How the Michael Morton Act Overhauls the Texas Criminal Discovery Process

May 17, 2013

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

Governor Perry signed the Michael Morton Act into law on May 16, 2013.  It’s intent is to broaden the amount and ease with which a criminal defendant is entitled to access information about a case.  The law goes into effect on January 1, 2014.

You can read the specific changes made to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 39.14 here.

“Open-File Policies”

Though the effects of new legislation are never known until the law is put into practice and courts have had a chance to wrestle with the issues — this new law mandates a de facto “open-file policy” for all District and County Attorney Offices across the state only a bit broader.

D.A.’s offices in Texas typically have their own individualized policies about how they share information with the accused.  Many counties such as Dallas and Tarrant have had long-standing open-file policies meaning the Defendant had access to practically anything they requested from the prosecutors with certain exceptions.  Collin County began to have it’s open-file policy in 2011.

Previous Open-File Policies Offered No Guarantees or Real Protections

Even with open-file policies, the state was/is never truly bound to share certain information under the lame duck version of 39.14 unless formally ordered to produce information by a Judge.  Prosecutors frequently request Defendant waive certain rights in exchange for information about the case.  For example, in exchange for a police-report a Defendant would have to waive the ability to complain to the court about certain unrelated types of information not turned over or about when information would be due to be turned over.  Waiving rights is often a part of pleading guilty — but is difficult for those asserting their right to trial.

Open-file policies generally give Defendant’s no assurances as to when information would be disclosed.  Understanding police and prosecutors are human too — they often learn new information the Friday before a Monday trial or even after the trial has started.  The new information might not be given to the defense in time for meaningful use.

What the Michael Morton Act Changes

Easier Application Process:  Previously a Defendant would have to petition the Court and show “good cause” in order to get a limited amount of information — and a police report actually wouldn’t have been one of the things a court would order to be given over under 39.14.  Now a Defendant only needs to make a timely request directly to the prosecutor.  The Defense no longer needs to apply to the Court to order disclosure and attempt to prove “good cause” — a maneuver which would typically engender resistance from prosecutors.

More Information:  The Michael Morton Act requires production of offense reports, recorded statements, witness statements, and police statements.  The act even appears to allow discovery of work product of prosecutors and their investigators that are not “otherwise privileged.”

Ease in Production:  The bill allows for electronic discovery and duplication which typically eases the process for everyone.

Post Conviction Discovery:  The bill imposes production of exculpatory or mitigating evidence to the Defense which is not a new requirement.  What is new is required production of exculpatory or mitigating evidence even after a person is convicted.  This would almost certainly assist a person in clearing their name even after being convicted.

What the Bill Means for Those Charged with Crimes

It depends on where the charges are being brought.  As discussed above, many counties already had “open-file policies” which went a large way to alleviating many of the problems 39.14 previously presented.  For counties previously with a closed-file policy this act presents a tremendous change.

The act alleviates the Defense from some of the leverage prosecutors had in they will no longer have to waive unrelated rights in exchange for basic information.

While the act re-codifies the State’s obligation to produce exculpatory or mitigating evidence (called Brady material), this area remains a struggle because Defense lawyers and prosecutors frequently disagree about what constitutes Brady material due to it’s subjective nature.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.


Why Police Do Illegal Searches

January 16, 2013

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

Police do illegal searches for one simple reason.  They think they’re dealing with a criminal in a classic struggle of good versus evil.

It is literally life imitating art.  We all grew up watching shows about good versus evil like the “Superfriends” huddling together to defeat “The Legion of Doom,” 

Image

or the Lone Ranger fighting injustice, or even shows like Perry Mason where even a wrongful accusation is so blatant as to be obvious injustice.

An illegal search is simply no different.  The police officer has convinced themselves based  on a mix of objective evidence and highly subjective criteria they have uncovered a criminal in the midst of committing a crime.  Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re not.

Terry vs. Ohio is the classic Supreme Court case which discusses the differences between officers using “hunches” or supposition instead of using concrete evidence.  It has long been recognized hunches, guesses or other manufactured probable cause go hand in hand with police profiling.

