Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

Hempstead Texas Juvenile Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Jim Sullivan Can Help

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Attorney Jim Sullivan

Hempstead / Waller County Juvenile Sex Offense Defense Lawyer Jim Sullivan is Board Certified in Juvenile Law.  He is a recognized expert in Juvenile Law and has been defending juveniles and adults since 1994. Among the more than 83,000 active lawyers in Texas, there are only 38 lawyers Board Certified in Juvenile Law in private practice.

As parents, we know that children are naturally curious about their sexuality.  In these modern times, children are reaching the onset of puberty at a younger and younger age (girls as young as nine and boys as young as ten).  Their curiosity leads to natural experimentation.  Unfortunately, such experimentation sometimes conflicts with state laws, and children as young as ten can be arrested and charged with serious felony offenses such as aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual assault or indecency with a child.
Juvenile sex crimes, of course, can stem from other reasons.  Children can be influenced to act out when they have been exposed to pornography or live sex.  They will mimic the sexual behavior they have seen.  And, of course, children who have been sexually abused will act out on those behaviors–sometimes years later.  In such cases, it is very common that the child was abused at a young age by an older cousin, a babysitter, a coach or other such person close to the child.  This prior abuse does not excuse the child’s actions, but it is definitely mitigating.  Without counseling and intervention, the child is likely to re-offend.  If the child later re-offends as an adult, he could face a life sentence in prison.
DIGNITY, EMPATHY AND COMPASSION
Hempstead, Texas Juvenile Sex Crime Attorney Jim Sullivan can help you and your child get through this difficult ordeal with dignity, empathy and compassion.  He is sensitive to the emotional and psychological needs of children.  He has  represented a number of juvenile boys and girls who themselves had been victimized at a young age and had not reported it to their parents or to the authorities.  In fact, it was only through his sensitive, patient and thought-provoking conversation with the child that he was able to draw out the prior abuse.
Attorney Jim Sullivan will work hard to persuade the State to non-suit (dismiss) your child’s case, to obtain an acquittal (not guilty) at trial or as a last result to negotiate a reasonable plea bargain.  From the outset, he will work to have your child released from the detention center and then work toward keeping him or her at home and from having to register as a sex offender.  In fact, not one of his juvenile clients has had to register as a sex offender.  Such registration can be devastating to a child’s development and to his or her future.  To view a current list of juvenile and adult sex offenders, go here.
Texas Juvenile Sex Crime Attorney Jim Sullivan is an expert in the field of juvenile law and has successfully represented juveniles charged with sex offenses and other felony and misdemeanor offenses in Houston and throughout southeast Texas (see Case Results below).  He has a proven track record in juvenile sex offense representation and is truly concerned about the many juveniles who do not have competent legal representation.  Juvenile Law is different than criminal law (see Juvenile Crime). Note: Among the more than 83,000 active lawyers in Texas, there are only 38 lawyers Board Certified in Juvenile Law in private practice.  The other 27 such lawyers work for the government.
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF JUVENILE SEX OFFENSES:
DISCRETIONARY TRANSFER TO CRIMINAL COURT
An aggravated sexual assault of a child offense is a first degree felony.  If the juvenile is 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense, the State can seek to have the juvenile transferred to criminal court and stand trial as an adult.  In adult court, the range of punishment is from five years to life in prison.Indecency with a child can be either a second or third degree felony.  If the juvenile is 15 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense, the State can seek to have the juvenile transferred to criminal court and stand trial as an adult.  In adult court, the range of punishment is from 2 years to 10 or 20 years in prison.
DETERMINATE SENTENCE
Instead of a transfer to criminal court, the State can also seek a determinate sentence for a juvenile aged 10 or older for a juvenile felony sex offense.  If this were to happen, a juvenile could never seal (expunge) his juvenile record.  He could be placed on probation for up to 10 years with automatic transfer to adult probation at age 18.  He could also be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for up to 40 years for a first degree felony, up to 20 years for a second degree felony and up to 10 years for a third degree felony.  If sent to TJJD and to be eligible for parole, he first has to stay a minimum of 3 calendar years for a first degree felony, 2 calendar years for a second degree felony and 1 calendar year for a third degree felony.  If the juvenile does not parole out by age 19, then he is automatically transferred to adult prison, although depending on his behavior he could be transferred as early as age 16.
INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
Instead of the severe consequences of a transfer to adult court or determinate sentence, the State can proceed with an indeterminate sentence.  In such a case, the juvenile could petition the court to seal his record at age 19 so long as he is not currently having to register as a sex offender.  Also, the juvenile could receive probation until age 18.  As a condition of probation, he could be placed outside his home for sex offender counseling and treatment.  He could also be sent to TJJD where he could be held until age 19.  In most of his negotiated cases, Jim Sullivan has been able to reach an agreement with the State wherein his client receives an indeterminate sentence probation at home for two years, which is the minimum statutory required length of probation for a felony sex offense.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
The Judge can also order the juvenile to register as a sex offender until age 28.  The defense attorney may be able to persuade the State to agree to defer registration, i.e. the Judge will make the decision regarding sex offender registration after the juvenile completes his or her sex offender counseling.  Jim Sullivan has been successful in his cases to either defer the registration decision or to not require the juvenile to register at all.
DE-REGISTRATION – EXCUSING SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
Jim Sullivan has also been successful in persuading juvenile courts to allow juveniles to be excused from further sex offender registration that would otherwise be required by Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.  A juvenile ordered to register as a sex offender only has two chances to request de-registration as a sex offender.  Therefore, it is important to retain an attorney experienced in the process.  Ideally, it is better to request de-registration prior to the juvenile’s 18th birthday when he would otherwise have to begin registering as an adult until age 28.  However, the juvenile can still request de-registration even after having reached age 18 or older.  If you or your child were ordered to register as a sex offender by a juvenile court and want to be excused from further registration or if your child is charged with a sex offense, then call Jim Sullivan at 281-546-6428.  He can help you and he wants to hear from you.
CASE RESULTS - JUVENILE SEX OFFENSES
The case histories below represent a few of the many juveniles charged with sex offenses that Jim Sullivan has represented.  All cases were in Harris county (Houston), except where noted.  Past results are not a guarantee of a similar result in any future case.
NOTES: 1° = 1st Degree Felony, 2° = 2nd Degree Felony, 3° = 3rd Degree Felony

AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)

Won a dismissal for a 15 year old boy accused of having consensual sex with a 12 year old girl in her bedroom while two teenage friends allegedly listened in the adjoining room.  The boy could then petition to have his juvenile record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED)

SEXUAL ASSAULT (2° Felony)
Won a dismissal one month before trial for a 16 year old boy accused of forcibly raping a 17 year old girl at her home.  Prior to the dismissal, the State sought a determinate sentence which could have resulted in incarceration for up to 20 years and could have required the boy to register as a sex offender until the age of 28.  The boy could then petition to have his juvenile record sealed immediately.

RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED) after Case was set for a Jury Trial
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Won a dismissal for a 13 year old boy accused of fondling a 12 year old girl against her will at school.  Prior to the dismissal, the State offered a year of probation at home, however the boy would have had to wait until he was 21 in order to seal his record.  The boy could then petition to have his record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED)
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor assault for a 16 year old boy charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child involving his six year old half sister. On the day of trial, Sullivan persuaded the State to  reduce the charges from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony case to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault and to allow his client to receive one year probation on a misdemeanor assault charge. Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT on the Jury Trial setting
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 14 year old boy charged with indecency with a child.  He and two other boys were accused of fondling a 13 year old girl at school against her will.  Prior to trial, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense indecent exposure and allowed his client to receive probation at home.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR INDECENT EXPOSURE after case was set for a Jury Trial
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 15 year old boy charged with indecency with a child.  He allegedly forced a six year girl who was visiting his family to fondle him in his bedroom.  In this case, the boy’s pastor gave a statement to police, alleging that the boy admitted that he allowed the girl to touch him.  The boy absolutely denied that and stated that the girl tried to touch him and he told her not to.  Sullivan arranged a polygraph examination of the boy and the boy passed.  The State still refused to dismiss the case. On the tenth jury trial setting close to his 18th birthday, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charge from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault and allowed his client to receive two months probation at home.  By the tenth trial setting, some two and one-half years after the case first started, the State ultimately reduced the case from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault.  His client  subsequently enrolled in college.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with probation at home after case was set for a Jury Trial
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 14 year old boy accused of fondling a 7 year old boy outside in their apartment complex.  On the day of trial, Jim Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a serious felony to a misdemeanor and to allow his client to receive one year probation at home.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR PUBLIC LEWDNESS
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
Secured a two year indeterminate probation at home with the father for a 12 year old boy who was caught in the act of molesting his six year old cousin.  During a series of interviews, the boy divulged that he had been raped by an 18 year old acquaintance who lived in the neighborhood.  The father filed charges against that adult.  Sullivan persuaded the State to allow his client to receive probation without sex offender registration.  He can have his record sealed at age 21.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITHOUT REGISTRATION
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
In Liberty county, secured a two year indeterminate probation with placement with an older sister  in Harris county for a 16 year old mentally challenged boy who was caught in the act of fondling a 5 year old boy in the neighborhood.  During a lengthy consultation with Sullivan at the detention center, the boy divulged that at age six he had been molested by a teenage cousin. Sullivan persuaded the State and the court to allow his client to receive probation without sex offender registration.  He can have his record sealed at age 21.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITHOUT REGISTRATION
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
In Montgomery county, secured a two year indeterminate probation with placement with the maternal grandmother in Chicago for a 12 year old boy caught fondling a 5 year old boy in the neighborhood. He initially persuaded the court to allow his client to stay at home with his parents and younger siblings, however his client later admitted to his therapist that he also had fondled a younger half-brother in his home during the same time period.  Sullivan then persuaded the court to allow his client to be placed with his grandmother and to receive out-patient counseling even though the probation department sought placement at a residential treatment center in central Texas.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITH GRANDMOTHER WITHOUT REGISTRATION

Liberty County Juvenile Sex Crime Defense Attorney Jim Sullivan Can Defend Your Child

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Attorney Jim Sullivan

Liberty County Juvenile Sex Offense Defense Lawyer Jim Sullivan is Board Certified in Juvenile Law.  He is a recognized expert in Juvenile Law and has been defending juveniles and adults since 1994. Among the more than 83,000 active lawyers in Texas, there are only 38 lawyers Board Certified in Juvenile Law in private practice.

As parents, we know that children are naturally curious about their sexuality.  In these modern times, children are reaching the onset of puberty at a younger and younger age (girls as young as nine and boys as young as ten).  Their curiosity leads to natural experimentation.  Unfortunately, such experimentation sometimes conflicts with state laws, and children as young as ten can be arrested and charged with serious felony offenses such as aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual assault or indecency with a child.
 
Juvenile sex crimes, of course, can stem from other reasons.  Children can be influenced to act out when they have been exposed to pornography or live sex.  They will mimic the sexual behavior they have seen.  And, of course, children who have been sexually abused will act out on those behaviors–sometimes years later.  In such cases, it is very common that the child was abused at a young age by an older cousin, a babysitter, a coach or other such person close to the child.  This prior abuse does not excuse the child’s actions, but it is definitely mitigating.  Without counseling and intervention, the child is likely to re-offend.  If the child later re-offends as an adult, he could face a life sentence in prison.
 
DIGNITY, EMPATHY AND COMPASSION
Liberty, Texas Juvenile Sex Crime Attorney Jim Sullivan can help you and your child get through this difficult ordeal with dignity, empathy and compassion.  He is sensitive to the emotional and psychological needs of children.  He has  represented a number of juvenile boys and girls who themselves had been victimized at a young age and had not reported it to their parents or to the authorities.  In fact, it was only through his sensitive, patient and thought-provoking conversation with the child that he was able to draw out the prior abuse.
 
Attorney Jim Sullivan will work hard to persuade the State to non-suit (dismiss) your child’s case, to obtain an acquittal (not guilty) at trial or as a last result to negotiate a reasonable plea bargain.  From the outset, he will work to have your child released from the detention center and then work toward keeping him or her at home and from having to register as a sex offender.  In fact, not one of his juvenile clients has had to register as a sex offender.  Such registration can be devastating to a child’s development and to his or her future.  To view a current list of juvenile and adult sex offenders, go here.
 
Texas Juvenile Sex Crime Attorney Jim Sullivan is an expert in the field of juvenile law and has successfully represented juveniles charged with sex offenses and other felony and misdemeanor offenses in Houston and throughout southeast Texas (see Case Results below).  He has a proven track record in juvenile sex offense representation and is truly concerned about the many juveniles who do not have competent legal representation.
 
