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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
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Experience:  25 years experience practicing attorney
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I was arrested in the city of Wharton, Wharton County, Texas

Customer Question

I was arrested in the city of Wharton, Wharton County, Texas and the DA's Office will not give me a copy of my charge or Complaint.

I was arrested for one count Stalking of my father-in-law and one count felony charge of Stalking my brother-in-law.

the charges are a joke, i was arrested and I am asking to see the charges or complaint so i might put a package together for the grand jury and NO-Bill my charges but the DA says, "NO" they will not give me anything until after Grand Jury and I am indicted, then they will let me see what complaint was filed against me to get me arrested.

if i was in Houston, TX i could go online the next day after being arrested and get the Complaint. Why is Wharton, TX not following the law of public information or public records and letting me see my charges?

thank you,

King
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 3 years ago.

Dear JACUSTOMER - Obviously I cannot tell you why someone else is doing what they are doing unless I ask them. What I don't understand is why you are trying to do this on your own without an attorney? You are entitled to counsel and if you cannot afford an attorney the court will appoint one.

 

I strongly advise anyone who has been arrested to keep quiet and get an attorney. Everything you say can and will be used against you and nothing you say will help you. I would not talk to the DA or the police or anyone else until you get counsel. Every defense lawyer in America will tell you the same thing and you cannot force the police to do anything at this point. If there are irregularities in the procedure followed then an attorney can object and make certain all of your rights are protected.

 

Obviously you can plead not guilty if the charges are bogus but you cannot get a "no bill" from a grand jury since you can't present any evidence to a grand jury. Only the DA can present evidence and the more you talk to the DA the more evidence he or she will have. So I urge you to stop trying to get information from the DA or the police and to get an attorney asap.You will be entitled to all discovery at some point in the process.

 

Dave Kennett

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I thank you for the advise and very polightly tell you, "your answer did not answer my question"

I know I need a lawyer and I will get a lawyer but in talking to numerous lawyers they want and I want to see my charges first. A lawyer tells me "$12k and I will take on your case" without even seeing the case. The DA's secretary tells me that they won't even give my charges to a Lawyer without a letter of Representation.

I want to get my Charges or Complaint and then take it and sit down with a lawyer and decide if and what the next step is.

Please advise me how to get my Charges or Complaint from the DA's office without having to pay a lawyer $1k to $12k.

I can not believe I have to be finincially ruined to get my charges.

I want to get my charges from the DA without having to pay one penny to a lawyer then I would like to take my charges and visit at least 3 different lawyers and see what they think and see what they will charge me.

thank you,

King
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Please forgive my tone in typing. I am so upset with the local authorities. It is not you. I am so upset how the local authorities treat people. I live in a town of 10,000 people. I own 2 small businesses. I have lived here 15 years. I have made many donations to the police department over the years. I have never been in trouble with the law except for traffic tickets as a youth. I am 39 years old married with a 15 month old son. I am well liked in the community and the people alleging a crime against me are liars and have even been caught lying under oath in depositions and affidavits to the local District and County courts. I just wanted to explain my frustration and say i am sorry for my tone when typing.

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 3 years ago.

I was only trying to offer the best advice I could. I have no way of knowing the status of your case from here and many times the charges have not even been prepared or accepted by the DA at the time of the arrest so it is impossible for me to tell you how to force the police or DA to give you anything. Really the best policy is to simply wait, keep your mouth shut and see if you are actually indicted or ask to appear in court. Obviously you can retain an attorney now but I also understand you don't want to waste your money. Nothing you do now will change the facts of the case and, as I said above, anything you say can only hurt you.

 

If you are actually indicted then you can get an attorney or ask the court to appoint one. At this point the court will not appoint counsel if you are not under arrest or have not been required to appear in court. If all the rules have not been followed with respect to your charges it can only work in your favor when the time comes to enter a plea and fight the case.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I want to see what the police put together that they gave to a judge and a judge signed to have me arrested. it is prepared, it is ready. the police said if the DA said it is ok they would give me the complaint. but the DA said no until after the Grand Jury meets.

if i lived in Houston, TX the complaint would be on the internet on the DA's webiste for the public to see, read and print out. but in the small Town of Wharton, TX i can not see one piece of paper showing why i was arrested.

is there or is there not a law that says my complaint is public information and that i have some type of right to see my complaint filed against me that had or got me arrested?

thank you,

King
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 3 years ago.

None that I know of until after formal charges or an indictment has been issued. Then there is a right to discovery. Many small communities do not post everything on line as do large communities. Even if there were a law you would have to file a complicated legal writ of mandamus to force the DA to do anything so it really won't matter since he will probably have taken the case to the grand jury long before you would get a court date. The reason I suggested getting a lawyer was because a lawyer would probably have some relationship with the DA and the DA may talk to the lawyer informally about the case whereas he can "stonewall" you and there's just nothing you can do.

 

I know in my experience in criminal law I have been able to call up the prosecutor or DA and simply ask about a case and see if there is something that can be worked out etc. When trying to act on a pro se basis the DA is going to ignore a defendant knowing the defendant has no recourse. Acting pro se is fairly common in civil cases but in criminal matters, especially felonies, everyone is represented by counsel so the DA simply ignores anything from the defendant personally.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
OK last question... is the complaint or charge public record? I just am so frustrated that i can be arrested and sit for 3 to 6 months waiting to see if a Grand Jury indictes me or not.

I want to see what I did to get arrested without having to pay a mininum $1k to a lawyer.

thank you,

King
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 3 years ago.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Are you saying it has been 6 months since you were arrested or that you think it will take that long to go to a grand jury?

