Recent developments in the Jessie Smollett attack have suggested the victim may have fabricated the story of the assault. If that turns out to be true and the evidence shows he intentionally lied to the police then he will probably be the one facing criminal charges.
What type of criminal charges does a person face in Texas if they intentionally lie to a police officer about facts in a criminal investigation? The typical charge is False Report to Peace Officer, Federal Special Investigator, or Enforcement Employee. That offense is a Class B misdemeanor and carries a penalty range of up to six months in the county jail and up to a $2,000 fine.
To commit this type of offense a person must act with intent to deceive and knowingly make a false statement that is material to a criminal investigation to a peace officer, federal special investigator any employee of a law enforcement agency that is authorized to conduct and investigation.
In reality charges are rarely brought under this statute. Threat of bringing this charge sometimes occurs in domestic violence cases when the victim doesn’t want to prosecute and tells the police or the prosecutor the original story wasn’t true. If the police or prosecutor wants to play hard ball they may threatened to bring a False Report to Peace Officer charge.
Police often are lied to during their investigations but they investigators usually don’t go forward with bringing charges. Since the punishment range in Texas is low many detectives don’t want to put the time and effort into bringing this type of charge to court.
The story of Kevin Spacey’s Sex Assault allegation offers several lessons that can be useful in any case dealing with sexual assault allegations.
- Get the Judge to grant a motion to preserve the “victims” digital messages. Exculpatory evidence is often found in the victims cell phone but often the police don’t collect that evidence. An order by the to preserve these type of text can lead to the recovery of the potential exculpatory evidence.
- Listen to your criminal attorney not your friends. Spacey has retained very experienced attorney’s and they may have a strong defense based on consent. However Spacey released a strange video at the advice of his friend and manager right before his first court setting which could be use by the prosecution and undermine his lawyers strategy.
- Try to limit extraneous offenses. One offense standing alone may not make a strong case. However if there are other allegations from other alleged victims the prosecution will often try to convince a judge to admit those offenses into evidence. In that case the prosecutions case becomes stronger. Spacey’s lawyers will do everything in their power to prevent the admission of other allegations.
The Dallas Police and other local law enforcement agencies have increased their arrest and prosecution of felony family violence cases involving the choking or impeding of an airway. These types of assaults were raised to felony level in recent years by the Texas legislature.
The police will file a felony cases if they find any evidence that the victim of a family violence assault had their ability to breath impeded by any method by the suspect. This can be done by choking or smothering the hands, arms or any object. The police will take a statement from the victim and photograph any injuries they observe. The police are specifically trained to ask questions regarding whether the victim lost the ability to breath during the assault or struggle.
The charge is has very serious consequences. The penalty range is 2 to 10 years in prison. If you find yourself charged with this offense then you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
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.
Click here for the complete story on Fox4 News
June 20, 2017
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.”
Click here for the complete story on Fox4 News
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
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.
James Rose FOX4News.com/ October 7, 2016
DALLAS, Texas – Court documents say a woman accused of ordering a hit on a Dallas dentist promised money and drugs to her alleged accomplices.
FBI agents returned 34-year old Brenda Delgado back to Dallas from Mexico Thursday afternoon. She’s charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Dallas dentist Kendra Hatcher.
You just learned a warrant has been issued for your arrest. Now what do you do?
Here are four things you should do when you learn their is a warrant for your arrest. Continue reading
For the first time a Federal Judge has ruled that law enforcement is required to obtain a search warrant before they can use technology to track an individuals cell phone. US District Judge William Pauley wrote “Absent a search warrant, the government may not turn the citizens cell phone into a tracking device.” Continue reading