About Sam Adamo Jr

Sam D. Adamo & Sam C. Adamo are Houston criminal defense attorneys at the Adamo & Adamo Law Firm. Licensed to practice law in 1971, Sam Sr. has maintained a courtside seat fighting the war on crime. He led the special crimes division at the Harris County DA’s Office, before going into private practice in 1975. Over the years he has developed a reputation for high-quality criminal defense against Texas’ toughest crimes. In 2007 Sam Jr., joined the practice forming the latter part of Adamo & Adamo. With his addition, U.S. News & World Report recently honored the law firm as one of the top criminal defense firms in the nation. The full legal team includes paralegals, research professionals, and investigators all committed to providing clients with top flight criminal defense against the never-ending “war on crime.” For additional go to http://samadamolaw.com or follow us on twitter @AdamoandAdamo .

Real Gift Guide For Lawyers

Prison in TexasKnow a lawyer? Like the lawyer? With the holidays upon us scroll past the gavels, scales of justice, and law books, here’s The REAL Gift Guide for Lawyers.

***Gifting Scale (1-5):

  • 5 = Got away with murder
  • 4 = My case was dismissed, but it should have been.
  • 3 = No jail time. Thank you.
  • 2 = I should be out in a year.
  • 1 = I can appeal it, can’t I?

Alcohol Houston Attorney

Alcohol
Rating: 3
Cost: N/A

Duh. Any bottle will do.You can go a step further and gift a yearly prescription of Wine or Spirits delivered straight to your lawyer’s office door.

Spanish Attorney Houston

Waverly PilotTranslating Headphones
Rating: 5
Cost: $199.

Légitime. That’s legit in French and is exactly what these headphones are. With the ability to translate five different languages, your alibi can be tested in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. These can be pre-ordered now and delivered May 2017. Next fall languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and German will be integrated.

Houston Courtroom ButtonBullsh*t Button
Rating: 2 1/2
Cost: $8.95

Anyone can drown out a bullsh*t with a sneeze, but not everyone can push a button that screams it. “Your Honor, I object, [press bullsh*t button].

Lawyer beats

Wireless Headphones
Rating: 3
Cost: $17 – $399

Put your lawyer in the zone with these Bluetooth operated wireless headphones providing precision sound without all the mess. Sit back and relax as your lawyer delivers a memorable closing argument to the tune of Thunderstruck.

Lawyer SelfieHover Camera Passport
Rating: 5
Cost: $599:

Lawyers love them some lawyers. This selfie stick on steroids connects to your smart-phone and hovers over you while simultaneously capturing epic aerial footage. Look at me now!

Hoverboard for attorneysSwagtron T1 Hover Board
Rating: 5
Cost: $349

Remember when lawyers walked to the courthouse? Not anymore. Give the gift of swag in the form of the Swagtron T1 Hover Board, known in the hovering community as the best value on the market. An added bonus, if you dislike your attorney, there is a chance the thing blows up.

bulletproof lawyersBulletBlocker Bulletproof Executive Briefcase
Rating: 4
Cost: $299

Who doesn’t want a lawyer with bulletproof accessories? This briefcase houses bulletproof lining and is guaranteed to keep your case file secure. Not sold yet? Doubling as a bulletproof shield it is guaranteed to keep you and your legal team safe.

Houston female defense lawyer

Bullet Blocker Bulletproof Leather Tote
Rating: 4
Cost: $369.99

For the bada$$ female trial lawyer.

Fit Bits and Houston Criminal Defense AttorneyFitbit:
Rating: 3
Cost: $59.99 – $249.99

Is your lawyer a fitness fanatic? If not, should they be? Give them a subtle hint in the form of a fitness-tracking device capable of reporting such things as heartbeat, calories, and sleeping patterns. Better yet, locate their online username and data to see just how fast their heart beats when their objection is denied.

Nintendo AttorneyMini Nintendo NES Classic Edition
Rating: 3
Cost: $59.99

Depositions and meetings can drag on for hours. Break it up with the Mini Nintendo NES Classic Edition. A slice of heaven pre-programmed with 30 original video games. Excitebike in HD on an over-sized flat screen? Yes, please.