Psychological Studies Recognize People’s Views of Themselves Affects Their Behavior.

People tend to view themselves differently than they view others.  They tend to view themselves as objective, unbiased, and generally more positively.  Additionally, people tend to over-estimate how much we can learn about another during a brief encounter.  Practically, then, it is easy to see where a self-assured officer convinced he or she has uncovered a crime which only they alone can sense pushes, and pushes, and pushes a situation to the point where a search becomes illegal.

How It Works In Reality

A police officer who has pulled over a group of highly anxious teenagers in a beat-up car at 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning is simply more likely to suspect drug or alcohol involvement than if he were to pull over a mom in a minivan at 3:00 p.m. on a Wednesday.

In the former situation, experienced defense lawyers are naturally skeptical of a police report which tends to craftily bend, twist, or slant the officer’s observations which try to convert subjective beliefs into concrete facts justifying a search.

For example, it’s not uncommon to read police reports which claim a suspect “was anxious.”  Anxiety may be present for countless reasons in a suspect yet a police report will often continue, “in my training and experience it is common for drug dealers to be nervous when confronted by police.”  While this is probably true to some extent — its simply pure guesswork.

Other extreme examples I’ve come across include where an officer claimed to have observed the suspect’s heart beating through a t-shirt (which in the officers experience indicated guilt) and when Defendant stepped out of the vehicle — he did so to distance himself from drugs in his car which is a common tactic for drug users (based on the officer’s training and experience).

One last claim I am seeing more and more often is an officer claiming the ability to smell unburnt marijuana — often outside the vehicle or even in containers or baggies.  While police are specifically trained to detect the distinct odor of burnt marijuana — there is virtually no proof the ability to detect unburnt marijuana is anything better than a guess.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should consult an attorney directly

 


What is Heasay?

December 21, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

http://www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

This might be the first time I’ve blogged about a specific rule of evidence, but it’s a fun topic for me and I get asked about it quite a lot by clients so let’s talk about hearsay!

Hearsay is inadmissible in court and is defined by the Texas Rule of Evidence 801(d) as, “A statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.”  Hearsay is rooted in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which allows an accused the right of cross-examination of witnesses against them.

Not very clear?  No worries.  They only devote 3 weeks to the topic in law school trying to get you to understand that one sentence.  I’ll keep it simple though hearsay and it’s effects on admissibility are extraordinarily complex and often turn on multiple interdependent factors.

In it’s plainest terms — anytime a witness is on the witness stand and quotes someone (or something) else it’s probably going to be hearsay.  We consider it unfair because it’s impossible to discredit information sources which aren’t even in the courtroom.

Here’s an example:  

Police officer #1 is on the stand and says, “Defendant’s kind-elderly neighbor told me Defendant was the drunkest she ever saw any person in her life that night.

This is textbook hearsay and here’s what makes this statement extraordinarily unfair to the accused on trial — it’s impossible to cross examine the elderly-neighbor about the statement in front of a judge or jury.  Here’s how that cross examination would go:

Q:  Officer, Do you know if elderly-neighbor might have mistaken Defendant for Defendant’s brother or Defendant’s roomate?

A:  I don’t know.  She told me it was the Defendant.

Q:  Do you know if elderly-neighbor has good vision?

A:  I don’t know.

Q:  Do you know if elderly-neighbor has a history of accusing Defendant of things he didn’t do?

A:  I don’t know.

Q:  Do you know if elderly-neighbor was on medication herself that night which could impair her ability to see things far away?

A:  I don’t know.

See how unfair this is?  Cross examining the officer is like trying to get answers out of sheet-rock.  We don’t know (1) if the officer has embellished the statement from the elderly-neighbor; and (2) we’re entitled to have the jury judge the elderly-neighbor in person while she’s questioned under oath.  The jury can judge her mannerisms, her hesitation in answering questions, and simply her plain answers the officer can’t provide.  It’s the cornerstone of a fair trial.

