Overview


The Client

Before Landon Thompson is hired to represent someone accused of a crime, the first thing Landon Thompson does is get to know the client and understand them, building a relationship so that he can communicate effectively. As with any two people, there are many obstacles to overcome before there can be clear communication, and if the two people don’t overcome the obstacles, they can’t communicate. If a lawyer and his client can’t communicate, then there is a problem. The most important aspect of a criminal case is the client’s view. The most important part of communication is listening. Landon Thompson listens so he can understand the client’s position and provide the best legal advice.

Investigation! Power is Key!

After Landon Thompson has read the offense report, he will begin his own investigation of the case. He will interview key witnesses, find any witnesses not named in the offense report, consult with other witnesses on the meaning of the physical evidence, visit the scene of the crime and seek out documentary evidence.

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Landon H. Thompson will personally do the investigation and use investigators with a wide range of expertise to do the rest. By the time the case goes to trial, Landon H. Thompson will know more about the case than anyone in the courtroom.

Reviewing

A criminal case report is often our starting point for learning about the facts of the case. In Texas, a criminal case offense report is not available to the public while the case is pending, but in most counties, it is available to the lawyer representing the defendant. The report provides a summary of the investigation conducted by the police, including statements of witnesses and a description of physical evidence. 

 Trial Preparation

Regardless of when his client is indicted, Landon H. Thompson will be prepared for trial. He will keep the lines of communication open with the government on the possibility of a plea bargain if the client thinks there is any possibility of one. He can anticipate the problems that might arise in each phase of trial and find ways to avoid or overcome those problems. He will prepare opening statements and a closing argument, and consider the issues he will want to discuss with potential jurors. He will organize his files by witness, so when the prosecution presents a witness he will be prepared with all of the papers related to that witness for cross examination. 

Landon H. Thompson will also make sure that any witnesses who will testify in his client’s favor will be available at trial, either by agreement or by subpoena. He will prepare important witnesses, including his client, if there is any chance that they will testify for both direct examination questioning by Landon H. Thompson and cross examination questioning by the prosecutor.

He will file any necessary motions requesting the judge to order discovery or suppress evidence.

The phases of a trial in a Texas Criminal Case are usually:

  • Jury Selection
  • Opening Statements
  • Governments Case
  • Defendants Case
  • Closing Arguments
  • Felony Cases

In Texas the most common types of felony in order of severity are:

  • State jail felony – six months to two years in state jail;
  • Third degree felony – two years to ten years in prison;
  • Second degree felony - two years to ten years in prison;
  • First degree felony – five years to life in prison;
  • Capital murder – life in prison or death.

There are also habitual felonies: 25-life for a first, second, or third degree felony with two prior felony convictions, as well as 15-life felonies, a first degree felony with a prior felony conviction for example, or possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute.

In Texas, many people charged with felonies are eligible for probation either from the judge or from the jury.

A person charged with an aggravated offense can get probation from the jury if they have not been previously convicted of a felony or on felony probation, if the jury sentences them to less than 10 years in prison, and can get deferred adjudication probation from the judge.

A person charged with a non-aggravated offense other than a state jail felony can get probation from the jury with the same conditions, as well as getting either probation or deferred adjudication probation from the judge. Eligibility for probation does not necessarily mean that the person will receive probation.

A person with a prior felony conviction or felony probation cannot get probation from the jury, but can get deferred adjudication probation from the judge.

Misdemeanor Cases

Misdemeanor cases are not given as much attention as felony cases because there is not as much jail time attached. People with misdemeanor convictions, including deferred adjudication probations, often find that they have trouble getting jobs and renting apartments.

Government agencies often use misdemeanor convictions for offenses involving dishonesty to deny people licenses for occupations that require licensing. For example: nursing or private investigation.

A misdemeanor conviction may also make you a vulnerable to future unfounded charges, because misdemeanor convictions may be used to enhance the seriousness of any future charges. For example, if you are convicted of family violence assault and then later charged with another family violence assault, the second charge is considered a felony.

Misdemeanor cases may also affect the immigration status of people who are not U.S. citizens.

Because of the serious consequences that can result from misdemeanor convictions, Landon H. Thompson will treat misdemeanor cases as seriously as he will treat felonies, and prepare to defend the misdemeanors as though the client is facing prison. Many prosecutors do not treat misdemeanors as seriously and do not prepare as thoroughly as Landon H. Thompson does.