2018-2019 SMU Dedman School of Law Criminal Clinic Update

July 24, 2019:

3L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Jordan Burger, under the supervision of Mike McCollum, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law, successfully argued a motion to suppress blood test results in Dallas County Criminal Court. Burger, on behalf of a client charged with Driving While Intoxicated, argued that—under State v. Martinez, _____SW3rd _______; 2019 WL 1271173 (Tex. Crim. App. 2019), published March 29, 2019—the testing of the client’s blood was an unlawful second, separate search because the search warrant only authorized the collection of the blood. The Court granted the motion and suppressed all evidence related to, or arising out of, the blood, including the client’s 0.116 blood alcohol concentration.


April 16-18, 2019

3L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Briana Blackman, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Brook Busbee, represented a client charged with assault in a trial by jury in Dallas County Criminal Court. Blackman conducted the voir dire, cross-examination of the arresting officer and both civilian witnesses, and final argument. At trial, Blackman argued that the complaining witness was the true aggressor and that her client acted in self-defense. The jury disagreed and found the client guilty. 

 

Nikki Britten

April 17, 2019

2L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Nikki Britten, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor Mike McCollum, argued a motion to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court. Britten, on behalf of a client charged with Driving While Intoxicated with a blood test result of 0.174, argued that the police lacked the requisite reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop. Britten contended that law enforcement video footage of the client driving did not depict a traffic violation. The Court agreed, granted the motion, and dismissed the charge.

3L Katherine Lessing

February 26, 2019

3L Criminal Clinic student attorney Katherine Lessing, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, represented a client charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated based on a purported blood alcohol content of 0.094 at a trial by jury in Dallas Criminal Court. Lessing conducted voir dire, delivered the opening statement, examined witnesses, and made the closing argument. Lessing contended that the arresting officer improperly administered standardized field sobriety tests, exaggerated the client's driving factors, and overlooked instances of the client’s normal use of physical and mental faculties. The jury agreed and returned a not guilty verdict.

 

February 15, 2019

2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Hannah Minton, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to quash in Dallas County Criminal Court. Minton, on behalf of a client charged with assault, argued that the information improperly charged the client with multiple means of committing the crime. The Court partially granted the motion, requiring the State specify which means it intends to prove, while denying that the information was defective.

 

February 12, 2019

2L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Hannah Minton, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, successfully argued a motion to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court. Minton, on behalf of a client charged with failure to identify a fugitive, argued that the police lacked the requisite probable cause or exigent circumstances to justify their warrantless entry into the apartment where the client was located. Minton requested that the Court suppress any evidence obtained after the improper entry. The Court agreed, granted the motion, and the State dismissed the case.

January 14-16, 2019

3L Criminal Clinic Student Attorneys Briana Blackman and Charles Entsminger, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, represented a client charged with driving while intoxicated based on a blood alcohol content of .122 in a trial by jury in Dallas County Criminal Court. Blackman conducted voir dire and cross examination of the intoxilyzer operator while Entsminger conducted cross examination of the arresting officer and final argument. At trial, the defense argued that the arresting officer did not follow the correct procedure on the standard field-sobriety tests and that the intoxilyzer operator improperly administered the breath test. The jury disagreed and found the client guilty, but the Court reduced the client's probational period and court fees. 

Blerim Elmazi

November 14, 2018

3L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Attorney Blerim Elmazi, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to quash in Dallas County Criminal Court. Elmazi, on behalf of a client charged with evading arrest and detention, argued that the Stateimpermissibly charged his client with committing two different offenses at the same time and in the same count of the charging instrument. The Court denied the motion, but agreed to include an instruction at the close of evidence at trial requiring the State to identifying which of the two different offenses it was relying on. 

Matthew Grofman

November 13, 2018

3L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Matthew Grofman, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court. Grofman, on behalf of a client charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) second, argued that police video demonstrated a lack of probable cause to arrest the client for DWI. The Court disagreed and denied the motion.

October 22, 2018

3L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Bethany Echols, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professors of Law Brook Busbee and Mike McCollum, argued a motion to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court. Echols, on behalf of a client charged with a Driving While Intoxicated, argued that the police lacked the requisite reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop and probable cause for the arrest. Concerning reasonable suspicion, Echols argued that the reason for which the officer stopped the client did not constitute a traffic violation. On probable cause, Echols argued that the officer had not followed the appropriate standards when conducting the standard field sobriety tests. The Court disagreed and denied the motion. 

Matthew Grofman

October 19, 2018

3L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Matthew Grofman, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to dismiss in Dallas County Criminal Court. Grofman, on behalf of a client charged with driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or greater, argued that the State violated the client’s constitutional right to a speedy trial in failing to file an information until twenty-two months after arrest. The Court disagreed and denied the motion.

Kathryn Reed (not pictured)

October 12, 2018

3L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Attorney Kathryn Reed, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professor of law Mike McCollum, was prepared to argue a motion to suppress (MTS) in a driving while intoxicated (DWI) case. After the prosecutor expressed concerns about moving forward with the arguments, Reed successfully negotiated an offer whereby the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the DWI charge if Reed's client pled guilty to a lower charge of Obstruction of a Highway (Obstruction). The client agreed to the change and is set to plea in December to Obstruction with a dismissal of the DWI. 

October 12, 2018

3L Criminal Justice Clinic Student Bethany Echols, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professor of law Brook Busbee, argued a motion to quash in Dallas County Criminal Court. Echols, on behalf of a client charged with criminal mischief, argued that the charging instrument improperly charged her client with multiple means of committing the crime. The Court disagreed and denied the motion. 

August 27, 2018

3L Criminal Justice Clinic Atudent Attorney Austin Hamby, under the supervision of Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law Mike McCollum, argued a motion to dismiss in Dallas County Criminal Court. Hamby, on behalf of a client charged with driving while intoxicated second, argued that the State, in failing to charge an offense for a year after arrest, had violated the client's Constitutional right to a speedy trial. The Court disagreed, but opposing counsel complimented Hamby on his level of preparation. The case is set for a jury trial on September 25, 2018.