News & Media


Governor Abbot embraces giving former improsined a second chance

August 19, 2019 –

Current Texas law allows cities to "ban the box," a policy that prohibits private employers from using criminal history to weed out possible employees early in the hiring process.

"We want every man and woman in this state to have their own chance at the unique brand of economic prosperity that Texas offers. It doesn’t matter if you have an arrest record, we want you to have a job," said Abbott. Click here for more information.

GovernorTexas Governor Criminalizes University "Sex Jokes"

June 17, 2019 – The College Fix

Austin – Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed provisions into Texas law that will use criminal law to enforce the Obama administration’s unconsittutional definition of campus sexual harrassment. Their practical effect will be scaring faculty and other university employees into reporting any "sex-based" conduct or speech that may be "unwelcome" to someone at their campus. That includes overheard sex jokes.

SB 212 threatens termination and up to six months in jail for any campus employee who "witnesses or receives information" – that means hearsay – that may count as sexual harassment under this exceedingly broad definition and fails to report it to the Title IX apparatus. Click here for more information.

BLF ImageRed light camera ban: What happens next?

June 3, 2019 –

"I'm about to sign this bill that bans red light cameras in Texas," he said on a video posted to his personal Twitter account.

The law says cities may continue to operate their red light camera programs until their contracts are over. However, cities like Fort Worth and Haltom City said they've already terminated those contracts. Grand Prairie says the physical cameras are still up, but they're not active and "no violations will be issued after May 31, 2019." Click here for more information

John CreuzotDallas County DA John CreuzotTexas prosecutors want to keep low-level criminals out of overcrowded jails

May 21, 2019 – The Texas Tribune

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot announced policy reforms last month that he said would be "a step forward" in ending mass incarceration in Dallas. His plans include decreasing the use of excessively high bail amounts and no longer prosecuting most first-time marijuana offenses.

But part of his plan included a decision not to prosecute thefts of personal items under $750 that are stolen out of necessity. Immediately, Creuzot came under fire from state officials and police leaders who said the policy was irresponsible and would encourage criminal activity.

Creuzot said he didn’t arbitrarily pick that $750 threshold — that’s the value of stolen items that state law dictates will result in people being charged with no more than a Class B misdemeanor.

"I’ve been in criminal justice for 37 years, and I’ve seen people steal because they’re hungry, and I’ve seen the system react where the cases are dismissed or react in a more harsh manner where incarceration is requested," Creuzot said. "But the reality of it is putting a person in jail is not going to make their situation any better." Click here for more information.

Supreme CourtA Texas death penalty case shows the absurdity of the worst crime bill from the ’90s.

May 20, 2019 – The Washington Post

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to take up a case in which a Texas judge ruled for the prosecution in a death penalty case by simply signing the prosecution’s brief with her own name. That isn’t even all that uncommon. In some parts of the country, it’s routine. But in this case, the judge did so without even bothering to read the legal arguments and new evidence offered by the defense. She couldn’t have, because she didn’t bother waiting for the defense to file them. And yet according to the Texas appeals courts, a federal judge and a federal appeals court, the judge’s actions aren’t reviewable. Click here to continue reading.

Dallas County District AttorneyPolice Need To Do A Better Job Turning Over Evidence, Dallas DA Says. Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot is backing a bill that requires officers to turn over all evidence..

May 14, 2019 - WFAA.Com

DALLAS — Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot is backing a bill that requires police officers to turn over all evidence and information that could prove someone’s innocence.

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Royce West, has passed the state Senate.

Not turning over all the evidence could lead to delays in trials, cases being overturned and — in worst case scenarios — wrongful convictions.

"What this bill does is require [police] to follow the law and give us the evidence that we have to follow the law to give to the defense," Creuzot said.

The district attorney hopes the new bill is passed into law as part of criminal justice reform that keeps innocent people out of prison.

There have been 40 exonerations in Dallas County since 2001, including two Friday.

Stanley Mozee and Dennis Allen spent 14 years in prison for a murder they did not commit. They were sentenced to life in prison in 2000. Click here for more information.

image oneFort Worth Man Spent 19 Years in Prison. Now a Court Has Overturned His Conviction.

May 10, 2018 - Ft. Worth Star Telegram

Fort Worth, Texas - FORT WORTH

Locked away 19 years for the deadly stabbing of a Bedford woman, John Nolley has spent the past two years working to clear his name.