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF JUVENILE SEX OFFENSES:
 
DISCRETIONARY TRANSFER TO CRIMINAL COURT
An aggravated sexual assault of a child offense is a first degree felony.  If the juvenile is 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense, the State can seek to have the juvenile transferred to criminal court and stand trial as an adult.  In adult court, the range of punishment is from five years to life in prison.Indecency with a child can be either a second or third degree felony.  If the juvenile is 15 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense, the State can seek to have the juvenile transferred to criminal court and stand trial as an adult.  In adult court, the range of punishment is from 2 years to 10 or 20 years in prison.
 
DETERMINATE SENTENCE
Instead of a transfer to criminal court, the State can also seek a determinate sentence for a juvenile aged 10 or older for a juvenile felony sex offense.  If this were to happen, a juvenile could never seal (expunge) his juvenile record.  He could be placed on probation for up to 10 years with automatic transfer to adult probation at age 18.  He could also be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for up to 40 years for a first degree felony, up to 20 years for a second degree felony and up to 10 years for a third degree felony.  If sent to TJJD and to be eligible for parole, he first has to stay a minimum of 3 calendar years for a first degree felony, 2 calendar years for a second degree felony and 1 calendar year for a third degree felony.  If the juvenile does not parole out by age 19, then he is automatically transferred to adult prison, although depending on his behavior he could be transferred as early as age 16.
 
INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
Instead of the severe consequences of a transfer to adult court or determinate sentence, the State can proceed with an indeterminate sentence.  In such a case, the juvenile could petition the court to seal his record at age 19 so long as he is not currently having to register as a sex offender.  Also, the juvenile could receive probation until age 18.  As a condition of probation, he could be placed outside his home for sex offender counseling and treatment.  He could also be sent to TJJD where he could be held until age 19.  In most of his negotiated cases, Jim Sullivan has been able to reach an agreement with the State wherein his client receives an indeterminate sentence probation at home for two years, which is the minimum statutory required length of probation for a felony sex offense.
 
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
The Judge can also order the juvenile to register as a sex offender until age 28.  The defense attorney may be able to persuade the State to agree to defer registration, i.e. the Judge will make the decision regarding sex offender registration after the juvenile completes his or her sex offender counseling.  Jim Sullivan has been successful in his cases to either defer the registration decision or to not require the juvenile to register at all.
 
DE-REGISTRATION – EXCUSING SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
Jim Sullivan has also been successful in persuading juvenile courts to allow juveniles to be excused from further sex offender registration that would otherwise be required by Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.  A juvenile ordered to register as a sex offender only has two chances to request de-registration as a sex offender.  Therefore, it is important to retain an attorney experienced in the process.  Ideally, it is better to request de-registration prior to the juvenile’s 18th birthday when he would otherwise have to begin registering as an adult until age 28.  However, the juvenile can still request de-registration even after having reached age 18 or older.  If you or your child were ordered to register as a sex offender by a juvenile court and want to be excused from further registration or if your child is charged with a sex offense, then call Jim Sullivan at 281-546-6428.  He can help you and he wants to hear from you.
 
CASE RESULTS - JUVENILE SEX OFFENSES
The case histories below represent a few of the many juveniles charged with sex offenses that Jim Sullivan has represented.  All cases were in Harris county (Houston), except where noted.  Past results are not a guarantee of a similar result in any future case.
NOTES: 1° = 1st Degree Felony, 2° = 2nd Degree Felony, 3° = 3rd Degree Felony

AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)

Won a dismissal for a 15 year old boy accused of having consensual sex with a 12 year old girl in her bedroom while two teenage friends allegedly listened in the adjoining room.  The boy could then petition to have his juvenile record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED)

SEXUAL ASSAULT (2° Felony)
Won a dismissal one month before trial for a 16 year old boy accused of forcibly raping a 17 year old girl at her home.  Prior to the dismissal, the State sought a determinate sentence which could have resulted in incarceration for up to 20 years and could have required the boy to register as a sex offender until the age of 28.  The boy could then petition to have his juvenile record sealed immediately.

RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED) after Case was set for a Jury Trial
 
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Won a dismissal for a 13 year old boy accused of fondling a 12 year old girl against her will at school.  Prior to the dismissal, the State offered a year of probation at home, however the boy would have had to wait until he was 21 in order to seal his record.  The boy could then petition to have his record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED)
 
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor assault for a 16 year old boy charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child involving his six year old half sister. On the day of trial, Sullivan persuaded the State to  reduce the charges from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony case to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault and to allow his client to receive one year probation on a misdemeanor assault charge. Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT on the Jury Trial setting
 
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 14 year old boy charged with indecency with a child.  He and two other boys were accused of fondling a 13 year old girl at school against her will.  Prior to trial, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense indecent exposure and allowed his client to receive probation at home.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR INDECENT EXPOSURE after case was set for a Jury Trial
 
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 15 year old boy charged with indecency with a child.  He allegedly forced a six year girl who was visiting his family to fondle him in his bedroom.  In this case, the boy’s pastor gave a statement to police, alleging that the boy admitted that he allowed the girl to touch him.  The boy absolutely denied that and stated that the girl tried to touch him and he told her not to.  Sullivan arranged a polygraph examination of the boy and the boy passed.  The State still refused to dismiss the case. On the tenth jury trial setting close to his 18th birthday, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charge from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault and allowed his client to receive two months probation at home.  By the tenth trial setting, some two and one-half years after the case first started, the State ultimately reduced the case from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault.  His client  subsequently enrolled in college.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with probation at home after case was set for a Jury Trial
 
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 14 year old boy accused of fondling a 7 year old boy outside in their apartment complex.  On the day of trial, Jim Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a serious felony to a misdemeanor and to allow his client to receive one year probation at home.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR PUBLIC LEWDNESS
 
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
Secured a two year indeterminate probation at home with the father for a 12 year old boy who was caught in the act of molesting his six year old cousin.  During a series of interviews, the boy divulged that he had been raped by an 18 year old acquaintance who lived in the neighborhood.  The father filed charges against that adult.  Sullivan persuaded the State to allow his client to receive probation without sex offender registration.  He can have his record sealed at age 21.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITHOUT REGISTRATION
 
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
In Liberty county, secured a two year indeterminate probation with placement with an older sister  in Harris county for a 16 year old mentally challenged boy who was caught in the act of fondling a 5 year old boy in the neighborhood.  During a lengthy consultation with Sullivan at the detention center, the boy divulged that at age six he had been molested by a teenage cousin. Sullivan persuaded the State and the court to allow his client to receive probation without sex offender registration.  He can have his record sealed at age 21.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITHOUT REGISTRATION
 
