This Week: January 21, 2016

This week we take an in depth look at the nation’s gambling laws and debate whether or not it is time to re-think the criminalization gambling. The biggest spotlight on gambling recently has been focused on the daily fantasy sports industry, specifically the two biggest companies: Draft Kings and FanDuel. Late last year the New York Attorney General issued an opinion in which he declared daily fantasy to be illegal gambling, not a game of skill as the companies have argued, and was able to convince a judge to grant a preliminary injunction to stop both companies from accepting entry fees and wagers or bets from New York residents. The ruling was stayed by a higher court pending further litigation, but the legal battles are just beginning. Nevada also issued a similar ruling and held that daily fantasy sports was a form of gambling and therefore required a state-issued license. Investigations are also pending in South Dakota, Washington and Tennessee.

Here in Texas, State Rep. Myra Crownover, R – Denton, sent a letter to Attorney General Ken Paxton late last year asking him to decide if daily fantasy sports is against Texas law. Following that request, a number of radio and TV commercials lobbying Texans to let Ken Paxton know how they feel about fantasy sports have inundated the airwaves and this week Ken Paxton issued his decision: Daily fantasy sports are an illegal form of gambling in Texas. Paxton’s opinion goes on to say that fantasy sites are “wrong in claiming and actual contest exception,” and that Texas only requires a “partial chance” for something to be considered gambling.

The daily fantasy industry is projected to rake in $14 billion in revenue by 2020 and the constant commercials being aired during televised sporting events have only served to make lawmakers and law enforcement take notice, but is it really gambling? We’ll ask our panel what they think.

In addition to our debate on gambling, we look at how Texas is preparing to license people to grow and sell medical marijuana, and also take a look at the defendant who fled the courthouse in the middle of his trial last week in Harris County and still got probation from a jury! Join us Thursday at 8pm for these stories and much more.

This Week: January 14, 2016

Mexican authorities recaptured Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. El Chapo is wanted in several U.S. jurisdictions for a number of federal drug trafficking offenses, and now it appears Mexico may be ready to extradite El Chapo to the U.S. to face those charges. This week we will debate the continued prosecution of cartel leaders by the U.S. and whether or not these prosecutions can be considered a success in the never-ending, and clearly unsuccessful “War on Drugs.”

Last week we discussed and debated Texas’ new open carry law on the show. This week we will continue to look at the new law and focus specifically the training and qualifications that go into getting a license from the State. There have been a number of people who have said that the current training and education standards to get a license are inadequate. Carl Shaw, a Captain with Harris County Precinct 1, will share his thoughts on the new law and whether or not current licensing standards are adequate. We will also take a look at Tanya Couch, the affluenza teen mother, and her request for a reduced bond amount, as well as the arrest of the leader of the Bandidos on federal charges here in Houston.

Be sure to join us this Thursday at 8pm and send us your questions and comments on Twitter and Facebook.

This Week: January 07, 2016

Happy New Year everyone!  We are excited to be back for an all new season of Reasonable Doubt.  A lot has happened in the two weeks since we last were on air including Texas’ new open carry law going into effect on January 1st.  The new law is certainly a source of heated controversy and that fire grew even bigger with the release of an advisory opinion last week by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson to all area law enforcement on how they may interact with individuals who are open carrying in order to ensure those individuals are doing so lawfully.  The DA’s office takes the position that officers should be able to approach and individual and make a determination if a person is licensed to carry a handgun in public.  This includes being able to approach a person who is carrying in public and ask that person to voluntarily produce their handgun license in accordance with Section 411.205 of the Texas Government Code.  Failure to produce the license, according to the DA’s office, should be considered reasonable suspicion to believe that the person might be illegally carrying a handgun.  We will take a hard look at the advisory opinion with our panel this week and get answers about the constitutional implications of the law and what it really means for people out on the street and their interactions with law enforcement.