Here’s a bit more complicated example:

Police officer is on the witness stand and says, “I didn’t see Defendant actually commit the crime, but he did look down when he denied it to me.  I’m very familiar through my training and experience with the study from Nevada which says people who look down when they deny things are always guilty.

Here the officer is quoting a book or study and not an actual person.  Under the hearsay definition of “statement,” it makes no difference.  It would still be impossible for the defendant to show the jury the “Nevada” study (which doesn’t exist — as far as I know anyway) is nonsense.

Q:  Who wrote the “Nevada” study?

A:  I forgot.  But I know they’re really good and we use it in our academy.  I just know the guys who did the study were right.

Q:  How was the study done?

A:  I don’t remember.

Q:  Hasn’t the study been discredited by virtually every expert in the field?

A:  I don’t know.

Q:  Didn’t your own academy quit using it 10 years ago?

A:  I don’t know.  I just know the “Nevada” study says your client is guilty.

See — we have the same problem as the first example.  A study like this would have to be accepted as authoritative by an expert in the field and then could be relayed to the jury.  Another difference is the Defense would be allowed to discredit the study by showing other inconsistent language from the same study.

Not All Quotes of Outside Sources are Hearsay

To be hearsay, the quote must try to prove “the truth of the matter asserted.”  This is where hearsay discussions get really confusing and complicated.  Normally if hearsay tends to cast the accused in a negative light (the main goal of the vast majority of criminal prosecutions), there’s a good chance it is being used for “the truth of the matter asserted.”

Admissions are Not Hearsay

One key exception to the hearsay rule are known as “admissions by a party opponent.”  This is to say anything a criminal defendant tells someone is admissible in court (absent Miranda violations).  Also any party in a civil lawsuit can be directly quoted as well.

Hearsay Exceptions

Texas Rule of Evidence 803 lists 24 exceptions to the Hearsay rule.  This means even though something might be hearsay — it is still admissible because of it’s inherent trustworthiness.  Examples could be vital statistic records, statements made under high duress, or records kept in the normal course of business.

Common Uses/ Abuses of the Hearsay Rule

Hearsay is a really hot topic in family assault cases as well as child abuse cases.

In family assault cases, it’s very common where the alleged victim spouse does not wish to testify in court.  In these instances it was common for prosecutors to try and prove their case through police who arrived on the scene and took statements from the accuser.  The policy would try to use the “excited utterance” exception for the policy to essentially testify on behalf of the victim.  The U.S. Supreme Court largely put an end to this practice in 2004 in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004) because the Court concluded this practice (in many instances) violated the Sixth Amendment right to confront accusers.

In child abuse cases prosecutors and law enforcement’s main goal at trial is to corroborate a child victim’s outcry of sexual or physical abuse.  It’s common for prosecutors to call persons who the child may have told about the abuse in an attempt to repeat the story and infer the story must be true due to how the child made the outcry.

 Texas does have an outcry rule which allows at least one adult originally told the allegations by the child to repeat what would otherwise be hearsay.  It has been a re-occuring struggle for the defense in these cases, however, to prevent the host of trained child advocates whose main function is therapy and treatment of the abuse — from coming and testifying in a very honed and polished manner against the accused though they are often the 3rd, 4th, or 5th person told about the abuse from the child.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should consult an attorney directly.  Communications sent through this forum are not confidential nor subject to the attorney/ client privilege.


Plea Bargaining

November 26, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

A criminal plea negotiation is like any other contractual bargaining discussion meaning at the very least it requires two parties to say “yes” to a singular outcome — or there isn’t a deal.

Prosecutors ask Defendants to waive many constitutional rights — the most important of which to them is a the Defendant’s right to a time and resource consuming trial.  The defendant typically (though not always) seeks certainty, leniency, or to “cut their losses” in plea negotiations.

Plea negotiations based on these bargaining positions are unfortunately a one-sided affair by their very nature.  The Defendant plays with real money and prosecutors play with monopoly money.