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
In Montgomery county, secured a two year indeterminate probation with placement with the maternal grandmother in Chicago for a 12 year old boy caught fondling a 5 year old boy in the neighborhood. He initially persuaded the court to allow his client to stay at home with his parents and younger siblings, however his client later admitted to his therapist that he also had fondled a younger half-brother in his home during the same time period.  Sullivan then persuaded the court to allow his client to be placed with his grandmother and to receive out-patient counseling even though the probation department sought placement at a residential treatment center in central Texas.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITH GRANDMOTHER WITHOUT REGISTRATION

Galveston Juvenile Sex Crime Defense Attorney Jim Sullivan Can Defend Your Child

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Attorney Jim Sullivan

Galveston County Juvenile Sex Offense Defense Lawyer Jim Sullivan is Board Certified in Juvenile Law.  He is a recognized expert in Juvenile Law and has been defending juveniles and adults since 1994. Among the more than 83,000 active lawyers in Texas, there are only 38 lawyers Board Certified in Juvenile Law in private practice.

As parents, we know that children are naturally curious about their sexuality.  In these modern times, children are reaching the onset of puberty at a younger and younger age (girls as young as nine and boys as young as ten).  Their curiosity leads to natural experimentation.  Unfortunately, such experimentation sometimes conflicts with state laws, and children as young as ten can be arrested and charged with serious felony offenses such as aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual assault or indecency with a child.
 
Juvenile sex crimes, of course, can stem from other reasons.  Children can be influenced to act out when they have been exposed to pornography or live sex.  They will mimic the sexual behavior they have seen.  And, of course, children who have been sexually abused will act out on those behaviors–sometimes years later.  In such cases, it is very common that the child was abused at a young age by an older cousin, a babysitter, a coach or other such person close to the child.  This prior abuse does not excuse the child’s actions, but it is definitely mitigating.  Without counseling and intervention, the child is likely to re-offend.  If the child later re-offends as an adult, he could face a life sentence in prison.
 
DIGNITY, EMPATHY AND COMPASSION
Galveston Juvenile Sex Crime Attorney Jim Sullivan can help you and your child get through this difficult ordeal with dignity, empathy and compassion.  He is sensitive to the emotional and psychological needs of children.  He has  represented a number of juvenile boys and girls who themselves had been victimized at a young age and had not reported it to their parents or to the authorities.  In fact, it was only through his sensitive, patient and thought-provoking conversation with the child that he was able to draw out the prior abuse.
 
Attorney Jim Sullivan will work hard to persuade the State to non-suit (dismiss) your child’s case, to obtain an acquittal (not guilty) at trial or as a last result to negotiate a reasonable plea bargain.  From the outset, he will work to have your child released from the detention center and then work toward keeping him or her at home and from having to register as a sex offender.  In fact, not one of his juvenile clients has had to register as a sex offender.  Such registration can be devastating to a child’s development and to his or her future.  To view a current list of juvenile and adult sex offenders, go here.
 
Texas Juvenile Sex Crime Attorney Jim Sullivan is an expert in the field of juvenile law and has successfully represented juveniles charged with sex offenses and other felony and misdemeanor offenses in Houston and throughout southeast Texas (see Case Results below).  He has a proven track record in juvenile sex offense representation and is truly concerned about the many juveniles who do not have competent legal representation.
 
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF JUVENILE SEX OFFENSES:
 
DISCRETIONARY TRANSFER TO CRIMINAL COURT
An aggravated sexual assault of a child offense is a first degree felony.  If the juvenile is 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense, the State can seek to have the juvenile transferred to criminal court and stand trial as an adult.  In adult court, the range of punishment is from five years to life in prison.Indecency with a child can be either a second or third degree felony.  If the juvenile is 15 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense, the State can seek to have the juvenile transferred to criminal court and stand trial as an adult.  In adult court, the range of punishment is from 2 years to 10 or 20 years in prison.
 
DETERMINATE SENTENCE
Instead of a transfer to criminal court, the State can also seek a determinate sentence for a juvenile aged 10 or older for a juvenile felony sex offense.  If this were to happen, a juvenile could never seal (expunge) his juvenile record.  He could be placed on probation for up to 10 years with automatic transfer to adult probation at age 18.  He could also be sent to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for up to 40 years for a first degree felony, up to 20 years for a second degree felony and up to 10 years for a third degree felony.  If sent to TJJD and to be eligible for parole, he first has to stay a minimum of 3 calendar years for a first degree felony, 2 calendar years for a second degree felony and 1 calendar year for a third degree felony.  If the juvenile does not parole out by age 19, then he is automatically transferred to adult prison, although depending on his behavior he could be transferred as early as age 16.
 
INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
Instead of the severe consequences of a transfer to adult court or determinate sentence, the State can proceed with an indeterminate sentence.  In such a case, the juvenile could petition the court to seal his record at age 19 so long as he is not currently having to register as a sex offender.  Also, the juvenile could receive probation until age 18.  As a condition of probation, he could be placed outside his home for sex offender counseling and treatment.  He could also be sent to TJJD where he could be held until age 19.  In most of his negotiated cases, Jim Sullivan has been able to reach an agreement with the State wherein his client receives an indeterminate sentence probation at home for two years, which is the minimum statutory required length of probation for a felony sex offense.
 
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
The Judge can also order the juvenile to register as a sex offender until age 28.  The defense attorney may be able to persuade the State to agree to defer registration, i.e. the Judge will make the decision regarding sex offender registration after the juvenile completes his or her sex offender counseling.  Jim Sullivan has been successful in his cases to either defer the registration decision or to not require the juvenile to register at all.
 
DE-REGISTRATION – EXCUSING SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
Jim Sullivan has also been successful in persuading juvenile courts to allow juveniles to be excused from further sex offender registration that would otherwise be required by Chapter 62 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.  A juvenile ordered to register as a sex offender only has two chances to request de-registration as a sex offender.  Therefore, it is important to retain an attorney experienced in the process.  Ideally, it is better to request de-registration prior to the juvenile’s 18th birthday when he would otherwise have to begin registering as an adult until age 28.  However, the juvenile can still request de-registration even after having reached age 18 or older.  If you or your child were ordered to register as a sex offender by a juvenile court and want to be excused from further registration or if your child is charged with a sex offense, then call Jim Sullivan at 281-546-6428.  He can help you and he wants to hear from you.
 