Attorney Spy PenGadgets and Gear Spy Pen
Rating: 3 ½
Cost: $69.95

If it looks like a pen, writes like a pen, then it’s a pen. But this isn’t your ordinary pen, it is equipped with a camera capable of recording high-resolution videos and snapping high-resolution, date and time-stamped pictures. Channel your lawyer’s inner 007.

inkless pen for lawyers
Vat 19 Inkless Pen
Rating: 2 1/2
Cost: #29.95

Nothing like having a game-changing thought with a pen out of ink. Worse is the busted ink pen that finds its way on the lawyer’s sharp outfit. The inkless pen eliminates both problems, so your lawyer has more time to focus on yours.

power bank for the trial lawyerEasy ACC 10,000mAH Ultra-slim Dual USB Power Bank Charger
Rating: 2 1/2
Cost: $17.99

Exciting? No. Invaluable? Yes. This power bank keeps all USB devices charged and ready. With personal portable device use at an all time high, feel confident your attorney will be available 24/7.

Please Don’t Confuse Your Google Search With My Law Google Law FirmDegree Coffee Cup:
Rating: 2
Cost: $13.99

Give your lawyer a daily reminder that he or she is as smart as they believe. Upgrade this gift with a Starbucks gift card, because no one likes sleeping lawyers.

Lawyer Insults and ComebacksInsults and Comebacks For All Occasions:
Rating: 2 1/2
Cost: $7.95

A lawyer without a witty comeback is no lawyer at all. Arm your lawyer with elite weapons of mass insults. “I know you are but what am I?”

Happy shopping and happy holidays.

Crimination Camps TX

Prison and Concentration Camps in TexasBarbed wire, watchtowers, and guards.

Unjust punishment and dehumanization.

Uninhabitable conditions.

Propaganda and financial incentives.

Mass incarceration.

Confinement without trial.

Many Americans living in the United States during the 1930s and early 1940s, didn’t think much about Germany. Little weight was given to secondhand reports. Confirmed reports were thought to be exaggerated and beyond-belief. It wasn’t until 1945 that Americans began to grasp the devastation left behind. By then it was too late. Millions had perished.

Unfortunately, we are often too late. Philosophical studies have concluded human beings are overwhelmingly cooperative. Our need to cooperate can lead us to turn a deaf ear on issues that don’t immediately impact us. Out of sight, out of mind. It isn’t until we are personally affected that we find ourselves in disbelief. Desperate for a solution to unjust punishment.

But, this isn’t about philosophy and this isn’t about the Third Reich, We aren’t going back in time. We don’t have to because all of the above can be found right here in the American justice system; the Texas justice system; the Harris County Justice system.

The Rise of Bail: The Beginning

Bail is an old-school tool originally used to assist in ensuring a person accused of a crime would appear for court. The theory was if a person put up their own money they were more likely to show up. Seems logical, although an outstanding warrant also seems logical.

Eventually, “entrepreneurs” discovered there were financial incentives tied to bond and formed bonding companies. A bonding company guarantees the bond for a non-refundable fee around 10% of the bond amount (although some bonding companies have been known to charge as much as 100% of the bond). If the accused fails to appear the bonding company is on the hook. Meaning, the original use of bail doesn’t even apply in today’s system.

When a person is arrested, they appear in front of a magistrate who assesses bail. Harris County magistrates rubber-stamp the amount from a bail schedule. While Texas law allows for personal recognizance bonds (zero money down), they are only used 7-8% of the time in Harris County. Once the bail amount is set, the accused (or accused’s family) is responsible for getting the necessary funds together to post bail.

Houston Jails Harris CountyIn Harris County it is estimated up to 77% of the jail is made up of persons accused (emphasis on accused) of crime and
awaiting trial. Many of these accusations (emphasis on accusations) are low-level, non-violent offenses. Those unable to afford bail are left to sit. Mass incarceration.

