Appeals & Habeas Corpus Proceedings

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A direct appeal in Texas is to a court of appeals and then to the Court of Criminal Appeals.  An appeal in federal court is to the Fifth Circuit and then to the United States Supreme Court.  A state habeas corpus application is heard by the convicting court, but the decision is made by the Court of Criminal Appeals; if relief is denied, the petitioner can proceed to federal court if his time limit has not expired.  A federal habeas petition is decided by the district court, with appeals possible to the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court.  Randy has obtained relief for numerous clients in state and federal post-conviction cases. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innocence

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Randy was the first lawyer in Texas to use DNA evidence to obtain the exoneration and release from prison of an innocent man.  As a result of his work in this area, the Texas Legislature enacted legislation to require DNA testing in closed cases under certain circumstances and to increase the maximum compensation to wrongfully convicted prisoners from $25,000 to $80,000 per year of incarceration.  He secured the release of the following innocent men on the basis of DNA testing:

 

  • Kevin Byrd was pardoned after serving over 12 years of a life sentence for aggravated sexual assault.

  • A.B. Butler was pardoned after serving over 17 years of 99-year sentences for aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping.

  • Anthony Robinson was pardoned after serving over ten years of a 27-year sentence for aggravated sexual assault.

 

 

 

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

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Randy has obtained relief for clients who were not competently represented by trial counsel, including:

 

  • Charles Murphy, sentenced to 40 years for several aggravated robberies, was represented by counsel who gave him incorrect advice regarding the consequences of pleading guilty.

  • Baron Boyington, sentenced to 50 years for arson, was represented by counsel who failed to object to inadmissible evidence and improper argument.

  • Cesar Riascos, sentenced to life for murder, was represented by counsel who failed to object to inadmissible evidence and improper argument.

  • Charles Winn, sentenced to 50 years for murder, was represented by counsel who failed to investigate whether the deceased committed suicide.

  • Evaristo Valencia, sentenced to 75 years for aggravated possession of cocaine, was represented by counsel who failed to object to the prosecutor’s improper argument regarding the law of parole.

  • Terry Thompson, sentenced to life for murder, was represented by counsel who failed to object to inadmissible evidence and improper argument.

  • Edwin Drinkert, sentenced to 15 years for murder, was represented by counsel who failed to object to erroneous jury instructions and improper argument.

  • Antoine Abdel-Sater, sentenced to 80 years for aggravated possession of cocaine, was represented by counsel who failed to object to inadmissible evidence and improper argument.

  • Claudis Pryor, sentenced to 20 years for aggravated assault, was represented by counsel who failed to present the correct theory of defense.

  • Jesse Talamantez, sentenced to 99 years for murder, was represented by counsel who failed to impeach prosecution witnesses with their prior inconsistent statements.

  • Noe Beltran, sentenced to death for capital murder, was represented by counsel who failed to impeach prosecution witnesses with their prior identifications of another man as the killer.

  • Ernest Lombard, sentenced to 65 years for aggravated robbery, was represented by counsel who failed to raise viable issues on appeal.

  • Spencer Imoudu, sentenced to 17 years for felony murder, was represented by counsel who failed to investigate an insanity defense.

  • Wendell White, sentenced to 40 years for murder and 20 years for aggravated assault, was represented by counsel who failed to object and opened the door to inadmissible evidence.

  • Carrie Lane, sentenced to life for possession of a controlled substance, was represented by counsel who failed to object to inadmissible testimony and improper argument.

  • Max Moussazadeh, sentenced to 75 years for murder, pled guilty based on incorrect advice regarding parole eligibility.

  • Pastor Diaz, sentenced to 35 years for engaging in organized criminal activity, pled guilty based on incorrect advice regarding an available defense.

  • Heath Stoneman, sentenced to ten years for aggravated assault on a public servant, pled guilty based on inadequate advice regarding available defenses.

 

 

 

Prosecutorial Misconduct

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Randy has obtained relief for clients who were convicted after the prosecution suppressed favorable evidence or knowingly used perjured testimony, including:

 

  • Randall Dale Adams was  sentenced to death for capital murder. The State failed to disclose to the defense prior inconsistent statements of prosecution witnesses and presented perjured testimony that a key witness identified Adams in a lineup, when in fact she had identified someone else.

  • Rodney Muldrew was sentenced to life for murder. The State elicited perjured testimony that its key witness had not received compensation for his testimony.

  • Navid Ghahremani was sentenced to 28 years for consensual sex  with a minor after the State elicited false testimony suggesting that she had psychological problems as a result of their encounter.

 

 

 

Fourth Amendment Violations

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Randy has obtained relief for clients who were convicted after the police violated their right to be free from an unlawful arrest or search, including:

 

  • Richard Berg was convicted of possession of cocaine after he was unlawfully detained and searched in an airport gift shop.

  • Elvis Black was sentenced to 25 years for murder after the court improperly admitted his confession, which was obtained as a result of an unlawful warrantless arrest.

 

 

 

Other Constitutional Violations

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Randy has obtained relief for clients who were convicted as a result of various constitutional errors, including:

 

  • James “Sugarman” Russell was sentenced to 50 years for aggravated robbery after the court improperly admitted the deceased complainant’s testimony from an examining trial.

  • Carl Davis was convicted of obscenity based on an unconstitutional statute that presumed a person’s knowledge that the content of certain material was obscene.

  • Jack Franklin was sentenced to 75 years for theft, but the evidence was legally insufficient to prove an essential element of the offense.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous Errors

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Randy has obtained relief for clients who were convicted  as a result of various pretrial or trial errors, including:

 

  • Stevon McCarter was sentenced to 15 years for delivery of cocaine after his lawyer was not given sufficient time to question the jury panel.

  • Stevon McCarter was sentenced to 20 years for conspiracy and possession of cocaine after the court improperly refused to sever a felon-in-possession count (that enabled the jury to learn that he was an ex-convict) from drug counts.

  • Carl Govan was sentenced to eight years for aggravated robbery after the prosecutor improperly elicited police testimony that a series of bank robberies in the area had ended after he was arrested.

  • Frank McKoy was sentenced to one year for interstate transportation of stolen property after the court improperly admitted opinion testimony regarding the strength of the government’s case.

  • James Perryman was sentenced to 99 years for aggravated sexual assault after the court improperly admitted police opinion testimony that he was a “power reassurance rapist.”

  • Sue Miller was sentenced to 10 years for kidnapping after the court failed to instruct the jury on the defense of mistake of fact.

  • Leon Sanders was sentenced to 50 years for murder after the court allowed the prosecutor to argue that a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity would result in him being “cut loose” on the streets.