houston criminal defense

Former Prosecutor Disbarred After Presenting False Testimony in Death Row Case

Texas remains third on the list of states with the highest number of death row inmates. But in 2015, new death sentences reached their lowest point since 1976. This was the year that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Texas’ revised death penalty statute. However, prosecutors are still fighting for unfair death-row sentences in a completely illegal manner. One recent case of false testimony illustrates this.

Anthony Graves was sentenced to death in 1994 for the murder of six people. He spent 18 years in prison, with 12 of those years on death row. But Graves wasn’t guilty and he wasn’t the right person to be sentenced to death.

Although Graves conviction was overturned in 2006, he wasn’t exonerated till 2010. Several pieces of evidence lead to his exoneration.

The prosecutor in Graves’ case, Charles Sebesta “failed to provide several items of exculpatory evidence to the defense during Graves’ trial, presented false testimony to the jury, made a false statement of material fact to the trial judge and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Recently, the State Bar of Texas made the decision to disbar Sebesta. But yet, disbarring Sebesta can only go so far as to right the wrongs of Sebesta.

Corso Law Group knows the facts about death row sentences. They know why cases with certain evidence should be not be legal in the first place. In Graves’ case, the prosecution presented evidence that should have never been accepted.

Our firm seeks to fix this problem. It’s the main reason our criminal defense attorneys always fight for our client’s rights.

For life-altering, difficult situations, an experienced, aggressive defense attorney is crucial. Having a criminal defense attorney who also has prior prosecutorial experience is an advantage.

Our firm knows how prosecutors operate and we fight to defend your rights.

Graves experienced unimaginable suffering. He served 18 years in prison, thinking he was going to be executed for a crime he didn’t even commit.

Corso Law Group operates in a different way. Our focus is to help the person, not just the client.

3 Reasons Criminal Defense Law Firm Reviews Matter

Our Houston defense attorneys work to provide a fair and aggressive defense for each client. We understand that every case is different and each client requires our undivided attention and skills in order to attain a favorable outcome. We’ve found that our client reviews have positively reflected this, showing potential clients that these reviews do indeed matter.

They reveal who the criminal defense attorneys are behind the firm

Brent A.  – Corso Law Group review: “I had a great experience with this law firm. I recommend them to everyone. My legal team was experienced and worked hard for me. If you need a lawyer, consider this firm. I liked the fact that they were dependable and always had the answers. I was living out of state at the time and it was important for me that I knew my lawyer and team had everything under control.”

We understand that it can be difficult to fully understand who your criminal defense attorney is solely from the firm’s website. Client reviews present personal attributes of the attorneys, revealing that they are dependable and trustworthy, or possess other desirable traits you seek when hiring a criminal defense attorney. 

They help you understand the firm’s process for their clients

Juan P. – Corso Law Group review: “The lawyers were able to assist me with questions I had regarding getting my old charges cleared. I got to go in for a personal consultation with the owner, and within a couple weeks they had taken care of my record for me. Every step of the way I was notified and if I had any questions, I could call at any time. Wonderful staff. I would recommend.”

One of the most important aspects about the criminal defense firm you decide to hire is understanding their process for assisting their clients. Are they quick to respond to you? Do they lead you through each and every step of your case? Their process should revolve around you and the situation you’re in, not them. Client reviews reveal how consistent, effective and motivated a firm is through the way they assess and then act on your case.

They provide proof of success

Paul B. – Corso Law Group review: “Because of their experience and professionalism, my charges were reduced to one from three and the one was reduced to a reasonable outcome. The circumstances of my mistake could have been much worse. I salute this firm. Thank you.”

No one wants to hire a law firm that isn’t good at what they do. Take the time to read each review and see if the outcomes are in line with what that client expected and received. Your criminal defense attorney should be experienced in the field your case is in and present proven successes to you up front.

Driving on the Holidays is Dangerous, But Which Holidays Are The Worst?

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, and brings not only drunk drivers, but widespread opportunity for a range of traffic violations.