Looking for the quickest exit, jail residents ignore collateral consequences attached to a criminal conviction by pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit. Doing so ensures they can get back to their homes, families, and jobs. It is a primary reason 95% of arrests end with a plea of guilty and is used to keep the court’s docket moving. Confined without trial.

In the last ten years, there have been nearly 200 deaths reported in the Harris County Jails. Knowing 77% of the jail is made up of Houstonians awaiting trial, 150 of those deaths are likely people with no business being in jail at all. These deaths have come at the hands of other inmates, uninhabitable conditions, disease, suicides, understaffed jails, and negligence.

The Axis Powers: Bail and Bail Conditions

The eradication of the presumption of innocence does not end once bail is posted. Certain accusations, carry with them bail conditions. Conditions the Texas Court of Appeals has held are necessary to secure the accused’s presence at trial, the safety of the victim, or the safety of the community. Burson v. State, 202 S.W.3d 423, 425 (Tex. App. – Tyler 2006, no pet.).

Take the real-world example below. One person has been convicted of Driving While Intoxicated and sentenced to a year probation. The other has been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, posted bond, and been given bond conditions. Neither person has any prior criminal history. Disturbing is the inability to tell the difference.

accused-convicted-texas_1

Progressive leaders and civil right lawyers have recently made a strong push to rid of bail. As a result, many states have turned to personal recognizance bonds for an alternative. While this is a step in the right direction, as bail slowly diminishes pre-trial bond conditions are becoming more prevalent. When one door closes, another opens. Interlock devices, like the example from the DWI above, are cash cows with huge financial incentives.

Assume every person accused of DWI in Texas was ordered to have an interlock device as a condition of bail:

  • Number of DWI arrests in Texas in 2015: 65,609
  • Average Length of Time DWI is on court’s docket: 3 months
  • Avg. Interlock Monthly Maintenance and Calibration Fee: $60
  • (Monthly Fee * Docket Length) * # of DWI arrests = Total Interlock Fees.
  • ($60 * 3) * 65,609 = $11,809,620.00 a year in interlock fees.

Throw in installation fees and that number grows.For interlock providers and investors business is good. Real good. As long as financial incentives outweigh the true purpose of justice, the system will be flawed. As long as we fail to make a difference, innocent lives will be adversely impacted. The writing is on the wall. Act, before it’s too late.

As long as financial incentives outweigh the true purpose of justice, the system will be flawed. As long as we fail to make a difference, innocent lives will be adversely impacted. The writing is on the wall. Act, before it’s too late. Act, before someone you care about, has their number called. Act, before your number is called.

Old School Way

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_VectorGraphic

September 30, 2016

A former basketball player has come and gone from the nearby office. Once a tough kid living in unforgiving circumstances, he was shown an alternative way, one that doesn’t end in prison or death. The visitor is just one of many that drop by weekly to say hello, seek advice, or give thanks to the person responsible for saving their life. Inside the office, the décor mirrors the resident, the result of removing an Italian from New York into the heart of the South fifty years ago. If the main course is spaghetti, the dessert is apple pie. Nearly forty-five years of devotion to criminal law spill over the edge of the Texas-sized desk in the form of statutes, files, and ineligible yellow legal pads.

With each blog deadline approaching, I walk next door and ask,Old School Criminal Lawyering in Houston, Texas

“Want to write a blog this month?”

I know the answer. He has much to tell, but the old school in him won’t allow it.

“I don’t blog.”

Since joining his practice nine years ago, I have been fortunate to soak up seven years experience as an Assistant District Attorney during the Johnny Holmes era. I can smell the cigar smoke on Judge Jimmy Duncan’s breath as he denies another objection. I can hear the former client’s voice seeking advice on entering witness protection. The lawyer had acquitted him of one murder; the government was willing to pardon him of fifteen. I can feel the emotional argument in front of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Yes, I am fortuitous to share offices with someone who constantly reminds me “he has forgotten more than I know.”

True to his word Sam Adamo (Sr.) has not blogged, nor do I expect a blog anytime soon. However, if you were a young (or older) attorney seeking advice, here are some things he would tell you.