CASE RESULTS - JUVENILE SEX OFFENSES
The case histories below represent a few of the many juveniles charged with sex offenses that Jim Sullivan has represented.  All cases were in Harris county (Houston), except where noted.  Past results are not a guarantee of a similar result in any future case.
NOTES: 1° = 1st Degree Felony, 2° = 2nd Degree Felony, 3° = 3rd Degree Felony

AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)

Won a dismissal for a 15 year old boy accused of having consensual sex with a 12 year old girl in her bedroom while two teenage friends allegedly listened in the adjoining room.  The boy could then petition to have his juvenile record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED)

SEXUAL ASSAULT (2° Felony)
Won a dismissal one month before trial for a 16 year old boy accused of forcibly raping a 17 year old girl at her home.  Prior to the dismissal, the State sought a determinate sentence which could have resulted in incarceration for up to 20 years and could have required the boy to register as a sex offender until the age of 28.  The boy could then petition to have his juvenile record sealed immediately.

RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED) after Case was set for a Jury Trial
 
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Won a dismissal for a 13 year old boy accused of fondling a 12 year old girl against her will at school.  Prior to the dismissal, the State offered a year of probation at home, however the boy would have had to wait until he was 21 in order to seal his record.  The boy could then petition to have his record sealed immediately.
RESULT: NON-SUITED (DISMISSED)
 
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor assault for a 16 year old boy charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child involving his six year old half sister. On the day of trial, Sullivan persuaded the State to  reduce the charges from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony case to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault and to allow his client to receive one year probation on a misdemeanor assault charge. Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT on the Jury Trial setting
 
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 14 year old boy charged with indecency with a child.  He and two other boys were accused of fondling a 13 year old girl at school against her will.  Prior to trial, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense indecent exposure and allowed his client to receive probation at home.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR INDECENT EXPOSURE after case was set for a Jury Trial
 
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 15 year old boy charged with indecency with a child.  He allegedly forced a six year girl who was visiting his family to fondle him in his bedroom.  In this case, the boy’s pastor gave a statement to police, alleging that the boy admitted that he allowed the girl to touch him.  The boy absolutely denied that and stated that the girl tried to touch him and he told her not to.  Sullivan arranged a polygraph examination of the boy and the boy passed.  The State still refused to dismiss the case. On the tenth jury trial setting close to his 18th birthday, Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charge from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault and allowed his client to receive two months probation at home.  By the tenth trial setting, some two and one-half years after the case first started, the State ultimately reduced the case from a Determinate Sex Offense Felony to a misdemeanor non-sex offense assault.  His client  subsequently enrolled in college.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR ASSAULT with probation at home after case was set for a Jury Trial
 
INDECENCY WITH A CHILD (2° Felony)
Secured reduction to a misdemeanor for a 14 year old boy accused of fondling a 7 year old boy outside in their apartment complex.  On the day of trial, Jim Sullivan persuaded the State to reduce the charges from a serious felony to a misdemeanor and to allow his client to receive one year probation at home.  Two years after his probation is over, the child can petition the court to seal his record.
RESULT: REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR PUBLIC LEWDNESS
 
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
Secured a two year indeterminate probation at home with the father for a 12 year old boy who was caught in the act of molesting his six year old cousin.  During a series of interviews, the boy divulged that he had been raped by an 18 year old acquaintance who lived in the neighborhood.  The father filed charges against that adult.  Sullivan persuaded the State to allow his client to receive probation without sex offender registration.  He can have his record sealed at age 21.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITHOUT REGISTRATION
 
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
In Liberty county, secured a two year indeterminate probation with placement with an older sister  in Harris county for a 16 year old mentally challenged boy who was caught in the act of fondling a 5 year old boy in the neighborhood.  During a lengthy consultation with Sullivan at the detention center, the boy divulged that at age six he had been molested by a teenage cousin. Sullivan persuaded the State and the court to allow his client to receive probation without sex offender registration.  He can have his record sealed at age 21.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITHOUT REGISTRATION
 
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF A CHILD (1° Felony)
In Montgomery county, secured a two year indeterminate probation with placement with the maternal grandmother in Chicago for a 12 year old boy caught fondling a 5 year old boy in the neighborhood. He initially persuaded the court to allow his client to stay at home with his parents and younger siblings, however his client later admitted to his therapist that he also had fondled a younger half-brother in his home during the same time period.  Sullivan then persuaded the court to allow his client to be placed with his grandmother and to receive out-patient counseling even though the probation department sought placement at a residential treatment center in central Texas.
RESULT:  TWO YEAR INDETERMINATE PROBATION AT HOME WITH GRANDMOTHER WITHOUT REGISTRATION

Houston Criminal Attorney James Sullivan Defends Clients from Rogue Prosecutors

Monday, February 27th, 2012

013Houston Misdemeanor Lawyers Jim Sullivan and Associates represent clients accused in criminal court throughout the State of Texas, including in Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Waller, Montgomery, Liberty and Chambers County.  They have stood up to prosecutors with questionable ethics and secured acquittals from juries, no bills from grand juries and even dismissals from the prosecutors.  If you want dedicated Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys to represent you, call Jim Sullivan and Associates right now at 281-546-6428.

In the Houston Chronicle today, Daniel Medwed, a law professor at the University of Utah who teaches and writes about wrongful convictions, put the spotlight on rogue prosecutors in the State of Texas.  Who are these rogue prosecutors?  They are prosecutors who intentionally and knowingly withhold and refuse to disclose evidence that exonerates an accused.  Rather than acknowledge that the wrong person was initially accused and dismiss the case, they continue to prosecute an innocent person and thus allow the responsible party to go free.
In the case of the wrongly accused Michael Morton (see below), it is possible that Debra Masters Baker may not have been killed by Mark Norwood had the State allegedly not pursued a conviction against a person that evidence indicated was innocent and that the State withheld from the defense.  The prosecutor in that case is now a state district judge and is being investigated by a “court of inquiry” by a Fort Worth judge appointed by the Texas Supreme Court.
When prosecutors behave badly