This past week also brought us the flight and capture of the “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch and his mother setting up a potentially long extradition fight and an interesting scenario with Couch’s juvenile probation and a possible transfer to adult court; a new disciplinary decision in Texas finding that prosecutors owe a heightened duty to make timely disclosure to defense lawyers; and the interesting story making rounds on the internet about a woman who got out of a DWI because her body is a “brewery,” is this really possible?  These are just of few of the stories we will dig into this week with our guests HCCLA President JoAnne Musick and Board Certified DWI lawyer Doug Murphy.  Be sure to join us live this Thursday at 8pm and send us your questions and comments via Twitter and Facebook.

This Week: December 17, 2015

Another year goes into the books this week as we close out 2015 with our final show of the year, we promise you won’t want to miss it.  We have seen numerous instances of misconduct this year across the country by both prosecutors and law enforcement, as well as calls at the highest levels of government for the need to make dramatic changes to our criminal justice system.  Whether it is has been Washington D.C., Waco, or Waller County, we have covered it all and tried our best to analyze the issues and bring you guests that are involved in the front lines of these fights.  We hope you will continue to join us and spread the word about our show in 2016.

For our fall finale we will take a look at last week’s ruling by State District Judge Stacey Bond granting a defense motion to dismiss the case of Dr. Robert Yetman based on double jeopardy grounds.  Judge Bond ruled that during the trial of Dr. Yetman the defense’s motion for mistrial was provoked by prosecutorial misconduct; specifically violating a previously granted motion in limine and highly improper jury argument at the close of evidence which Judge Bond ruled was intended to goad the defense into moving for the mistrial.  While rulings such as this are rare, Judge Bond did the right thing and followed the law based on the facts.  Not surprisingly the Harris County District Attorney is standing by her ADAs saying that there was no misconduct, despite a record of evidence to the contrary.  We need more judges like Stacey Bond who are not afraid to follow the law ensure that justice is done for everyone in the system.

Also this week, we welcome criminal defense lawyers Mark Thiessen and Josh Hill to the program.  Mark and Josh just recently launched their own web-based show called High Class Whoop Ass where, among the many lessons given, you can learn how to defend yourself if you are caught staring down the barrel of a ensuing bar fight.  In addition to their legal prowess, Mark and Josh are experts in the martial arts and their lessons on self-defense are educational and entertaining.

I hope you will join us as we close out 2015 in high class style this Thursday at 8pm; you won’t want to miss it!.

This Week: December 03, 2015

We return to the air this week after the Thanksgiving break with another great slate of topics and guests.  While we were gone the Houston Chronicle published a large feature article on unsafe and unhealthy conditions at the Harris County Jail.  The jail has long been a black eye on the county following a large scale DOJ investigation within the last decade; multiple deaths of inmates; misconduct by jailers; constant overcrowding; and its well-publicized status as the largest mental health facility in the county.  The latest news on hazardous health conditions sadly is not a shock to those who have to work in the jail on a daily basis or those who have to visit loved ones there.  We should demand better of our county leaders.  They were elected to their positions to look out for the best interests of and protect the citizens of Harris County.  This report is a clear indication of a systemic failure that begins with County leadership.  Conditions like this should not be tolerated any longer and it is time for the County Commissioners to do something to fix this broken system.  What can be done to solve this issue?  We will ask our panel this week and debate whether or not a proposed plan to take management of the jail away from the sheriff’s department should be re-examined in light of this recent expose.

Also, as we head into the holiday season we will discuss law enforcement’s annual build-up of DWI enforcement troops on our roads.  Find out your rights if you are pulled over and what you need to know should you find yourself defending a DWI prosecution.  Plus, last week we saw President Obama pardon yet another turkey for Thanksgiving, but is there a better and more meaningful way that he and his successors can use the power of the presidential pardon?  These topics and much more when we hit the airwaves this week on Reasonable Doubt this Thursday at 8pm!