When you were arrested did anyone tell you why you were being arrested?

Was there an arrest warrant and were you given a copy?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I was arrested Oct. 22nd. and I was told by bonding company and DA assistant that it will take 3 to 6 months to get my charge infront of a Grand Jury.

I was told I was arrested for Stalking my father-in-law and my brother-in-law. I did not and never have stalked my in-laws.

The police officer came to my house arrested me, then took me to the police station to pick up the arrest warrant then took me before the Municipal Court Judge to set bond and then off to jail. There was an arrest warrant but I never got to see it and i never got a copy of it. I also did not think to ask to see the arrest warrant.

thank you for talking to me.

King
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 3 years ago.

No problem. Just remember that the absolute worst thing you can do is to talk to the police or the DA. They just love to get you talking and hope you will slip up and say something against your interest so be very careful, especially considering the type of people you have indicated they are.

 

Thanks for using our service.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
is there a law that says the DA or the police have to give me my arrest charges or the complaint.

i can not believe i can be arrested and I can not get one spread of documentation to show me why i was arrested without the services of a lawyer.

I want to get my charges and then go to 3 different lawyers and here what they think and see what they will charge me.

How do I do this? I want to visit at least 3 lawyers before picking one to represent me.

thank you,

king
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 3 years ago.

The law is that you have a right to discovery in any case where charges have been filed. The fact that you were arrested does not mean charges have been filed since people are mistakenly arrest all the time. Therefore there is no right to discovery until there are charges filed. You obviously know why you were arrested and I presume you know some of the false allegations that have been made against you which is essentially all that would be on an arrest warrant.

 

As a criminal defense attorney that would be all I would need to know at this point and frankly what I would tell you is exactly what I said above. Keep quiet and wait to see what happens. Even an attorney, while he or she may be able to talk to the prosecutor, cannot actually do much until charges are filed unless the DA wants to offer a plea bargain. Since you have said the charges are bogus I have assumed you do not want to consider pleading to anything.

 

Therefore, unless there is an indictment there's nothing you can do. The DA could very well decline to pursue the case.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have heard lawyers present a package or evidence at a grand jury hearing for the defense to attempt to NO-Bill a client.

I want my charges so I can turn over evidence to the grand jury to nip my charges in the butt. but I can not get one spread of information from the DA.

the DA and I do not talk... I have talked to on the secretary and everytime i just ask for my Complaint so i may put something together for the Grand Jury if the Grand Jury will allow me to present something.

I know that I have no right to the grand jury unless they allow or request info from me. I want the DA to tell me when the Grand Jury will meet and to ask if I can present evidence.

I know and I am sorry we are on a wheel going round and round.

I give up on my question.

there is a problem with our court system that in Harris county, Houson, TX my complaint would be on the internet the next day for me to review but in a small town just 2 counties over, I can not get one document or one bit of information as to why I was arrested.

Is there a constitutional law i could read that i could fax the DA to force them to hand over information as to why i was arrested?

king
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 3 years ago.

The defense DOES NOT present evidence at a grand jury session, only the DA. If a "no bill" is rendered it is by the grand jury because the DA didn't present sufficient evidence of probable cause and not because the defense attorney did anything. The defense attorney is not even permitted to enter the grand jury hearing so your information is incorrect and that may be the problem in all of this. You are assuming things that aren't true, either from information you have received from non attorneys or TV or simply misunderstanding the system.

 

You should NEVER testify before a grand jury or try to present any evidence. It is simply a hearing to determine whether there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that you committed it. It is not a finding of guilt or innocence and is only a matter of finding probable cause.

 

Dave

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you and you just lost me with your previous answer. Are there any attorney's that practise in Texas. maybe it is different here.

I have seen a man charged with MURDER get "no-bil" because the defense presented evidence at a grand jury hearing that the prosecutor would not present.

I understand I have to write the grand jury and ask or request permission to present evidence at the hearing. I know I can not just show up.

I also know that a defendant does not or should not personally go to a grand jury hearing in person, but it is done all the time that a defendant presents evidence "a package" at a grand jury hearing if the grand jury will allow it at the request of the defendant.

I am was looking for one anwer to what I thought was one simple question.

How do i get a copy of my charges without paying an attorney?

I hire an attorney and he will walk in the DA's office and get a copy of my charges but now he is signed on to my case and I have to pay him $12k for a case that might get "no-bill". He tells me $12k whether or not it goes to trial. I want this attorney but I want him after the Grand jury meets if i have to go to trial.

I want to put a package together for the grand jury to see if i can get NO-BILL.

If you can not tell me how to get a copy of my charges or Complaint could you please tell me how to file a complaint with the Judge or DA as to why I can not see my Complaint made against me that got me arrested.

Thank you,

King

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 3 years ago.

I have really spent a lot of time on this and I just can't keep going around in circles with the same information. You can contact the Bar Association for an attorney and if you think you know the grand jury system in TX that's fine but testifying to a grand jury is something no lawyer would advise you to do. Of course there are persons accused of murder that get "no bills" but not because they present any evidence.

 

I tried to offer the best information I could based on my nearly 30 years experience but if you want to take a different approach that is your choice. Representing yourself in any criminal court action is very risky business, especially when the court will appoint free attorneys.

 

Dave



Edited by Dave Kennett on 12/3/2010 at 1:32 AM EST
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I don't want to represent myself. I just want what I was arrested for.

Then go shop for a lawyer.

Thanks

King

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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett
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