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Texas has high rate of juveniles in adult prisons

Posted on March 30th, 2011 No Comments

According to Texas laws, judges are able to classify 14 to 17-year old juveniles as adults in cases involving felony criminal charges.  If convicted of the charges, juveniles certified as adults are sent to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to be placed in a state prison.

However, a judge is also able to allow juveniles facing violent felony charges to begin their sentence in the Texas Youth Commission and only move onto a state jail if necessary.

Between 2005 and 2010, around 1,300 juveniles in Texas were certified as adults by a judge.  About 860 of these youths were given determinate sentences beginning in the Texas Youth Commission.  In the majority of cases, both those juveniles classified as adults and those given determinate sentences, committed a violent crime and had one or no other prior juvenile criminal charges.

Having an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney at your side can be key in the outcome of a trial.  Contact the Houston juvenile criminal defense attorneys of Johnson, Johnson & Baer, P.C. at 713-523-0404 to learn more about how we can help you.

Fleeing day care owner surrenders, charged with federal crime

Posted on March 23rd, 2011 No Comments

The owner of a day care center in Houston that caught fire recently turned herself into police after fleeing to Nigeria.  Four children were killed in the tragic fire and the day care owner, 22-year old Jessica Tata, fled the country immediately after.

Houston police were able to determine that Tata had been at a nearby Target, leaving the day care unattended, when the fire broke out after watching store surveillance videos.

Reports indicate that Tata surrendered to police in Nigeria this past Saturday.  In addition to charges of manslaughter, Tata is facing a federal criminal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Senate passes bill to create lineup policies

Posted on March 17th, 2011 No Comments

Yesterday, members of the Senate voted 30-0 to pass a bill that would create policies for police departments in Texas concerning how to conduct a criminal lineup.  The bill will now go on to the House to be considered.

The bill, created by Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, would create written policies concerning both photo identification lineups and live lineups.  If approved, experts at Sam Houston State University will work together with several police departments in Texas to determine the best policies for instructions given to witnesses before viewing lineups, how to handle non-English speaking witnesses or suspects in lineups, ensuring that the lineup administrator does not know which individual is the suspect, and documentation of statements from witnesses.

Only about 12 percent of Texas law enforcement agencies currently have policies written concerning how to conduct lineups.  “Eyewitness reform is a very simple, straightforward change to help create a smarter, more just system,” said Ellis.

If you or someone you know has been wrongfully charged with a crime and would like to have the charges removed from your record, contact the Houston expunction attorneys of Johnson, Johnson & Baer, P.C. at 713-523-0404 to speak with a compassionate criminal defense attorney about expunction in Houston.

Man arrested on suspicion of statutory rape after meeting teen on Facebook

Posted on March 9th, 2011 No Comments

Last month, a 32-year old Little Elm man was arrested under suspicion of statutory rape after meeting up with a teenage girl he met on social networking website Facebook.  Manual Juan Garcia reportedly drove to Waldron to pick up the girl early one Friday morning.  The girl’s father reported her missing to police that same morning.

Lt. Todd Garzon of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office said, “At first we just knew of her missing, but while interviewing family members, her little sister advised us that she met someone on Facebook.”  With the help of Facebook officials, police were able to obtain Garcia’s identity and view the two’s online interactions.

The officers say that both parties were informed of each other’s correct age.

If you or someone you know has been accused of statutory rape or another sex crime in Houston, contact the Houston sex crimes defense lawyers of Johnson, Johnson & Baer, P.C. at 713-523-0404 to learn more about defending yourself against these charges.

Legislators discuss releasing some nonviolent prisoners

Posted on March 2nd, 2011 No Comments

During the new legislative session, members of the Texas Congress have had to consider several ways to make up for the state’s budget deficit of $15 billion.  One way legislators have come up with is to release some nonviolent prisoners from the state’s jails.  Individuals most likely to be released would be nonviolent immigrants being held on parole and old or sick inmates.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, there are approximately 12,000 foreign nationals being held in state prisons.  In addition, the department says that around 3,000 of those being held are held for nonviolent drug crimes, are on parole and would most likely be deported after release.

Legislators expect that releasing nonviolent prisoners could save the state $54 million annually.

If you or someone you know has a criminal charge on their record that they would like to have removed, contact the Houston expunction and nondisclosure attorneys of Johnson, Johnson & Baer P.C. at 713-523-0404 to learn more about your rights.