentence. Contact us at (214) 845-7007 to see how we can handle your case.

Deputy constable in Harris County loses evidence

Around 150 criminal cases in the area of Houston, Texas have been forced to close after a deputy constable – whether accidentally or intentionally – destroyed over 20,000 pieces of evidence while emptying out a cluttered property room, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced during a news conference on Friday, September 2. According to Anderson, another thousand cases – at least one involving aggravated assault – are undergoing review at the moment.

As such, prosecutors are now working with defense lawyers for a retrial of a defendant who has been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to drug charges, The Houston Chronicle further reported.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said the deputy cleaned the property room of the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office in January 2016 but failed to illustrate how so many files could have been destroyed, as some were stored digitally. Herman said he did not learn of this event until March, after which he quickly notified the district attorney’s office of the development.

Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, who provide legal services for our clients in Dallas or other areas in Houston, handle criminal defense cases such as domestic abuse, theft and robbery, sex crimes, homicide/murder, and assault, among others. Call us today at (214) 845-7007 to learn how we can help you with your case.

Winston-Salem teen facing 32 charges

Eighteen-year-old Winston-Salem, North Carolina resident Alexander Manuel Rios is facing a total of 32 charges, including 12 counts of felony breaking and entering into a motor vehicle.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office reported that the first of the incidents occurred in the Midway area on July 3 and 4, 2016. They were able to identify Rios as the suspect through eyewitness accounts, physical evidence, and recovery of some stolen property. After the crimes, the police had a difficult time locating and apprehending Rios. He was eventually arrested in mid-August and is currently detained at the Davidson County Detention Center. Rios was assigned a $300,000 secured bond and is expected in the Lexington District Court on Monday, September 19.

For legal defense and advice about your criminal case, do not hesitate to seek the assistance of the attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas, Texas. Discuss your case with us by calling our offices today at 214-845-7007.

Jeff Wood’s execution stayed by Texas criminal appeals court

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution of Jeff Wood, who was sentenced to death in relation to the shooting death of a convenience store clerk during a robbery in 2006.

Jared Tyler, Wood’s legal counsel, welcomed the development, noting, “The court did the right thing by staying Mr. Wood’s execution. Justice is not served by executing Mr. Wood, who was outside the building when it happened and who had no criminal history. These former jurors have said they feel the government’s presentation to them of a discredited psychiatrist who predicted with certainty, and without evaluating Mr. Wood, that Mr. Wood would be criminally violent in the future was unfair.” Petitioners are asking Texas Governor Greg Abbott to grant Wood clemency.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter provide legal services for clients in Dallas and other areas in Texas, and handle criminal defense cases such as theft and robbery. Call our offices today at 214-845-7007 to learn more about your legal options.

Montgomery County court to start hearings on mental health cases

Montgomery County is going to start sending non-violent criminal offenders with serious mental illnesses to get treatment from mental health facilities instead of keeping them incarcerated.

This move seeks to address the unfortunate reality that one in five people in Texas jails are mentally ill in some way, according to a 2006 Bureau of Justice Statistics report. The report also found that mentally ill people who are incarcerated are much more likely to be repeat offenders. Those individuals, who are usually homeless and are prone to substance addiction, are nicknamed “frequent fliers.”

The Fort Bend County Public Defender’s Office started focusing on mental health in 2010, adding specialized attorneys, social workers, and case managers to their office. The county also has felony and misdemeanor mental health courts. Mental health courts began in Florida in 1997 and operate like drug courts, which mainly want to provide treatment rather than punishment.

Your professional and personal reputation may be tarnished if you are convicted of a criminal offense. To get the chance of having your criminal charges reduced or dropped altogether, contact the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas. Call our offices at (214) 845-7007 to discuss your legal options.

Texas court lifts Twin Peaks biker case gag order

On Wednesday, June 15, The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out a gag order on bikers charged with organized criminal activity in relation to the fatal Twin Peaks parking lot shootout. The shooting in question happened in Waco on May 17, 2015.

McLennan County State District Judge Matt Johnson said the order was meant to safeguard the case, but biker Matthew Clendennen and his legal counsel, Clint Broden, said the order was put in place by prosecutors who wanted to prevent the bikers from telling their side of the story.

If you need personalized and aggressive criminal defense representation, get in touch with the team at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter. You need a criminal defense attorney who will fight on your behalf and defend your legal interests, and our team will do just that. Do not hesitate to ask for legal advice or assistance by calling our Dallas, Texas offices at 214-845-7007.

Confidential Free Case Evaluation