The Campaign For DA

2.01.2018

Dear Judge: You Can't Do That


This is the case that received publicity after a Fort Worth Police Officer responded to a complaint that the Defendant had grabbed the complainant's son around the neck. The police officer was suspended for his conduct, and the Defendant was ultimately charged with a Class C misdemeanor for touching the kid.

The jury found him guilty of "Offensive Touching" and then it came time for the judge to assess punishment.  The judge offered him an option (1) Pay $269 in court costs and a fine, and be found guilty, or (2) agree to pay $569 in court costs* and a fine, do 100 hours of community service — and receive six months’ deferred-disposition probation (meaning no conviction). Problem: The judge had no authority to do the latter.

Here are the rules:
(1) A prosecutor can offer deferred as a plea bargain before trial.
(2) If there is a trial before the court (meaning there is no jury), the judge can make a finding that "the evidence substantiates the defendant's guilt" and place him on deferred. He has that right.
(3) But if there is a jury trial, as was the case here, the only thing the judge can do after a guilty verdict is set the fine.   He can't do what he did: Ignore the guilty verdict and place the defendant on deferred thereby wiping out the conviction the jury just decided upon.

The only way the judge could do what he did would be to grant a Motion for New Trial, have the next trial before him, and then give the defendant deferred. 

A lot of strange things go on in municipal and JP courts in Texas when folks don't know the rules.
_____________________________
*That disparity in court costs between a conviction and deferred seems out of whack. Court costs are set by statute and aren't subject to manipulation. Normally, at least in every case I've ever handled, court costs for deferred are lower that court costs associated with a conviction.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

So this man's life is forever ruined for asking some kid to pick up his litter? This is sad proof of the crazy liberalism slamming up against the uber conservative lock em up at all costs society we now have!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure a Class C misdemeanor conviction doesn't "forever ruin" someone's life.

Anonymous said...

He didn't "ask some kid to pick up his litter". He laid hands on the kid in an aggressive manner. That's the problem with you "conservatives", spreading fake news alternative facts.

Anonymous said...

"(2) If there is a trial before the court (meaning there is no jury), the judge can make a finding that "the evidence substantiates the defendant's guilt" and place him on deferred. He has that right."

Doesn't the defendant have to plead guilty/no contest for the judge to give him deferred in a bench trial? Or am I pulling that out of left field? Please advise.

Anonymous said...

Liberalism? The judge was Republican

Anonymous said...

Guess you will be happy when you finally have anarchy.

Anonymous said...

And that will come up every time he applies for a job, has a background check for any reason. It's called the civil death penalty.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the cop should have been fired. Second, Craig got no justice and third, this is a travesty of justice that the judge pretty much wiped out his conviction. The entire incident is typical of white people winning and African Americans losing, but Craig and her son did nothing wrong except maybe litter on the sidewalk and get a little mad over her son being strangled.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Green:

Thank you kindly for explaining to us what we are and are not allowed to do. Your expertise and advice are invaluable and indispensible. We simply could not function without your sage counsel.

- DF President, American Association of Judges

Anonymous said...

The whole incident could've been avoided if they were at work. Oh, wait.....

-buyerninety

Anonymous said...

We should have picked our own damned cotton.

Anonymous said...

Must have been a Denton County judge.