An accused has actual money to pay to his/her lawyer, has a possible criminal record in the balance which can cost them a job or income in the future, and obviously an accused has to weigh the possibility of going to prison in some circumstances.

On the other hand prosecutors typically lose very little by losing at trial.  In theory they are public servants and don’t want to be seen losing cases… but very few cases are high-profile enough where the DA’s office or their junior assistants fear any real public backlash.  Some prosecutors, unfortunately, actually see trying weak or bad cases as being tough on crime in their bizarro world because those same prosecutors clearly presume the accused guilty despite the weak evidence in the case.

What does work in an accused favor in plea negotiations is the prosecutors are handling anywhere between 750 and 2,000 cases per court at a time.  This means they’re often seeking the path of least resistance and they can’t possibly try or contest every single case.  They have a choice of being reasonable during plea negotiations or having their docket grind to a halt if they insist on never giving an inch regardless of the reason.

There are other effective ways for an accused to plea bargain.  Many prosecutors are fair and have a decent sense of what is just when presented with proof the accused deserves leniency or another chance.  Many other prosecutors, in contrast to one’s I’ve described above, rightly fear losing in a public forum.  Similarly, the cases a prosecutor fears losing also tend to be more problematic and time consuming for them.  I noticed as a prosecutor when cases were thoroughly researched and investigated by a defense lawyer, trying the case would be frustrating at the very least.  Whether I’d admit or not, my guess is I was more inclined to offer a favorable deal to get of rid such “problem-child” cases.

What does this mean if you’re accused of a crime?  It means you should have a lawyer prepared to do battle on two fronts.  The lawyer should thoroughly investigate the legal and factual defenses of your case… and as a backup, be able to demonstrate to the prosecutor the accused is worthy of leniency even if found to be guilty.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any situation, you should contact an attorney directly.  Contacting the attorney through this forum does not create an attorney-client relationship and any such communications are not considered confidential nor privileged.


Collin County Pre-Trial Diversion Update (June, 2012)

June 22, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.thecollincountylawyer.com

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Collin County Pre-Trial Diversion program.  

As a refresher, the pre-trial diversion program is a less formal probation offered under Tex.Code.Crim.P. 42.12.  In Collin County, a first-time offender may be offered the opportunity to enter the pre-trial diversion program which would result in the underlying charges to be dismissed and eventually expunged.  

The Collin County District Attorney’s Office has made this alternative more available in the past few years for certain categories of cases.  Most qualifying cases tend to be misdemeanor theft and drug cases though those charges are not exclusively considered.  While the diversion program is available for felonies, selection of felony cases for diversion has been extremely selective. Diversion is not offered for DWI or DUI charges.

The program has endured some growing pains but remains an excellent avenue towards clearing one’s record.  The current process is that a defendant’s attorney must first apply and be approved by the District Attorney’s Office.  After receiving approval from the DA’s office, a candidate is sent paper-work to be reviewed with their attorney.  The candidate is then required to personally make an appointment with the probation officer who conducts a final interview and decides if the candidate is admitted into the pre-trial diversion program.

Generally speaking a candidate is usually accepted into the program at the interview — but not always (a point they make repeatedly).  The interviewer, however, can reject the application.  The criterion for such rejection can be rather vague but probably hinges on the needs of the person entering the program in relation to the current load of the program.

The program isn’t perfect, but from a practitioner’s standpoint seems to have a high success rate for those who are accepted and remains a useful option.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.


Big Wins for 2011

January 10, 2012

By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 562-7549

www.thecollincountylawyer.com

It’s been a fun year and it seems like I was in trial virtually every week — and it’s frequently the case to have more than one judge fighting over where I’m going to be that week!

It’s also hard to pare down some of my favorites from this year to fit into one blog, but here it goes in no particular order:

Victory 1

Charge: DWI

Facts: Defendant was taking someone home who was clearly impaired — likely from illegal drugs.  Defendant became combative with police  after lengthy interrogation and was eventually wrestled to the ground during the arrest.  Defendant was clearly agitated at the police station and was taped ‘flipping off’ the officer standing off camera.