I. “You can’t lose a client you never had.”

I remember one of the first cases I brought in. A consultation was scheduled, and the potential client was on his way. The contract was as good as signed. Toward the end of the meeting, the potential client said, “I plan on retaining your firm, but am meeting with two other attorneys. I’ll call you later tonight.” That call never came. The next day, I slammed open his office door, “Can you believe I lost that client.” Staring down at the Texas Penal Code he said, “You can’t lose a client, you never had.”

II. “That’s the Old School Way.”

We had just finished a two-week trial on an accusation carrying a punishment range of twenty-five to life. The jury acquitted our client, found him guilty of a lesser-included offense and assessed the minimum. For any criminal defense attorney, this was a victory, but our client’s family was still reeling from the one-word verdict. Standing in the elevator, another old-school attorney entered. He watched a portion of the trial and was no stranger to defending citizens accused of serious crimes. Unprovoked, he looked to the family and said, “Now that is why you hire those guys.” Sr. looked at me and said, “that’s the old-school way.”

Before social media and the Law Hawk. Before Google and Lexis Nexus, there were lawyers on the ground, front and center, paving the road for the next generation. Influential groups like the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association didn’t exist, and when they eventually formed carried little weight with government officials.

Whatever your niche is criminal, family, civil, there is another lawyer available at the click of a mouse. You will have consultations where the potential client has met or will meet with other attorneys. You will also field phone calls from potential clients looking for new representation. In short, there will be opportunities to voice your opinion about other attorneys. Keep it positive and keep it brief. Focus on what you can do, as opposed to what you feel the other lawyer cannot. The “other lawyer” has likely done more for you than you will ever know. “That’s the old-school way.”

III. “You can’t buy trust.”

Trust takes seconds to break and forever to repair. Be honest with judges and honest with district attorneys. It isn’t necessary to reveal all your cards but don’t tell the district attorney the sky is green when the dash-cam shows it is blue. Doing so will damage your credibility, hurt your case, and harm future cases.

Earn your client’s trust by communicating (and getting results). Tell them email is the best way to reach you (it typically is). Not only does email provide an effective means of communication, but also serves as useful evidence should the need arise. Gain your client’s trust by understanding their overall goal. You can’t provide a solution if you don’t know the problem.

Bonus: “Find one thing.”

People are different. Some we get along with better than others. In your practice, you have come across (or will come across) a client you have difficulty tolerating. When that happens, you need to find one thing you like about them and hold on to it. At trial, that “thing” will act as your guide while delivering a genuine message to the jury.

IV. “Win as if you’re used to it.”

If you have ever watched a sporting event, it is clear when the winner doesn’t win much. As a criminal defense lawyer, it is easy to get lost in fighting for the underdog. You’ve taken on the system, won, and now want to let the world know. No problem there, but do so with class. The district attorney you just humiliated on social media will be handling another one of your client’s cases shortly.

V. “Trust yourself.”

Watch other attorneys in trial. Go to CLEs. Pour over court transcripts. Ask questions. Learn. Get involved. Investigate. Over prepare, be confident, trust your instincts and above all trust yourself.

With many outstanding lawyers in Houston, this list will grow. Add on.

Playing the Odds: Why Every Family Should Have a Criminal Attorney on Speed Dial

You are a parent.

You take zero chances.

Your staff includes private tutors and coaches.

It includes insurance agents and doctors.

It should also include a criminal defense attorney.

“We don’t need a criminal lawyer; we aren’t criminals.”

Statistics from the National Survey of Youth show there is a 1 in 3 chance your child is arrested before age twenty-three. A startling and rather unspoken truth. Adolescent arrests have grown as a result of tough on crime legislation, harsh sentences, and an increase in government spending and police forces.

Family Criminal Attorney in TexasToday, everything is a crime. What you once knew as a slap on the wrists (a crime) is now a slap in cuffs. Rivalry week pranks are a crime. After school fights are a crime. The senior courting the sophomore can be a crime. The teacher your son daydreams of is now not only attainable but also a crime. Yes, your high school is a far cry from your teenager’s high school. So while the private coach trains your Olympic-bound child (1 in 662,000 chance) or the private tutor prepares your prodigy child for that perfect ACT score (1 in 14,000 chance), your family’s odds of needing a criminal defense attorney is significantly higher (1 in 3 chance).

