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Waco Texas Legal Blog

When can police legally enter and search your home?

Protecting your civil liberties requires understanding your rights under the law. One right that confuses many people is the right of freedom from warrentless searches, which stems from the Fourth Amendment. This critical addition to the Constitution protects from unreasonable searches. It specifically states individuals have a right to be secure in their persons as well as their homes.

However, there are many times when you need to invoke your Fourth Amendment rights or risk having them violated. While law enforcement officials will generally avoid overtly violating your rights, they may attempt to manipulate you into waiving some of them. Understanding when it is legal for law enforcement to enter or search your home can help you stand up to your freedom from unreasonable searches.

Even Minor Marijuana Charges Could End Your College Career

For many young people, college is a time to explore the world, get to know themselves and learn by making mistakes and experimenting. Most of the time, mistakes and experimentation result in a hangover or a failed test the next day. These consequences allow students to learn without altering the path of their lives. Sadly, sometimes the consequences for a minor mistake, like experimenting with marijuana, could prove to completely dismantle a student's life plan.

There's a popular saying that the worst thing you can do with marijuana is get caught with it. In many ways, that aphorism is accurate. Unlike alcohol, students don't risk a fatal overdose when experimenting with marijuana. However, if caught in possession of marijuana, students could find that their academic career is over.

Another mass shooting rocks the country, this time closer to home

This past week Texas experienced devastation after a gunman opened fire on churchgoers this past Sunday. The gunman, Devin Patrick Kelly, killed 26 people and then led police on a chase culminating in his death from what authorities believe may have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Campus Sexual Assault Accusations

Across the country, colleges and universities are under immense pressure from the general public and the federal government to investigate and swiftly discipline students for sexual misconduct.  Unfortunately, this well-intentioned mission to protect women on college campuses from sexual violence has also resulted in a number of male students being branded as "rapists" and kicked out of colleges and universities without the due process and protections they would receive in the criminal justice process.  While the college or university disciplinary process does not result in a criminal sentence, the information gathered by the school and the determination by the school can still have lasting implications both in the student's personal/professional life as well as in the criminal process. 

Criminal Justice Reform

Perhaps one of the most sobering parts of being a criminal defender is in interacting with my clients and realizing how many of us could have ended up in their shoes. When I interact with my clients, I hear their stories, and that often gives me a unique glimpse into how:

Seeking Life in the Death (Bible) Belt

In "the heart of death penalty country," as my friend Jeanne Bishop so aptly puts in her book, we represent people the State is seeking to execute. Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 82% of all executions have taken place in the Southern "Bible Belt" (37% in Texas alone).

The Price of Freedom

Recent events in Waco have clearly caught public attention. They have also shed light on the price of your freedom. The arrest of 175 people on May 17, 2015 in Waco, Texas brought with it the issue of people who must wait in jail because they are unable to afford to bond out. These events have also put the spotlight on the McLennan County Criminal Justice system.

The Problems with Snitches

For those of you reading this who may not work in the criminal justice system, snitches are people who provide information to police and prosecutors for a reward, usually cash or some level of leniency from the prosecution, or even just a hope for leniency in the future.  Snitches are almost always criminals themselves.

Finding Just Mercy

This is my first blog post.  It's Michelle writing, and I will be writing almost 100% of the posts.  I am writing to reflect, share, teach, and just be me.  Some of my posts will be informative for potential clients, and some of my posts will be about a topic close to my heart - criminal justice reform.  But my main reason for writing is to share the viewpoint and some of the things we experience as defenders of the citizen accused.  We are their voice and we want to share the hard experiences our clients often face, the battles we fight, the victories we win, and what we've learned along the way. 

  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • The College of State Bar of Texas
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice
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425 Austin Avenue
Suite 1208
P.O. Box 726
Waco, TX 76701

Phone: 254-304-6354
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