The Role of “Outcry Witnesses” in Texas Sex Crimes Prosecutions

February 21st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

Hearsay statements are generally not admissible in criminal trials. Hearsay refers to any out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. For example, if a prosecutor wanted to prove that John committed murder, she could not have Luke testify that “Mark told me that John committed the murder.” Luke’s statement would be […]

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What Is the “Rape Shield” Law in Texas?

January 27th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

In a criminal trial, the defendant has the right to introduce evidence that may serve to undermine the state’s case against them. This right is not unlimited, as there are a number of restrictions on the types of evidence that may be admissible at trial. One such restriction that specifically applies to defendants facing sex […]

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Understanding the Prosecution’s Duty to “Elect” in Sex Crimes Cases

December 20th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

When a person is charged with a sex crime, they have the right to understand the exact charge against them. But there are situations where prosecutors may allege one criminal sexual act in an indictment but present evidence of multiple acts at trial. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has said that in this situation, […]

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What Is “Grooming” Testimony, and How Does It Affect Sex Crimes Cases?

November 21st, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

In sex crimes cases, prosecutors often seek to introduce evidence of “grooming.” In broad terms, grooming refers to actions that sexual abusers take to gain the trust of their victims. And while grooming is not generally considered a complex topic, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has said prosecutors may rely on testimony from expert […]

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Is a Sex Crimes Confession Invalid If the Defendant Was Drinking or Using Drugs at the Time?

October 29th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

Houston-area law enforcement take sex crimes cases extremely seriously. Police and prosecutors have every incentive to secure a conviction for anyone accused of sexual assault, particularly when the victim is a child. With that in mind, if the police suspect you are the guilty party, you need to be mindful of your constitutional right to […]

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When Can You Withdraw a Guilty Plea in Texas?

October 2nd, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, Sex Crime

In many criminal cases, the defendant chooses to plead guilty to the alleged offense. But a defendant also has a constitutionally protected right to withdraw a guilty plea and seek a jury trial, provided they do so “in a timely manner.” So what is considered “timely”? According to a 2004 decision from the Texas Court […]

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Does a Person Accused of Rape Have the Right to Cross-Examine the Lab That Performed the Rape Kit?

September 24th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

DNA testing has become popular in recent years as a consumer product. Home kits promise the ability to learn more about your genetic background. But it is important to remember that DNA testing is not a toy or a game. It is a serious tool used by law enforcement to charge individuals with sex crimes […]

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How Civil Commitment of “Sexually Violent Predators” Works in Texas

August 22nd, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

When a person is convicted of sex offense or sex crime in Texas, their sentence does not necessarily end when they are released from prison. In addition to possibly needing to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life, in some cases the state can seek “civil commitment” of an offender if […]

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How Your Internet Search History May Be Used Against You in a Sex Crimes Trial

July 26th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

The Internet is a wonderful tool that allows access to information in an unprecedented manner. But it is an equally useful tool for prosecutors and police looking for evidence to convict a defendant. In particular, a defendant’s Internet search history often proves detrimental in the context of sex crimes and sexual offenses. Ex-Peace Officer Receives […]

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How a Prior Sex Crimes Conviction Can Land You in Jail for Life

June 24th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

A sex crimes charge in Texas takes on special weight if the defendant has a prior criminal record, even from another state. Under Section 12.42 of the Texas Penal Code, a defendant faces a life sentence if he is convicted of certain sex crimes and has a previous conviction “under the laws of another state […]

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