By Daniel S. Medwed
When most of us break the law, we pay the price. Submit your income tax return late? You’re on the hook for penalties and interest. Go too fast rushing to pick up your daughter from school? Wham, here comes a speeding ticket. And if you get caught committing a crime? Well, chances are good that you will be charged and eventually convicted.
But what about lawbreaking by America’s prosecutors, the officials in our country entrusted with the power to charge people with crimes and to litigate those matters in court? What happens when they violate the Constitution and refuse to disclose evidence that exonerates an accused? Very little. Even if their misdeeds are uncovered, they seldom suffer personally. Disciplinary sanctions are rare, let alone criminal penalties.
Texas has a sad history of prosecutors suppressing evidence before trial that supports a criminal defendant’s innocence. From 2007 to 2009, no fewer than six wrongful convictions were overturned in Dallas County alone because previous prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense that they were constitutionally obligated to disclose. Take the case of James Curtis Giles, a man convicted of a horrific 1982 North Dallas rape.
Before the trial started, Dallas prosecutors had information pointing to another man— James Earl Giles— as the culprit but neglected to turn over that material to the defense.
James Curtis Giles spent a decade in prison and another 14 years on parole as a registered sex offender before DNA testing exonerated him. Fortunately, current Dallas County prosecutor Craig Watkins has made rectifying wrongful convictions a priority in his administration.
But a key question remains: When individual prosecutors break the law and hide evidence that signals a defendant’s innocence, what price should they pay?
Former Williamson County prosecutor (now state district judge) Ken Anderson is about to learn the answer to that question.
A Bexar County judge asked the Texas Supreme Court to convene a novel “court of inquiry” to explore whether Anderson violated any criminal laws and ethics rules in prosecuting Michael Morton for murder 25 years ago.  Last week, the Texas Supreme Court accommodated that request by appointing a Fort Worth judge to handle the inquiry.
In 1987, Morton was convicted of killing his wife, Christine, in their north Austin house. It appears as though Anderson may have concealed police reports and other evidence pointing to Morton’s innocence — including a report indicating that Morton’s 3-year-old son saw another man attack his mother — in an effort to secure a conviction at trial.
Indeed, last year DNA testing of biological evidence from the crime scene linked another man, Mark Norwood, to Christine Morton’s murder.
Had Anderson come forward with the exculpatory evidence in 1987, Michael Morton most likely would not have spent time in prison and Debra Masters Baker may have avoided death.  Norwood has been tied to the 1988 slaying of Baker.
The eyes of the nation are on the Texas criminal justice system, once again, but this time for positive reasons. Let’s hope the unique court of inquiry becomes a paradigm for how rogue prosecutors should be forced to account for their behavior in a public forum.
Let’s also hope that justice prevails, including the possibility — if the evidence supports it— of some form of punishment against Anderson.
It would be a small price to pay, after all, if it helps stop future prosecutors from acting above the law.
Medwed is a professor of law at the University of Utah who teaches and writes about wrongful convictions.

LIBERTY COUNTY TEXAS CRIMINAL ATTORNEY JAMES SULLIVAN FIGHTS FOR HIS CLIENTS

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Liberty County Texas Criminal Defense

Channelview, Texas Criminal Lawyers

James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced Liberty County Criminal Defense Attorney. For over 20 years, Sullivan has successfully fought the government in Jury Trials on behalf of clients in criminal and juvenile courts.

James Sullivan attended the Trial Lawyers College founded by Legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

The National Trial LawyersProven Results

James Sullivan gets results (see Case Results).  Over the past 20 years, Sullivan has defended more than 3,000 people charged with every kind of criminal and juvenile case, including murder, aggravated robbery, drug cases, sex offenses, domestic assault and DWI.

Philosophy

James Sullivan practices criminal law with a simple philosophy.  If a client says he is not guilty, and if the prosecutor will not dismiss the charge, then Sullivan advises his client that they should fight the case at a jury trial.  Unlike many other attorneys, Sullivan does not try to convince an innocent person to plead guilty.  Instead, Sullivan fights for his clients’ freedom and reputation (see Trial Case Results).

Reputation

James Sullivan has a good reputation in the legal community.  Sullivan is humbled by fine lawyers who endorse him on AVVO. He is also very grateful for clients who write testimonials on his behalf. Most of his business comes from referrals from past clients and other lawyers, although it is not necessary to have a referral for him to defend you.  Anyone can call Sullivan to represent them.

Contact Attorney James Sullivan

If you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime or delinquency, call Houston criminal defense attorney James Sullivan to discuss your case.

Sullivan generally tries to answer his own phone so that you can speak to an attorney directly. He wants to hear from you and to help you. Call him right now. Don’t go to court alone. To schedule an appointment or to discuss your case, call (281) 546-6428 right now.

 

 

LEAGUE CITY / GALVESTON COUNTY TEXAS CRIMINAL LAWYER JAMES SULLIVAN CAN DEFEND YOU

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Galveston County Criminal Defense

League City, Texas Criminal LawyersThe National Trial Lawyers

Galveston Criminal Defense Attorneys James Sullivan and Associates have handled over 3,000 cases and have over 45 years experience defending adults and  juveniles in criminal and juvenile courts in Harris County and throughout southeast Texas.

James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced Galveston Criminal Lawyer. For over 20 years, Sullivan has successfully fought the government in Jury Trials on behalf of clients in criminal and juvenile courts.

James Sullivan attended the Trial Lawyers College founded by Legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

Proven Results

James Sullivan gets results (see Case Results).  Over the past 20 years, Sullivan has defended more than 3,000 people charged with every kind of criminal and juvenile case, including murder, aggravated robbery, drug cases, sex offenses, domestic assault and DWI.

Philosophy

James Sullivan practices criminal law with a simple philosophy.  If a client says he is not guilty, and if the prosecutor will not dismiss the charge, then Sullivan advises his client that they should fight the case at a jury trial.  Unlike many other attorneys, Sullivan does not try to convince an innocent person to plead guilty.  Instead, Sullivan fights for his clients’ freedom and reputation (see Trial Case Results).

Reputation

James Sullivan has a good reputation in the legal community.  Sullivan is humbled by fine lawyers who endorse him on AVVO. He is also very grateful for clients who write testimonials on his behalf. Most of his business comes from referrals from past clients and other lawyers, although it is not necessary to have a referral for him to defend you.  Anyone can call Sullivan to represent them.

Contact Attorney James Sullivan

If you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime or delinquency, call Galveston Criminal Attorney James Sullivan to discuss your case.

Sullivan generally tries to answer his own phone so that you can speak to an attorney directly. He wants to hear from you and to help you. Call him right now. Don’t go to court alone. To schedule an appointment or to discuss your case, call (281) 546-6428 right now.