“. . . but not my kid.”

Hopefully not, but honeymooners aren’t thinking about divorce (1 in 2 chance) either. The law, particularly criminal law, is intimidating. Public perception reserves criminal courtrooms for the nation’s bottom-feeders. However, step inside the criminal courthouse and you will see a different story. You will find people who are lost; angry and defiant people; people who suffer from mental disabilities; victims of physical and mental abuse; people with hidden drug and alcohol addictions; people who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time; and people with solid homes and good families. Sound Familiar?

A teenager’s struggle is real and adding to it is the criminal injustice justice system. A flawed system where lawmakers, officers, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys have all been guilty at times of getting it wrong and doing it wrong.
This hard reality led Lisa Green, author of “On Your Case: A Compassionate (and Only Slightly Bossy) Legal Guide for Every Stage of a Woman’s Life,” to emphasize the need for every parent of a teen to have a criminal defense attorney on speed dial. Legal insurance to protect children and parents who can be held civilly and criminally liable should the unexpected occur.

“If something comes up, it won’t, but if it does, I’ll find an attorney.”

You won’t have time. Suspected of unlawful activity, within seconds your child is whisked away to the principle’s office. There police officers and school officials wait. Cell phones are confiscated, backpacks are searched, and statements are made. Your teen’s constitutional rights ignored waived when they should have been protected. Protection in the form of preparation. Preparation by spending the time to find a trusted criminal attorney capable of educating your family on life-altering encounters with authorities.

Google Law Firm

“Okay, well I’ll just Google my question.”

You won’t have time, but let’s assume you did. When your teen needs medical attention, you call your doctor. Sure, you may check out WebMD (1 in 3 chance of being correct), with the caveat a qualified doctor is necessary to diagnosis, treat, and in serious instances save. If your teenager finds himself in a legal jam, Google equals not an attorney. Most legal information is not only vague but incorrect, written by second-year employees at John Doe Web Design, hung-over from last night’s “bro-fest.” Instead, a criminal attorney can quickly diagnosis, treat, and in serious instances save you and your family.

You are a parent.

You take zero chances.

Your staff includes private tutors and coaches.

It includes insurance agents and doctors.

It should also include a criminal defense attorney.

If not, may the odds be forever in your favor.

Driverless While Intoxicated: The Future of DWI in Texas

Houston Driverless DWI Criminal Attorney Future of Texas Intoxication CrimesJake Dunn proudly exited the heavy iron doors of the swanky upscale restaurant. His jaw aching from the photographs. His hand raw from the autographs. Earlier that day he had inked a multi-million dollar contract, making him one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Sliding his hand deep into the left pant pocket, he felt the keys his agent had delivered just hours ago. With a click, his six-figure fully-autonomous car was on its way.

In near silence, the car’s electric engine turned on. Snow white LED headlights illuminated the black pavement as the nineteen-inch wheels slowly rotated toward the car’s owner. The future of the auto industry willing and able to transport the future of the sport.

The driverless car approached the curb’s edge, and the Lamborghini doors swung open. The entourage piled in with their “lottery ticket” taking his place in the roomy back seat. The plan was to finish the celebration at an old city park. A place the longtime friends had spent hours on as kids dreaming of this very moment.

Office Kyle White’s car sat next to an empty park. It was 1:45 am Friday, and the adjacent street was about to dump fresh bait. The location was perfect. One bar after another lined the historic district. A known hot-spot for “thousand-aires” to boast about their latest deal, while emptying their wallets on cheap booze. Alcohol meant DWIs and the veteran officer was a paid assassin. Part of the DWI task force division trained and expected to make DWI arrests.