Nolley was released from prison on May 17, 2016, the result of a joint effort by the Conviction Integrity Unity in the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, established in 2015, and the Innocence Project.

On Wednesday, Nolley took another step toward ultimately clearing his record when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest criminal court in the state, overturned his murder conviction.

Barbieri Joins Texas AG Paxton Defense Team
The Dallas Morning News

Attorney Image
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded his legal team that will defend him against charges of securities fraud in Collin County.

The Republican announced that he has selected... Heather Barbieri of Plano, who will serve as Paxton's counsel in Collin County. Barbieri was named 2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Click here for full article.

News Media Image Trial Lawyer Talk: Plano Lawyer Heather Barbieri
September 2016

In this episode Scott talks to Heather Barbieri, a criminal defense lawyer from Plano, TX. Ms. Barbieri practices in the reddest county in the reddest state in the country. She tells Scott about a case she had to try multiple times in order to succeed.

BillboardBehind the Real-Life Unsolved Murder Case that Inspired Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

April 20, 2018 - People Magazine

Vidor, Texas - The Oscar-winning drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - starring Frances McDormand as a grief-stricken mother made furious by law enforcement's failure to solve her daughter's homicide - was inspired by a 27-year-old murder case in Texas that remains unsolved.

Investigators have now doubled the reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the killing of 34-year-old Kathy Page.

On May 14, 1991, Page, reportedly a mother and waitress, was found dead inside her car in Vidor, Texas - but her death was no accident, state authorities say. Click here to read the full story.

EvidenceMore States Forcing Prosecutors to Hand Over Evidence -- Even When It Hurts Their Case

In a criminal trial, it's important to present all the evidence. That seems obvious enough. Indeed, since a 1963 Supreme Court ruling, prosecutors have been required to hand over evidence they uncover even when it might help the defendant. Failure to disclose such "exculpatory evidence" -- or "Brady material," named for the Supreme Court case -- is considered a violation of the defendant's constitutionally protected right to due process.

But that's not always how it works.

Despite the legal requirement to turn over exculpatory evidence, prosecutors sometimes sit on material they've collected, or they may not actively look for such evidence. Law enforcement agencies may not willingly provide it. Click here to read the full story.

death penalityNew Debate Over Death Penalty Unfolds in Texas

March 26, 2018 - Big Country Homepage

Austin - A revived discussion on how to apply the death penalty is unfolding in Texas, with some lawmakers analyzing how it's being imposed on defendants with serious mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click here to read the full story.

hurricaneTexas Inmates Donate More Than $53,000 for Harvey Relief

October 18, 2017 - Waco Tribune

Houston - Inmates serving time in Texas prisons found a way to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Officials said Texas prison inmates donated more than $53,000 from their commissary funds to the American Red Cross to be used for hurricane relief.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said more than 6,600 inmates donated money between Aug. 31 and Sept. 30. The commissary funds are usually used by inmates to buy food and supplies while they're incarcerated. Click here to read the full story.

Texas Schedules Execution But Refuses DNA Tests That Could Prove A Man's Innocence


September 27, 2017 - TheIntercept.Com

AUSTIN - In 2000, Larry Swearingen was tried for the murder of Melissa Trotter on January 2, 1999 in and sentenced to death.

Nearly 20 years after the murder, he maintains his innocence, and for more than a decade he has been fighting to clear his name, in part by repeatedly requesting that key crime scene evidence be subjected to DNA testing. While the state's case against him was built on circumstantial evidence, there was also a trove of physical evidence that prosecutors seemingly either ignored or dismissed. Click here to read the full story.

BLF ImageRed Light Cameras Across Texas May Be Operating Illegally

September 12, 2017 - KXAN.Com

AUSTIN - A KXAN investigation of how Red Light Cameras are installed in the 60 cities across Texas shows most all are not in compliance with state law-the law that gave cities the right to charge a civil fine for running a red light.

Before Sept. 1, 2007, there were no rules on how much Texas cities could charge for running a red light. There were no rules on how cities could contract with camera companies with respect to keeping cameras from being used to fill quotas and be turned into money makers for cities.

With the passage of Senate Bill 1119 in 2007, that all changed. Click here to read the full story.

Dallas Court Voids Tax Payer-Funded Six-Figure Attorneys Fee Invoice for Ken Paxton Prosecutors

August 21, 2017 -

News Article

AUSTIN - On Monday, August 21, the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas voided a $205,000 invoice dating back to January 2016, saying state laws and local rules did not allow the three special prosecutors to be paid the $300-an-hour rate they charged.

