A petition for writ of mandamus was recently filed in the Texas Supreme Court with respect to a license suspension issued by the Court of Criminal Appeals. The petitioner complains that the CCA did not have authority to sanction his conduct, and that the sanction was excessive.
The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association has filed an amicus brief supporting the petitioner. The petitioner has also collected signatures of attorneys who support him. I know some of these lawyers, and to my knowledge, they have never handled a criminal appeal, let alone a post-conviction habeas petition in a capital case.
I am considering filing an amicus brief supporting the CCA's decision. Are there any former prosecutors out there who would be interested in joining and signing such a brief?
Can you link the supreme court page for the case?
You don't mention who the petitioner in the mandamus action is. Is my assumption that you are referring to the one year suspension the Court of Criminal Appeals issued against David Dow correct?
At the risk of stating the obvious, I would add that I doubt that the Texas Supreme Court will get involved in a challenge to an action by its sister court, the Court of Criminal Appeals. Besides the Court of Criminal Appeals certainly has the authority to enforce its own rules outlining its internal operating procedures and qualifications to appear before said Court.
Here is the docket link: http://www.search.txcourts.gov...n=15-0205&coa=cossup
The mandamus request challenging the Court of Criminal Appeals' decision is based on the false assumption that the Court of Criminal Appeals infringed on David Dow's ability to practice law. It clearly did not take away Dow's law license and instead merely took away his ability to practice before the Court of Criminal Appeals based on violation of that Court's own internal operating rules.
Moreover, I looked at the names of the attorneys who submitted amicus letters and noticed that very few of them have any criminal law experience at all, much less experience in regard to death penalty litigation.
Although practical considerations can come into play, it seems quite likely that the order of the CCA involved a criminal law matter. See Johnson v. Tenth Jud. Dist. Ct of Appeals, 280 S.W.3d 866 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008). The SC has no jurisdiction over criminal law matters under art. V, sec. 3(a) and the decision of the CCA would be final under art. V, sec. 5(a).
Dow, of course, can and probably will continue to work on cases before the court, he just must have someone else sign the documents for him. In any event, a lot of the wind was taken out of his sails when the CCA clarified the limited nature of its sanction on April 1. I have to doubt the SC will take issue with this statement: "If an attorney is unable or unwilling to abide by a court's rules, a court has the inherent power to disallow him from practicing before it."
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