DEL RIO VAL VERDE COUNTY TEXAS CRIMINAL LAW ATTORNEY JAMES SULLIVAN

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Val Verde County Texas Criminal Defense

Del Rio Criminal Trial Lawyers Fighting for Your Rights, Freedom and Future

James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced Del Rio Criminal Defense Attorney. For over 20 years, Sullivan has successfully fought the government in Jury Trials on behalf of clients in criminal and juvenile courts.

James Sullivan attended the Trial Lawyers College founded by Legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

The National Trial LawyersDefending Your Freedom

James Sullivan chose to become a criminal lawyer.  It was not by accident.  Fighting the government and defending people come natural to him—he was born into a diverse, dynamic family of conservative Baptists and liberal social activists.  Unlike many colleagues who practice criminal law, Sullivan has never prosecuted anyone and never will.  That is not him.  His entire career is devoted to defending people accused of crimes and delinquencies.

Proven Results

James Sullivan gets results (see Case Results).  Over the past 20 years, Sullivan has defended more than 3,000 people charged with every kind of criminal and juvenile case, including murder, aggravated robbery, drug cases, sex offenses, domestic assault and DWI.

Philosophy

James Sullivan practices criminal law with a simple philosophy.  If a client says he is not guilty, and if the prosecutor will not dismiss the charge, then Sullivan advises his client that they should fight the case at a jury trial.  Unlike many other attorneys, Sullivan does not try to convince an innocent person to plead guilty.  Instead, Sullivan fights for his clients’ freedom and reputation (see Trial Case Results).

Cares About His Clients

James Sullivan cares about his adult and juvenile clients and is concerned about their future.  He frequently counsels with clients at his office for hours at a time. He listens to their concerns, answers all of their questions and discusses legal strategies. He also explains how a criminal conviction could affect them and how to get on the right path for a successful life. Because Sullivan understands that people need to honor work and family commitments, he offers afternoon, early evening and same day appointments along with free parking.

IMG_2914BReputation

James Sullivan has a good reputation in the legal community.  Sullivan is humbled by fine lawyers who endorse him on AVVO. He is also very grateful for clients who write testimonials on his behalf. Most of his business comes from referrals from past clients and other lawyers, although it is not necessary to have a referral for him to defend you.  Anyone can call Sullivan to represent them.

I cannot thank you enough for your help with my case in Montgomery county. It was a very serious accusation against me. My teenage nephew falsely accused me of molesting him. You took our initial call on a weekend and assured us then that everything would turn out fine. You explained that it was very important for a good attorney to get involved before indictment because you believed a good defense attorney could get the case no billed (dismissed) by the grand jury. And, that’s exactly what you did. You are very talented and professional at what you do. I cannot thank you enough for standing beside me, believing in me and and most importantly, your confidence. You are truly a super lawyer. ~K.M., Dallas (AVVO review)

The law practice of James Sullivan is devoted solely to criminal and juvenile defense. Sullivan has tried many cases in Texas criminal and juvenile courthouses. Approximately half of his cases involve criminal charges while the other half involves juvenile charges.

Contact Attorney James Sullivan

If you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime or delinquency, call Val Verde County criminal defense attorney James Sullivan to discuss your case.

Sullivan generally tries to answer his own phone so that you can speak to an attorney directly. He wants to hear from you and to help you. Call him right now. Don’t go to court alone. To schedule an appointment or to discuss your case, call (281) 546-6428 right now.

 

_________________________________________

Val Verde County Courthouse Information

Honorable Judge Enrique Fernandez
63rd Judicial District100 East Broadway
2nd Floor
Del Rio, Texas  78840
830-774-7523 Telephone
830-774-1359 Fax

Honorable Judge Carl Pendegrass
83rd Judicial District
100 East Broadway
3rd Floor
Del Rio, Texas  78840
830-774-7654 Telephone
830-774-7651 Fax
Office Hours:
8:00 a.m. – 12 Noon / 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
District Attorney’s Office
209 East Losoya Street
Del Rio, Texas  78840
Telephone 830-775-0505
Fax 830-775-0352
Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez
295 FM 2523
Hamilton Road
Del Rio, Texas  78840
830-774-7513 Telephone
830-775-9678 Fax
Honorable Judge Sergio Gonzalez
County Court-At-Law Judge
400 Pecan Street
2nd Floor
Del Rio, Texas  78840
830-774-7575 Telephone
830-778-7440 Fax
Office Hours:
8:00 a.m. – 12 Noon / 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
County Attorney

207 Losoya Street
Del Rio, Texas  78840
830-774-7571 Telephone

 

What do I do during a traffic stop? Ask Richmond Criminal Lawyer James Sullivan

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Fort Bend County Criminal Defense

What to Do During a Traffic Stop

Imagine you see blue flashing lights in your rear view mirror when you are just driving along and minding your own business.  When you look down at your speedometer, you realize you are driving 5 miles over the speed limit in a school zone.  Woops.  What you do next is very important.

  1. If an unmarked car is trying to pull you over, you should drive at a safe speed to a highly visible area where other people are present.  However, you should pull well off the road and activate your emergency lights if it is a marked police car.
  2. Turn the car engine off, put both hands on the steering wheel and keep them there in full view, otherwise the police may point their handgun at you.
  3. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” The officer usually will ask you.  You should just answer “No, Officer, I do not. Please tell me.”  The officer is hoping that you will confess to some traffic infraction such as speeding, changing lanes without signaling, etc. because such statements can be used against you later in court, if it comes to that.  For the same reason, do not apologize for your driving.  Just play dumb and let the officer do the talking.
  4. Move slowly and deliberately when the officer asks for your driver’s license, proof of insurance and car registration.  If the documents are in the glove compartment, tell the officer that you have to take your hands off the steering wheel to obtain the items he is requesting.  Absolutely do not reach under the seat as this might result in the officer pointing his handgun at you.
  5. If the officer orders you out of the car, always comply and get out.  Do not argue.  Tell the officer if you need to reach down and release your seat belt.  A 20 year old male was shot by FBI agents near Baltimore in 2002 after the FBI agents in an unmarked car pulled him over, mistakenly thinking he had been involved in a bank robbery.  The man was shot in the face by one of the FBI agents when he reached down to unbuckle his seat belt.  Why?  The agent later explained that he “felt threatened.”
  6. If the officer wants to search your car, do not give consent, even if he threatens to get a drug dog to sniff over the car.  The officer cannot legally search your car if he does not have your consent or “probable cause.”

Regardless of what you learned in school, in traffic stops, the police officer is not “your friend”.

NTL-top-100-memberRichmond, Texas Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan is an experienced Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorney. For over 20 years, Sullivan has successfully fought the government in Jury Trials on behalf of clients in criminal and juvenile courts.

