2020-2021 SMU Dedman School of Law Criminal Clinic Update

Durst

April 12, 2021
2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Jacob Durst, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Mike McCollum and Debbie Sanchez, successfully obtained a dismissal on behalf of a client charged with criminal trespass in Dallas County Criminal Court. Durst convinced the prosecutor that because roughly two years had passed since the client’s alleged offense, and nearly 18 months since the arrest, the State had violated the client’s right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment. As a result, the prosecutor motioned to dismiss the charge, which the Court granted.

Alexis FowlerViator

April 8, 2021
2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorneys Alexis Fowler and Kendall Viator, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professor of law Debbie Sanchez, successfully argued for the continuation of probation during a motion hearing in Dallas County Criminal Court. The State had filed a motion to revoke probation and proceed with an adjudication of guilt, alleging that Fowler and Viator's client had violated probation terms from a previous offense. Were the Court to grant the State's motion and adjudicate guilt, the client faced the possibility of confinement for between 5-99 years. After the client admitted violating probation, Fowler examined the client under oath to provide the Court with mitigation evidence related to those violations. Viator then argued, based on those mitigating factors, that continuing the client's probation (as opposed to revocation and imposing jail time) was appropriate. The Court agreed and continued the client's probation.

McCartyNot pictured

April 1, 2021
2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorneys Daniel McCarty and Braden Burleson, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Debbie Sanchez and Mike McCollum, successfully negotiated for a continuance of a client's felony probation. The State had filed a motion to revoke probation and proceed with an adjudication of guilt on grounds that the client had allegedly violated the terms of probation from a previous offense. With the client facing the possibility of up to twenty years confinement, McCarty and Burleson met in-person with the Court’s Probation Office and the Assistant District Attorney and negotiated a one-year probation extension. The State agreed to withdraw their motion and the client's probation continued pursuant the negotiated agreement, all within twenty-four hours of the Criminal Clinic's appointment.

Viator

Not pictured

March 18, 2021
2L’s Kendall Viator and Braden Burleson, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law, Mike McCollum and Debbie Sanchez, successfully negotiated a plea agreement in a Dallas County Criminal District Court. The State had filed a motion to adjudicate guilt, alleging that Viator and Burleson’s client had violated the terms of probation from a previous offense. Were the Court to grant the State’s motion, the client faced the possibility of confinement for up to one year. Before the probation revocation hearing, Viator and Burleson negotiated a plea agreement whereby the State struck or dismissed two of the probation violation allegations, which facilitated the client pleading true to the remainder in exchange for confinement time already served. The Court accepted the plea, and the client was released and no longer on probation.

Freeman

Shah

March 18, 2021
2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorneys Gopika Shah and Tyler Freeman, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Mike McCollum and Debbie Sanchez, successfully argued for the end of a probationary period during a motion hearing in Dallas County Criminal District Court. The State had filed a motion to adjudicate guilt, alleging that Shah and Freeman's client had violated the terms of probation from a previous offense. Were the Court to grant the State’s motion, the client faced the possibility of confinement for up to two years. Shah and Freeman negotiated a plea of true to the State’s probation violation allegations that resulted in the client being credited with extensive back time for confinement already served. The Court accepted the plea and ended the client’s probation.

McCarty

March 17, 2021
2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Daniel McCarty, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Debora Sanchez and Mike McCollum, successfully obtained a dismissal on behalf of a client charged with theft of property in Dallas County Criminal Court. McCarty successfully leveraged his client's completion of a community service program, proof of employment, and a restitution payment in discussions with the Assistant District Attorney (ADA). The Court then granted the ADA's motion to dismiss.

DurstMcCarty

March 11, 2021
2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorneys Jacob Durst and Daniel McCarty, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Debbie Sanchez and Mike McCollum, successfully argued for the continuation of probation during a motion hearing in Dallas County Criminal District Court. The State had filed a motion to revoke probation and proceed with an adjudication of guilt on grounds that Durst and McCarty’s client had violated probation terms rom a previous offense. Were the Court to grant the State’s motion and adjudicate guilt, the client faced the possibility of confinement for 2-10 years. After the client admitted the probation violation, Durst examined the client under oath to provide the court with mitigation evidence related to those violations. McCarty then argued, based on those mitigating factors, that continuing the client's probation (as opposed to revocation and imposing jail time) was appropriate. The Court agreed and continued the client’s probation.