Gliding toward the park the driverless car switched lanes and changed speeds with ease. Champagne was poured without a drop hitting the suede interior. There was not a smoother ride on the road. Approaching the legendary playground, the vehicle’s automated system warned the passengers the park was closed. The advisory was unnecessary. The invincible crew knew the park’s hours and had always ignored them. Unassisted the car drifted into its selected parking spot. The doors opened and the entourage piled out. Before his size seventeens could touch the pavement, the star athlete heard the sound of squealing tires. Directly behind, red and blue lights flashed. A loud, authoritative voice came over the hip-hop music from the Bang & Olufsen speakers, “DO NOT MOVE!”

The officer was aware of autonomous cars. He vaguely recalled a three-hour course his department held on them not long ago. He couldn’t remember if he attended or not. He didn’t care. He never expected to come into contact with a self-driving car. The car’s ridiculous price tag meant one had a better chance of passing his field sobriety tests.
He wiggled his broad shoulders out from the driver side seat and exited the car. His walk exemplified confidence as he approached the “defendants.” The odor of alcohol dancing in his head. He didn’t know what type of car he stopped. It didn’t matter. From the looks of it, the driver had money, and he preferred wealthy defendants. Money meant jury trials. Jury trials meant time and a half.
“Whose vehicle is this?”
Jake mumbled, “It is mine, sir.”
“You been doing a little drinking tonight?”
The athlete’s stomach sank. But I wasn’t even driving?

At 5:30 am, sitting in his home office, Clyde Hatcher could hear one of his two cell phones buzzing. A prominent criminal defense attorney in town, he knew the meaning of an early morning phone call. He had a long list of high-profile clients and Alex Wright, the slick agent on the other line, was one of his best referral sources.
Before he put the phone to his ear, the defense attorney heard a frantic voice on the other line, “Our man got arrested for DWI.”
Clyde turned to the computer he had planned to replace for weeks. He slowly pulled up Texas Penal Code Section 49.04(a).

“A person commits an offense [DWI] if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.”

He scrolled further and Denton v. State appeared.

“A person operates a vehicle when the totality of circumstances demonstrate the person took action to affect the functioning of the vehicle that would enable the vehicle’s use.” 911 S.W.2d 388, 390 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995).

The law was clear in Texas; you could be arrested for DWI without the car ever moving.

There wasn’t much order to the court. The mad judge counting down the days to retirement had a tendency to show up well after docket-call. Criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors shuffled from one side to the other of the dated courtroom leaving stacks of files scattered in their wake. For months, Clyde believed the law was on his side. Texas DWI statutes had yet to catch up with technology and the state was unable to prove the element of “operating.” On top of that, there were multiple people in the car, how could the prosecution prove his client was the one “operating?”
Clyde had pushed hard for a dismissal, but the young assistant district attorneys disagreed and refused to budge.
An old-school criminal lawyer, Clyde knew the district attorneys had no choice. Political contributions and pressure ensured DWIs were treated differently. DWIs were a cash cow and this highly-publicized decision was coming down from above.
The case was going to trial.

The jury was ready. After six hours of deliberation, that followed two days of trial, including 16 hours of testimony from 7 witnesses, a thorough explanation of autonomous cars, after endless objections, rulings, sidebar gestures, and attorney arguments, the jury was ready. Determined to uphold their civic duty and follow the law each juror scribbled their name on the verdict form. The foreperson, Ms. Parker notified the court a verdict had been reached. The bailiff walked through the courtroom’s side door and into the hall to answer the jury’s call.
“That’s great. I’ll let the judge know.”
Of course, the bailiff already knew the jury’s verdict; he had his ear to the deliberation room for the last hour.
The lawyers expecting a “rush-hour verdict” were already sitting in the courtroom.
“All rise.”
The judge entered.
“Bring in the jury.”
Led by their foreperson one-by-one, the jurors shuffled in. Clyde was confident, but as usual avoided eye contact with the jurors. His experience taught him jurors were impossible to read, and he knew he would hear their answer soon enough.
“Have you reached a verdict?”, the mad judge asked.
“Yes, we have,” the foreperson replied.
The bailiff handed an envelope to the clerk, who passed it on to the judge. Opening the envelope the judge gazed down at the verdict form and read, “We the jury find the defendant, Jake Dunn…”