Theory:  Defendant simply wasn’t intoxicated.  Defendant performed well on field sobriety tests and the officer was being manipulative and harassing.  Only when Defendant passed all of the tests did he become agitated with the officer who initiated hostilities.  While off camera, the officer was making faces at Defendant which is why Defendant flipped him off.

Outcome: Not Guilty verdict after approx. 15 minute jury deliberation.

Victory 2

Charge:  Aggravated Assault/ Unlawful Restraint

Facts:   Father and 18-year old son got into a fight at home.  During the fight, the two rolled over a glass table which severely lacerated the 18-year old’s leg.  At the hospital, the doctors called the police who separated the members of the family and interrogated father.  The father, having nothing to hide, told his story to the police and was arrested for aggravated assault and unlawful restraint.

Theory:  Although a ‘victim’ cannot legally consent to aggravated assault, the fighting in question was mutual in nature and the injury wasn’t severe enough to warrant felony charges.

Result:  Case dismissed.

Victory 3

Charge:  Possession of Marijuana

Facts:  Male and female students studying in a room on the side of the house.  Neighbor calls police for noise/ possible drug use complaint.  Officer comes to the side of the house, orders the male (resident of the house) to open the front door of the house… and while already inside of the house intimidates the male to allow a search of his room to which he consents.  Marijuana found in bag belonging to female (Client).

Theory:  The officer’s search of the house was an illegal warrantless search of a home because he ordered the resident to allow him inside.  Additionally, the female had an expectation of privacy in the bedroom and in her purse such that a search of her purse required her consent which was not attained.

Result:  Search found to be illegal and all evidence attained was suppressed.  Not Guilty verdict at trial for female.  Male’s case subsequently dismissed as well — with a gracious thank you from his lawyer!

Victory 4

Charge: DWI

Facts:  Officer arrested defendant after 911 caller notified police of erratic driving.  Client failed field sobriety tests according to officer and was arrested.

Theory:  Officer lied to client to manipulate him into taking field sobriety tests.  Also, the officer himself was unsure due to the length of his own deliberation.  It was an extremely cold night and client was clearly in physical discomfort while taking the field sobriety tests.  Officer admitted lie to the jury and also admitted it was a close case.

Result:  Not Guilty verdict.

Victory 5

Charge:  Aggravated Robbery with a Deadly Weapon

Facts:  Four residents of an apartment were robbed at gunpoint late in the night.  Three intruders knocked on the door and forced their way into the apartment.  The intruders tied up the residents in their separate rooms and rummaged through their belongings stealing cash and various other items.  Client’s fingerprints discovered in the apartment and client was identified in photo-lineup by at least one of the victims.  Client was the only person tried for the offense.

Theory:  The apartment may have been a drug house due to the excessive cash on hand and due to the fact they would expect visitors late in the evening.  The residents also were transient workers of a local restaurant that didn’t know one another very well.  Not all the residents were present in the apartment during the robbery and some didn’t cooperate with police.  Based on those facts, there could be a number of reason’s client’s fingerprints might be in the apartment unbeknownst to the victims testifying.  Additionally, the fingerprints were found on a small, portable cell phone box which had clearly been handled by complete strangers prior to the time they were purchased by the victim.  During trial it was revealed the police agency did not know and was indifferent to recent federal guidelines on conducting photo-lineups.  The identification by the witness revealed to be very shaky on cross-examination.

Result:  Not Guilty on 4 counts of Aggravated Robbery with Deadly Weapon

Victory 6

Charge:  DWI — breath test over 0.08

Facts:  Client pulled over for small traffic infraction.  Client was out with group of friends that had been drinking and was driving them home.  Officer administered field sobriety tests and made determination defendant was intoxicated.

Theory:  Client may have had test score over 0.08, however, the facts in his case from the time he last ate and drank, combined with his height and weight made it possible — if not likely — that his blood was actually below 0.08 at the time he was pulled over.