DurstLili McEntire

March 8, 2021
2L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Jacob Durst, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professor law Mike McCollum and with the assistance of 3L Clinic Chief Lili McIntire, secured more favorable terms under a plea deal in Dallas County Criminal Court. McIntire negotiated a reduction of charge from DWI to Obstruction of a Highway, to which the client pled no-contest, in exchange for 12 months deferred probation and paying a fine. Durst then assisted the client by gaining even more favorable plea terms, successfully arguing for a decrease in probation fees, that the client's past community service hours be counted towards the probation requirements, and for unsupervised probation following the payment of court costs and fees. The Court accepted the modified agreement.

FletcherFreeman

March 4, 2021
Criminal Clinic Student Attorneys 3L Douglas James Fletcher and 2L Tyler Freeman, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Mike McCollum and Debbie Sanchez, successfully argued for the continuation of probation during a motion hearing in Dallas County Criminal District Court. The State had filed a motion to adjudicate guilt, claiming that Fletcher and Freeman's client had violated the terms of probation from a previous offense. Were the Court to grant the State’s motion, the client faced confinement for 2-20 years. Fletcher conducted a direct examination of the client to introduce mitigating evidence that uncontrollable circumstances stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic led to the probation violation. Freeman then argued that because of that mitigation evidence the State had failed to meet its burden of persuasion. The Court agreed and continued the client’s probation.

Lili McEntire

December 7, 2020
3L Criminal Clinic Student Lili McEntire, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Mike McCollum and Debbie Sanchez, successfully argued two motions to suppress in Dallas County Criminal Court on behalf of a client charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and the unlawful carry of a weapon. McEntire argued that the Court should suppress evidence of the traffic stop as the arresting officers lacked reasonable suspicion. Following the traffic stop, officers searched the client's vehicle and recovered a weapon. McEntire contended that as the traffic stop was illegal, that the Court should suppress the weapon as the results of a warrantless, non-consensual search. The Court agreed and granted both motions. On December 16th, the Court approved the State's request to dismiss both charges.

Mitchell Kilmer

November 30, 2020
3L Criminal Clinic Student Attorney Mitchell Kilmer, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Mike McCollum and Debbie Sanchez, argued a motion to suppress on behalf of a client charged with DWI in Dallas County Criminal Court. Combining multi-media video with a power point presentation for the first time in a Criminal Clinic motion to suppress, Kilmer argued that the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to detain the client. The court agreed and granted the motion to suppress. On December 10, 2020, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charge.

sebesta

October 19, 2020

3L Criminal Clinic Student Christopher Sebesta, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professors of law Mike McCollum and Debbie Sanchez, negotiated a dismissal on behalf of a client charged with theft in Dallas County Criminal Court. Sebesta filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the charging instrument failed to provide adequate legal notice and then leveraged the motion to prompt a discussion with the prosecutor who subsequently dismissed the charge.

Shaw

October 23, 2020

3L Criminal Clinic Student Jacob Shaw, under the supervision of adjunct clinical professor of law Debbie Sanchez, successfully argued for a personal recognizance bond during a bail review hearing in Dallas County Criminal Court. Shaw, on behalf of an incarcerated client whose cash or surety bonds were set at $1000 for DWI, $500 for Terroristic Threat, and $500 for Criminal Trespass, argued that his indigent client should receive a personal recognizance bond for all three charges. The Court agreed and Shaw's client was released upon promise to appear at the next court date. The bail review hearing was a new process for the Criminal Clinic and resulted from long term COVID lock-down requirements Dallas County Courthouse implemented. Wanting to ensure that the Criminal Clinic captured the lessons learned, Shaw also prepared and delivered an presentation on the bail review hearing process to his fellow student attorneys.