Law enforcement is well aware of this increase and makes a significant number of arrests each year starting on Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. How many people does this affect? In 2013, Texas DPS cited almost 390 DWI arrests, just over 700 child seat belt citations, over 800 lack of insurance citations and issued almost 6,850 speeding violations during the Thanksgiving period alone.

As experienced DWI and traffic attorneys, Corso Law Group understands the challenges of holiday travel. A combination of holiday stress, alcohol use, adverse weather conditions and increased law enforcement on the roads results in more arrests, accidents and traffic violations during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations than any other time of year.

Thanksgiving

Increased travel during the Turkey holiday creates high-risk situations for drivers on the roads. Last year, AAA predicted 46.3 million people would be driving on the roads nationwide, averaging a travel distance of at least 50 miles from their homes.

Additional drivers can lead to a higher number of accidents and sometimes, deaths. Based upon previous data and research, The National Safety Council estimated 418 traffic fatalities during the 2014 holiday.  As for alcohol-related crashes, 40 percent of highway deaths were due to drunk driving during the holiday period according to MADD. In Texas specifically, more car crash fatalities occurred on Thanksgiving than any other holiday with a total of 55 deaths.

Christmas

Shortly after Thanksgiving, yet another period of celebration arrives – Christmas. While most of us regard the holidays as a fun time, studies have found that not everyone is stress-free during this holiday. According to a survey completed by State Farm, 32 percent of drivers in the U.S. showed greater signs of either road rage or aggression during the holidays.

Drinking also increases during Christmas and the days following. From just the few days spanning between Christmas to New Year’s Eve, studies show a 12 percent increase nationally in traffic related deaths involving a drunk driver than for the entire month of December.

New Year’s Day

The New Year is often celebrated with parties and alcohol, which can lead to dangerous roads when people don’t take the proper precautions and plan ahead. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, New Year’s Day presented the highest percentage of alcohol-related deaths with 42 percent of traffic deaths having to do with drinking and driving. The first day of the year is technically even worse for drunk driving accidents than New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Day is also listed as the number one day for holiday car theft, with Christmas ranking last.

Holidays are a busy time of the year, especially falling on weekends where alcohol-related accidents are more common. With an increased amount of law enforcement out during the holidays, DWIs and other traffic violations are more likely to happen. At Corso Law Group, we deal with these types of cases every day, helping our clients fight for their rights. If the holidays have you in a difficult position, we’re here to help.

Why a Public Defender Isn’t Enough

Gideon’s Law states that under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, every state has an obligation to provide counsel in criminal cases to represent those defendants who can’t afford to hire a private attorney.

However, many people have a misunderstanding of the public defense system and do not realize that choosing a public defender over a private attorney can be very hurtful to the outcome of their case resulting in a higher chance of being convicted as well as more severe punishment during sentencing.

Anyone who is in need of a defense lawyer should consider every aspect of using the public defense system. There are some serious issues plaguing the system including the fact that public defense lawyers are given hundreds upon hundreds of cases over the course of a year. This only allows lawyers enough time to spend 2 hours or less on each case.

In some cases a public defender technically has only minutes to spend on each assigned case and is given more than 800 cases annually. More than half of the countries legal systems also prevent public defenders from refusing to take on additional new cases.

With such minimal amount of time dedicated to each client, many defendants are simply encouraged to enter a guilty plea for the sake of resolving the case even if they might have otherwise had a relatively high chance of successfully fighting the charges against them.

Another large issue with the public defense system is a severe lack of funding. The result is that defenders do not have the necessary means to access certain resources that could make or break a case such as legal research, investigators and field experts.

More importantly, due to the problems with funding, those who are under the impression that they will save loads of money by using a public defender may be disappointed after finding themselves having to pay high amounts of court fees.

According to NPR, there has been a huge growth in the use of court fines and fees to finance the criminal justice system and other state programs. An NPR survey found that 43 states require defendants to pay fees in order to have a public defender represent them in court.

With a private attorney, there is no need to be concerned about those issues that are all too common in the public defense system. Opting to hire a private attorney gives the defendant a greater fighting chance of winning their case and saves him/her from having to worry about whether or not they are receiving the best representation in court.

Private attorneys have the education, time and resources to spend working each client’s case and will fight to get the best outcome possible in court.