Arlington jailers get probation in inmate death case

FOX4News.com Staff, July 11 2017

ARLINGTON, Texas – The two former Arlington Police Department jailers who accepted a plea deal for the 2015 death of an inmate were both sentenced to a year of probation on Tuesday.

Pedro Medina and Steven Schmidt pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges for their role in 42-year-old Jonathan Paul’s death.

Paul was arrested in March 2015 after a traffic stop. He was restrained and pepper-sprayed because of his erratic behavior, and then moved to another cell and left on the floor. He died four days later.

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Posted in DWI

Grand jury to hear case of DPD officers who shot pregnant mom

June 20, 2017

Fox4News

DALLAS – A Dallas County grand jury will hear an officer-involved shooting where a 21-year old pregnant mother was shot and killed as police say she tried to run them over.

Police body cam video was used in a previous hearing. But to date, the entire video has not been made public and is expected to be a critical part of the prosecution’s case to determine if the officers should face charges or not.

Former prosecutor turned defense attorney Toby Shook is not involved in the case, but offered his perspective on what the grand jury will consider in deciding whether the two officers who opened fire will face any charges.

“The car moves in a way that they say they felt endangered themselves and other, and there’s a gun found. All those facts go in favor of the officer,” Shook said. “However, we don’t know exactly what the video shows. And I think that will be the most important that the grand jury sees.”

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Posted in DWI

Attorney For Officer Shooter’s Son Wants His Client Released

June 9, 2016 10:20 PM

No-bill decision, followed by re-file of charges – now questions of civil rights violations

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The attorney for the 21-year-old man a Grand Jury declined to indict on attempted capital murder charges stemming from the shooting of Fort Worth police officer Matthew Pearce wants his client released from jail.

Attorney Brian Walker represents Ed McIver Junior. McIver Jr. and his father ran from police as officer’s tried to pull over and arrest Ed McIver Sr. in March 2016. His father was shot and killed in a shootout with police after authorities said McIver Sr. fired shots at officer Pearce.

Walker asked a judge Thursday afternoon to consider releasing McIver Jr. from jail. He isn’t happy the Tarrant County DA’s office re-filed charges of attempted capital murder and drug possession right after a Grand Jury decided not to indict his client in the shooting.

“The sheriff is holding him there I believe illegally,” Walker told the judge Thursday afternoon. The jail has housed McIver Jr. since March 15 on a $2 million bond. In court the judge set a hearing in McIver Jr.’s case for 9 a.m. Monday.

Walker filed court papers asking for an examining trial, essentially trying to determine if there’s probable cause to continue holding McIver Jr. in jail.

“They don’t have evidence that he directly fired at the officer. They’re going to have to have some evidence that proves that he was an accomplice to his father, that he assisted him in someway in that particular criminal act,” said former chief of the felony trial division at the Dallas County DA’s office, Toby Shook.

Shook said the Tarrant County DA’s decision is legal, but rarely used.

“It was our practice, if a case was no billed by a grand jury, you didn’t re-submit that case unless you had new evidence generally,” said Shook.

Click here for the complete story on CBS11

Posted in DWI

Calls for Balch Springs officer to be arrested unlikely to be met, experts say

FOX4News.com Staff – May 4, 2017

A rising chorus of voices is calling for fired Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver to be arrested and charged with murder.

But legal experts said it would be extremely rare for an officer to be arrested before a grand jury sees any evidence.

Jordan Edwards, 15, was a passenger in a car when he was shot in the head with a rifle and killed by Oliver last Saturday night. The car Edwards was in was driving away from the officers when he was shot, not toward the officers as police initially claimed.

Former Assistant D.A. Toby Shook has both vigorously prosecuted and defended police in officer shootings.

“Usually when a police officer is involved in a deadly shooting they refer it to the grand jury. They don’t make an arrest,” Shook said. “But there are some occasions where the D.A.’s office or the sheriff could say we’re going to make an arrest just like any other case,” Shook said.

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Moving Ken Paxton’s trials away from friendly turf a rare outcome seen in few famous cases

Dallas Morning News, April 1, 2017

AUSTIN — It’s rare for a judge in Texas to move a criminal trial, and even less common to move it because the jury might be biased in favor of the accused.