Result:  Not Guilty verdict

Victory 7

Charge:  Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

Facts:  Accuser made outcry of sexual abuse by her father when she was 3 or 4 years old.  Victim was 16 at the time of the outcry.  Accuser made specific detailed allegations about an incident where she alleges client sexually abused her in her bedroom.  Client had also been charged with a sex crime in the same time vicinity of the outcry.

Theory:  Defense showed the nature of the strained relationship between the accuser and her father.  Defense also showed how the accused’s mother — long since divorced from client — had systematically and thoroughly poisoned the accuser against the father.  Defense showed how through negligent investigation accuser learned the facts of the other sex case investigation.  Finally Defense called expert in memory and family psychology to explain to the jury that the memory of the abuse by the accuser was inconsistent with how children her age remember things.  Children that are 3 or 4 probably cannot recall things chronological order because at that age they probably haven’t learned the concept of time.  The expert also explained to the jury that the constant poisoning of the accuser and the accuser’s knowledge of the other investigation could explain or compound the false memory.

Result:  Not Guilty verdict on Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

Victory 8

Charge:  DWI — 0.19 breath test score

Facts:  Client followed by 911 caller to a gas station.  At the gas station, client exists and goes back into car.  Police arrive and conduct DWI investigation.  Defendant arrested and blows 0.19 at the police station.

Theory:  Client’s intoxication might not have been prior to the time of driving.  There was a long waiting period in between the driving and the police contact where client (unseen by 911 caller) may have been consuming alcohol.  Breath test score not admitted into evidence due to our objection based on law.

Result:  Not Guilty verdict

Victory 9

Charge:  DWI — 0.14 Blood Alcohol Concentration

Facts:  Client was at a wedding on a Saturday night.  While heading home, he had a single car accident.  Client was at the scene when emergency responders and police arrived.  Client admitted to driving vehicle and thought he was somewhere completely different than where he was.  Police conducted field sobriety tests then applied for a blood warrant.  Blood revealed a concentration of 0.14.

Theory:  Blood warrant affidavit was unreliable and therefore should be thrown out along with the blood result.  The other symptoms of confusion and/or intoxication were due to the car accident in question.

Result:  Blood evidence suppressed/ Not Guilty verdict at trial.

Victory 10

Charge: DWI — 0.18 Blood Alcohol Concentration

Facts:  Client was followed by 911 caller who observed car crash.  Police investigate crash and do field sobriety tests on client who has dazed memory, had nausea, no balance, and was sleepy.  Client takes breath test and scores 0.18 blood alcohol level.

Theory:  Breath test score thrown out because of improper procedure.  Evidence shown to jury that client suffered from concussions sustained when playing high school football. All symptoms of facts also consistent with concussions as well as intoxication.

Result:  Hung jury (I normally wouldn’t include this as a victory, but it was a really fun one!)

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  Past results are not promises or guarantees of future results.  For legal advice about any situation, you should contact an attorney directly.  Contacting the attorney through this forum does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Communications submitted through this forum are not confidential.


Prostitution Law in Texas

November 20, 2011

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

Texas Penal Code 43.02 governs prostitution and it states,

(a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly:

(1)  offers to engage, agrees to engage, or engages in sexual conduct for a fee; or

(2)  solicits another in a public place to engage with him in sexual conduct for hire.

(b)  An offense is established under Subsection (a)(1) whether the actor is to receive or pay a fee. An offense is established under Subsection (a)(2) whether the actor solicits a person to hire him or offers to hire the person solicited.

Prostitution is a class b misdemeanor unless the person has two or more previous convictions for prostitution in which case it is a class a misdemeanor.  It is a state jail felony if the person has been convicted three or more times.

Obviously the offense is considered the same by law whether the ‘actor’ is the person purchasing or selling the sexual conduct.  Despite prostitution being known as “the worlds oldest profession,” a prostitution charge is highly stigmatizing and should be taken extremely seriously.  These prosecutions often come from sting operations which can often border on entrapment.  An experienced attorney would be able to review every angle of the case and plan an aggressive defense.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  Contacting the author through this forum does not constitute an attorney-client communication.  Any communication through this forum is not considered privileged.