I’ve been away from this posting thing too long, so hopefully I can get more content posted soon to keep folks up with what’s happening in the legal world around us. Hope to get you talking soon!
Today, oft-absent Dallas County District Attorney, Susan Hawk, resigned from office. She has battled drug addiction and depression for at least the last two years, with several stints involving inpatient treatment.
I feel for her mental health issues, having represented several mentally challenged people caught up in the criminal justice system through the years, and hope she gets the treatment she needs. My clients almost never got any consideration from prosecutors or judges due to their reduced mental capacity, so it is lucky for the former DA that she landed on the other side of the system. Mental health is an area that is woefully ignored and often taken advantage of by the criminal justice system.
Though, it does feel a bit disingenuous that she decides to leave at this particular time to work on her mental health, just days after the deadline to place a race for her replacement on the November 2016 general election ballot. Instead, Governor Abbott get to choose her replacement, instead of the people of Dallas County. See, Hawk ran as a Republican, the Governor is a Republican, and Dallas County is a Democrat-leaning county. I’m sure it’s just a lucky coincidence.
I’m just going to go out on a limb here and tell you what I tell each and every client who gets pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated: never agree to submit to any field sobriety tests.
Though you don’t necessarily want to go out and pretend to be a woodland creature (though, if spotted owl was the defense, I might attempt to argue that my client was protected from prosecution by the Endangered Species Act of 1973). Continue reading
One of the areas of law which I practice is criminal defense, and invariably, someone will ask something to the effect of, “How can you defend guilty people,” or something along those lines.
In response, I tell people that, many years ago, I met one of the attorneys who represented Michael Irvin during his circus trial for possession, and he was asked by one of the people close by how he could “defend that criminal.” His response was polite, and made a great impression on me. He told the man that his job wasn’t to “spring” criminals, but that his “job was to make sure that the State does its job.”