J. Michael Price II
J. Michael Price II - Criminal Defense
Aggressive, experienced and trusted Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Criminal Law Specialist certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification
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Governor denies request to delay inmate's execution

In a story making national headlines recently, a man sentenced with the death penalty was recently denied a delay in his execution by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Attorneys for the man claim that he is intellectually disabled and thus should be spared the death penalty.

The man was found guilty of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in California, and he was sentenced to death. He was subsequently sentenced to death again in Virginia for the killing of two others. Ballistics and DNA evidence has also tied him to additional killings in both Virginia and California, but since he was already sentenced to death, he was never prosecuted in those cases. He is originally from El Salvador, where, while growing up, he allegedly suffered "significant brain dysfunction," due to poor nutrition as a child, according to a psychologist who testified at his trial.

Understanding the reasons for a plea bargain

The reality of the judicial system in the United States is that nearly 90 percent of all criminal convictions come from some form of a plea bargain. While this may sound like an alarmingly high number, and in many cases a plea bargain is not necessarily in the best interest of the accused, it can be helpful in certain situations.

Due to the serious backlog of cases waiting to go to trial, it is in the best interests of prosecutors and courts to make an effort to resolve a case before it goes to a lengthy and costly trial. There is also a significant problem with the overcrowding of prisons. A plea bargain will keep offenders in prison for less time, or not at all, depending on the bargain. Plea bargains may also be done in an effort to work with a defendant to strengthen the case against another defendant involved in the same incident. The defendant may give the prosecutor information or evidence to strengthen the case against another defendant, and in turn get a lessened punishment.

Clearing your name following a release from prison

In June of 1977 in Tyler, Texas, a young woman was murdered and mutilated in her apartment. Despite declaring his innocence, Kerry Max Cook was tried and found guilty of the murder. The guilty verdict was subsequently overturned. Following a second trial which resulted in a mistrial, Cook was found guilty again in a third trial and sentenced to death row.

During a hearing in 1999, an appeals court found the prosecutors to be guilty of "pervasive" and "egregious" misconduct, and Cook was released. But, there was no fourth trial; Cook was released after accepting a no-contest plea deal. Although Cook has never admitted guilt, he is still considered guilty in the eyes of the law.

Defining a hate crime and understanding its severity

With its incredibly diverse population, the United States is often called the "melting pot" of the world. But, with diversity there are instances when a person's feelings and opinions of others can cause what is known as a "hate crime."

A hate crime is defined as the bigotry and violence against an individual based on their ethnicity or race, disability, religion or sexual orientation. If the bigotry or violence was intended to hurt or intimidate the victim, it is a hate crime. Due to their sensitive nature and the current state of race, religion and sexual orientation relations in America today, hate crimes can enhance tensions and cause major problems for communities on both a local and nationwide scale. Our history shows that incidents related to hate can escalate quickly and cause issues on a national level rather quickly.

Understanding the difference between bail and bond

If you or someone you know has been arrested and remains in jail, there may be an option to be "bailed" or "bonded" out. But, what exactly does that mean, and what are the differences between bail and bond?

The two terms are nearly the same, but have subtle and important differences.

Melissa High School teacher charged with multiple sex crimes

Many of our Dallas area readers may have heard by now that a Melissa High School teacher is suspected of an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old student. What makes this story even more complex is that the student was also tied to a relationship with the high school's band director, who was also arrested recently.

The economics and government teacher, aged 50, was charged with both indecency with a child - sexual contact, as well as an improper relationship between an educator and a student. Both charges are felonies. He was also charged with failing to report child abuse, which is a misdemeanor. The affidavit states that the relationship began with texting of a sexual nature, often referred to as "sexting", and eventually moved on to inappropriate touching. The teacher has been with the high school since 2006. Upon his arrest, he was detained at the Collin County Detention Center and was released on bail a few hours later.

What rights are protected by search warrants?

Millions of Americans watched the first Republican presidential debate that occurred in early August. Those viewers may recall an animated discussion between Senator Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christie regarding the NSA, also known as the United States National Security Agency, and the agency's right to "search and spy" on U.S. residents. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the government enacted the Patriot Act, allowing the government to record and monitor phone conversations in an effort to track and catch potential terrorists. Although the Patriot Act was extended in 2011 and 2015, Section 215, related to recording phone conversations, was removed. How is this applicable to drug charges? It all comes down to warrants.

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits government agencies from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant. A warrant is issued by a judge only after probable cause has been determined.

When is the death penalty used?

On August 7, 2015, convicted killer James Holmes was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting. The incident left 16 victims dead, along with 70 others injured, after Holmes used tear gas in a movie theater then opened fire on viewers of Batman's "Dark Knight Rises" movie. The incident received headlines throughout the world, and the subsequent court case that followed this spring kept the incident in the minds of many Americans.

Although Holmes was not able to use an insanity plea, the defense team was able to show the jury that a history of mental illness is what ultimately led to the incident, and Holmes was able to avoid the death penalty, often called capital punishment.

Protecting yourself from DWI penalties

With the summer months comes an increase of camping, barbeques, vacations, and outdoor parties throughout the United States. And with these activities and festivities comes an increased likelihood of drinking. And subsequently, driving while intoxicated may occur.

In Texas, nearly every 20 minutes a person is killed or injured as the result of someone driving while intoxicated. The impact on a victim due to the negligence of another is severe, and a true threat to everyone on the road. Due to the severity and frequency of DWI-related accidents, both local and state authorities create many safeguards and deterrents for driving while intoxicated, including police stops and severe penalties for DWI convictions.

Child Abandonment charges filed for father who left child in car

As we continue through the summer months, it is important to keep in mind the dangers of leaving a child, or even a pet in a car for any length of time. It is not uncommon for the temperature inside of a car to quickly reach a deadly level. Because of this, it is important to be aware of this serious danger and the consequences it could carry.

Recently, police from Dallas, arrested a 40-year-old father, charging him with child abandonment after he supposedly eft his 2-year-old daughter in the car following a day at the park. This purported action ultimately led to the death of the young girl.