James Sullivan attended the Trial Lawyers College founded by Legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers organization. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.

Contact Attorney James Sullivan

If you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime or delinquency, call Houston criminal defense attorney James Sullivan to discuss your case.

Sullivan generally tries to answer his own phone so that you can speak to an attorney directly. Sullivan wants to hear from you and to help you. Call him right now. Don’t go to court alone. To schedule an appointment or to discuss your case, call (281) 546-6428.

WHAT IS AN APPEAL?

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Building of the Supreme Court of Texas

Image via Wikipedia

A good appeal (also called a “direct appeal”) is taken soon after a conviction as well as sentence. A person generally necessary to file a brief statement using the court called the “Notice of Appeal” within a few days after he is actually convicted. For instance, with some restricted exceptions, a Notice of Appeal should be filed within 10 days after one is sentenced in the federal case and within thirty days after one is sentenced in a situation court case within Texas.

An appeal is restricted to what is actually “in the report. ” In additional words, if a problem was not raised through a pre-trial movement or at test, it generally can’t be raised on immediate appeal (of course there are several exceptions to this particular rule). Usually, in order to achieve the possibility of successful an appeal, three things should have happened: (1) The actual trial judge should have committed an “error” (we. e. did something he shouldn’t have done or didn’t do something he must have done); (2) The actual defense lawyer objected towards the error at that time it was created; and (3) The actual error was dangerous (i. at the. the error may have affected the confidence or sentence).

You will find four possible final results from an attractiveness: (1) The actual conviction and sentence could be affirmed; (2) The actual defendant (known as the “appellant” upon appeal) could be given a brand new trial; (3) The defendant could be given a brand new sentencing hearing; or (four) The defendant’s conviction could be overturned and he can’t be retried.

In the actual federal system, an appeal is actually taken to among the twelve courts associated with appeals. For instance, a person charged in federal courtroom in Texas, Mississippi or Louisiana requires an appeal to america Court of Appeals for that Fifth Circuit which sits in Brand new Orleans, Louisiana. The Appellant the situation submits a created brief, arguing the problems to be elevated on appeal, towards the Court of Is attractive. The government is given a chance to respond with its brief and then your Appellant can file an answer brief to the actual response. Often occasions, but not all of the times, the lawyers is going to be called to Brand new Orleans to argue the problems raised on attractiveness Eventually the Courtroom of Appeals may render its decision as a written viewpoint. While the time can differ greatly, generally talking, it takes regarding 9-18 months from whenever a Notice of Attractiveness is filed to obtain a decision from america Court of Appeals for that Fifth Circuit. If either side isn’t happy with caused by the appeal, that party may file a Request for Writ associated with Certiorari with america Supreme Court requesting the Supreme Court to think about the case. In contrast to, the Court associated with Appeals, the Supreme Court doesn’t have to consider the situation and, indeed, it considers under one percent from the cases it is asked to know.

In Texas, and in many other states, an appeal is come to a state courtroom of appeals. Within Texas, there tend to be fourteen courts associated with appeals. Like within the federal system, an appeal is set by a 3 judge panel from the particular court associated with appeals that hears the situation. The party which lose a criminal appeal inside a Texas court of appeals may then ask the Tx Court of Felony Appeals (basically the Supreme Court within Texas for felony cases) to think about its case through filing a Request for Discretionary Evaluation. Like the Usa Supreme Court, the Texas Courtroom of Criminal Appeals isn’t required to hear all of the cases it is asked to know. If the Courtroom of Criminal Appeals will not hear the situation or if it will hear the case along with a party is unsatisfied with the end result, a Petition for any Writ of Certiorari may then be filed with america Supreme Court asking it to think about the case. Once again, however, the Supreme Court considers under one percent from the cases it is asked to know

Texas appeal procedures

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

gavelbookflagProspects seeking relief within the Texas appeal procedure must act rapidly to preserve as numerous of their rights as you possibly can. The appeal plan is unforgiving. It should be complied with purely to preserve an individual’s right to evaluation in Texas appellate legal courts. Texas criminal protection lawyers, and potential appeal clients as well, must be acquainted with the applicable period limits regarding felony appeals.

The day of sentencing may be the critical date within the Texas appeal procedure. Most time limits imposed inside a criminal appeal start to run on your day a defendant is actually sentenced. Generally, the actual defendant has thirty calendar days inside which to document a motion with regard to new trial. Mastering appeal also demands the defendant in order to file a discover of appeal, which vests jurisdiction within the appellate court, in this same 30 day time period.

In the plea bargain scenario, where the test judge accepts, or doesn’t exceed, the punishment recommendation through the prosecutor, a defendant usually waives his to appeal except with regard to matters raised through written motion as well as ruled upon before the plea. For instance, motions to control evidence, ruled upon before the plea, are kinds of such appealable issues. Most appeals, nevertheless, result when an individual’s guilt or purity is contested and fought-out prior to the trial judge or even jury. A charged defendant then is attractive the finding associated with guilt. Also, errors committed throughout the punishment phase from the trial can end up being raised during this appeal.

The motion with regard to new trial is really a tactic to create non-record claims with regard to appeal. Such statements might include inadequate assistance of lawyer, juror misconduct, or even disproportionate sentences. Other possible claims raised inside a motion for new trial range from the denial of lawyer, the misdirection from the jury, defense witnesses avoided from appearing within court, or evidence maintaining establish a individuals innocence being deliberately destroyed or withheld. Additionally, any time the actual verdict is unlike the law as well as evidence a claim could be raised in the actual motion for brand new trial.

In Tx, the notice of appeal should be filed within thirty calendar days associated with sentencing. The only exception is whenever a timely motion with regard to new trial had been filed. This extends the actual deadline for perfecting attract 90 days following sentencing. After the actual appeal is enhanced, the transcript (we. e., “reporter’s record”) should be requested and the “designation for material” (at the. g. exhibits) filed using the clerk. Although the request the reporter’s record and also the designation are not susceptible to the 30 day time deadline, they ought to be filed early to make sure the ball is rolling and also the appeal is proceeding inside a relatively rapid style.

After notice associated with appeal is submitted the defendant might request an attractiveness bond, provided the sentence didn’t exceed ten (10) many years confinement. Granting an appeal bond is at the trial judge’s discernment. The judge could also order the defendant adhere to bond conditions. This kind of conditions include normal reporting, a curfew, or even other reasonable problems while on discharge pending appeal.