That’s what makes the decision to move Ken Paxton’s upcoming trials out of Collin County so unusual. He joins the ranks of a handful of others who lost the chance to be tried in their backyard because of a real or perceived home-field advantage.

“The famous one was Bernie,” said criminal defense attorney Toby Shook, referring to convicted murderer Bernie Tiede. Well-liked at home in the small East Texas town of Carthage and lionized in Richard Linklater’s 2011 film Bernie, Tiede saw his second murder trial moved after prosecutors argued the jury pool could be tainted in his favor.

“It’s hard to get a change of venue granted if the other side’s opposing it,” Shook said, noting the decision is entirely up to the presiding judge. “Having the prosecution ask for a change of venue is even more rare.”

Click here to read the complete story at the Dallas Morning News

Dallas basketball player’s killer arrested for sexual assault

April 3, 2017, by Fox4News

A former basketball player at Dallas Madison High School who was charged with murder in 2014 is now accused of sexual assault.

Jonathan Turner was arrested last week at Ranger College, where he now plays college basketball. Ranger is about 80 miles southwest of Fort Worth or 60 miles east of Abilene.

According to the Associated Press, a woman told police she woke up early one morning to find Turner having sex with her. She said he threatened her if she went to authorities.

Click here for the complete story from Fox4 News, Dallas

Police arrest boyfriend of missing college student after discovering human remains

LynnAnne Nguyen, FOX4News.com, Feb 4, 2017

The boyfriend of missing college student Zuzu Verk has been arrested, one day after police say they found human remains in a shallow grave in West Texas.

Police in the town of Alpine say 26-year-old Robert Fabian was taken into custody Saturday morning on a warrant for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence by concealing a human corpse.

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Jury deliberates in trial of former Garland officer

Rebecca Lopez, WFAA, December 16, 2016

Defense attorneys shouted at prosecutors during closing arguments as emotions ran high in the trial of Garland police officer Patrick Tuter, who has been charged with manslaughter in connection with a 2012 police chase.

Robert Rogers shouted, “Prove your case, Prove your case.”

Defense attorneys were direct. They told the jury Tuter made split second decisions to save his life and fellow officers lives while dealing with a dangerous felon high on meth.

Defense attorney Toby Shook said, “For more than 30 minutes, he drove the most dangerous ways possible, running lights, stop signs. It was like a missile out there.”

Click here for the complete story on News8

Dallas Murder Cases On the Rise

Murder cases in Dallas are on the rise this year. This trend has occurred in many major cities across the United States. The Dallas police Department is putting high priority on solving murder cases and has recently revived their cold case unit. The cold case unit  investigates unsolved homicides. There is no statute of limitations on a murder charge so the unit sometimes investigates cases that were committed 30 years ago.

Murder charges are the most serious a citizen can face under Texas law. The punishment range is 5 to 99 years or Life in prison. A person convicted of murder in Texas is not eligible for parole. The Dallas District Attorney’s office has an intake prosecutor who’s sole responsibility is the working with local police agencies in all murder investigations and determining when to move forward with a murder charge  and seek indictment at the grand jury.

If you are arrested or come under investigation for a murder charge it is crucial that you seek advice from an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. That is the only way to protect your self. Individuals often waive their valuable constitutional rights when the police first come in contact with them. They believe they must speak to the authorities or they will be appear guilty. Speak with a criminal lawyer before you talk to anyone.

Posted in DWI

History made with new Dallas County DA appointment (News8)

Lauren Zakalik, WFAA

“And I thought God, I can do this, and I can serve Dallas County in a magnificent way,” says Faith Johnson. They were some of her very first words Johnson shared publicly since being announced as Dallas County’s new district attorney.

“I’ll put my hat in the ring because it was important for Dallas County,” Johnson says. “I saw the history of what was happening in Dallas County from DA to DA to DA.”

The former judge and prosecutor is taking the reins of a department in need. The Dallas County DA’s office has had some tumultuous years lately. Most recently, former District Attorney Susan Hawk stepped down after a very public battle with depression.

“She needs to restore stability,” says attorney Toby Shook.

Shook has known Johnson since the 80s, when they worked together in the district attorney’s office. Shook says one of the first items of business Johnson will face is restoring morale.

“They’re in desperate need of leadership, someone… they can follow, and I think Faith Johnson is the type of person that can do that,” Shook says.

Click here for the complete story at News8