The prosecutors' attorney David Feldman confirmed Tuesday he would appeal the court's decision, but declined to comment on whether his clients would step down from the case due to nonpayment.

"We are delighted," said County Judge Keith Self, who sits on the commissioners' court.

Click here to read the full story.

News Article

Collin County Resident Accused of Pointing Gun at VC Clinic Receives Deferred Adjudication

August 22, 2017 -

DALLAS - Scott Preston, 68, who in October 2015 was charged with Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant after it was alleged he pointed a gun at an officer at a South Dallas VA clinic, received deferred adjudication in court today. The successful outcome was spearheaded by his attorney, Heather J. Barbieri. Click here to read the original story as reported by NBC 5.

Texas AG Ken Paxton Trial Set for December 11th in Houston


August 10, 2017 - HoustonPress.Com

HOUTSON - State District Judge Robert Johnson set Attorney General Ken Paxton's trial for December 11, 2017 in the 177th district court; jury selection will begin December 1st. Paxton appeared in court with his attorneys, Philip Hilder, Dan Cogdell and Heather Barbieri. Click here for full story and Paxton Video.

Heather Barbieri, trial attorney for Tx Attorney General Paxton, awaits trial date ruling from judge.

imageOMG! Texas Finally Bans Texting While Driving

August 8, 2017 - DallasNews.Com

AUSTIN - Beginning September 1, 2017, Texas will follow the lead of 46 states and the District of Columbia and enact a texting while driving ban statewide. Click here for full story.

"Second Chance" DWI Law to help Accused


July 10, 2017 - DallasNews.Com

AUSTIN - A new "Second Chance" Law allows citizens convicted of a DWI with a blood alcohol content less than 0.15 percent could be able to drive as long as they have an ignition interlock system installed in their car. Click here for full story.

ImageNew Judge Chosen To Preside Over Attorney General Paxton Case

June 14 , 2017 - Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN -- Judge Robert Johnson, a newly elected Democrat who ousted Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's son from his seat on the bench, was chosen Tuesday to preside over Attorney General Ken Paxton's ongoing cases. Click here for full article.

Texas Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Paxton, Legal TeamNews Media Image

May 30, 2017 - Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN -- The judge who decided Collin County was too political for Attorney General Ken Paxton to have a fair criminal trial lost his ability to oversee the case in Harris County, the 5th Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.Click here for full article.

News Media ImageTexas AG Paxton Slams Bid To Pause Securities Trial
March 13, 2017 - Law 360

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday hit back at a recent bid made by special prosecutors to delay a spring trial to determine whether he committed securities fraud by soliciting investments for a tech startup, saying the request violates his right to a speedy trial. Click here for full article.

News Media Image

US Supreme Court stops execution of Arkansas death row inmate

April 18, 2017 - ABC News

The Supreme Court denied a request by the state of Arkansas to carry out the execution of a death row inmate who was scheduled to die before midnight.

The court delivered its ruling early Tuesday morning denying a request to vacate a stay of execution for convicted murderer Don Davis. Click here for full article. Click here for full article.

News Media Image

Dates Set For Texas AG Trial, Change of Venue Granted

April 17, 2017 - Dallas News.Com

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton trial will be moved from Collin to Harris County, the judge presiding over the case announced.

"Harris County was selected because the lead counsel for the state and the defense are located there," Judge George Gallagher said in a prepared statement. Click here for full article.

News Media ImageBeware of Callers Posing as the IRS in Tax Scam
March 21, 2017 - TexasAttorneyGeneral.Gov

With the April 18th income tax deadline looming, Attorney General Ken Paxton is warning Texans to be aware of a recurring tax-related scam involving unsolicited calls from people masquerading as Internal Revenue Service agents. Scam artists tell consumers that they owe back taxes and threaten to have them arrested if they don't provide immediate payment. Click here for full article.

News Media ImageBill to Curb 'Wrongful Birth' Lawsuits Heads to Texas House
March 22, 2017 -

The Texas Senate has given final approval to a so-called "wrongful birth" bill seeking to prevent parents from suing doctors for malpractice after their child is born with severe disabilities.

Tuesday's vote sends Conroe Republican Sen. Brandon Creighton's proposal to the House. Click here for full article.