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Appellate Victories

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals

High-Profile Court of Appeals Victories by Brian Wice

Brian’s high-profile successes include the reversal and dismissal of all charges on appeal for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a new punishment hearing in the nationally-acclaimed Susan Wright murder case, a new punishment hearing in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for Gaylon George Walbey, Galveston County’s only death row inmate at the time, and the Fourth Circuit’s reversal of the Rev. Jim Bakker’s 45-year prison term. After he assisted in passing legislation enacting Art. 11.073 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, enabling prisoners to contest their convictions based on junk science and junk scientists, Brian used this new statute to overturn the capital murder conviction of Neal Robbins in the Court of Criminal Appeals, and Mr. Robbins’ case was dismissed after he served eighteen years in prison.

Brian was selected to serve as a member of criminal defense and court of appeals trial teams with such legal giants as Rusty Hardin (representing NFL All-Pro Adrian Peterson), Dick DeGuerin (obtaining an acquittal for noted hand surgeon Michael Brown in his family violence prosecution), and Kent Schaffer (securing probation for teenager Ashley Benton in the fatal stabbing of a gang member in a Montrose park).

Appellate Court And Post-Conviction Wins

1986 – 1996

  • Person v. State, 706 S.W.2d 153 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.], 1986) (reversing conviction because of improper jury argument)
  • Epson v. State, 743 S.W.2d 311 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.], 1987) (granting new trial due to erroneous denial of motion to suppress)
  • Ex parte Welborn, 785 S.W.2d 391 (Tex.Crim.App. 1990) (case setting standard in Texas for ineffective assistance of counsel claims and granting new trial)
  • Hernandez v. State, 791 S.W.2d 301 (Tex.App.–Corpus Christi, 1990) (granting new trial because of violation of the Rule)
  • State v. Muller, 829 S.W.2d 805 (Tex.Crim.App. 1992) (dismissing State’s appeal because elected District Attorney did not sign notice of appeal)
  • George v. State, 841 S.W.2d 544 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.], 1992) (granting new trial because of jury charge error)
  • Holliman v. State, 879 S.W.2d 85 (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.], 1994) (granting new trial because of improper jury argument)
  • White v. State, 916 S.W.2d 78 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.], 1996) (loss of court reporter’s notes warranted new trial)
  • Malone v. State, 919 S.W.2d 410 (Tex.Crim.App. 1996) (reversing finding defendant did not make prima facie Batson claim)
  • Bunchien v. Collins, 942 S.W.2d 38 (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.], 1996) (successful defense of trial judge in mandamus proceeding)

1997 – 2007

  • Hyde v. State, 1997 WL 197859 (Tex.App. – Houston [14th Dist.], 1997) (improper prosecutorial final argument)
  • Ex parte Torres, 943 S.W.2d 469 (Tex.Crim.App. 1997) (obtaining out-of-time appeal is not “successsor” writ)
  • Ex parte Torres, 951 S.W.2d 6 (Tex.Crim.App. 1997) (granting post-conviction relief and new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Milburn v. State, 973 S.W.2d 337 (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.], 1998) (granting new punishment hearing based ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Loesch v. State, 979 S.W.2d 47 (Tex.App.–Corpus Christi, 1998) (conviction reversed for illegal search of defendant’s vehicle)
  • Vaughn v. State, 983 S.W.2d 860 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.], 1998) (reversal and acquittal in resisting arrest prosecution)
  • Birdwell v. State, 10 S.W.3d 74 (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.], 1999) (failure to permit defendant to represent himself)
  • Reyes v. State, 994 S.W.2d 151 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999) (overruling DeGarmo Doctrine)
  • Flanigan v. State, 1999 WL 498184 (Tex.App.– Beaumont, 1999) (reversing conviction on ineffective assistance of trial counsel)
  • Planter v. State, 9 S.W.3d 156 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999) (reversal and acquittal in solicitation of capital murder prosecution)
  • Milburn v. State, 15 S.W.3d 267 (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.], 2000) (first punishment ineffective assistance finding under Strickland)
  • Ex parte Crenshaw, 25 S.W.3d 761 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.], 2000) (affirming pre-trial habeas relief on double jeopardy grounds)
  • Young v. State, 8 S.W.3d 656 (Tex.Crim.App. 2000) (overruling Helms Doctrine)
  • Ex parte Taylor, 36 S.W.3d 883 (Tex.Crim.App. 2001) (limiting right of local district attorneys to file petitions for review)
  • Marquez v. State, 2001 WL 520703 (Tex.App.– Houston [14th Dist.], 2001) (granting new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Alonzo v. State, 67 S.W.3d 346 (Tex.App.–Waco, 2002) (reversing juvenile non-capital murder conviction after judge kept defense from presenting evidence of alternative theory of case)
  • Peacock v. State, 77 S.W.3d 285 (Tex.Crim.App. 2002) (dismissing motion to revoke probation because State failed to exercise due diligence in apprehending probationer)
  • Bishop v. State, 85 S.W.3d 819 (Tex.Crim.App. 2002) (remanding to court of appeals for merits of motion to suppress)
  • Benoit v. State, 87 S.W.3d 668 (Tex.App.–San Antonio, 2002) (murder case reversed because of improper admission of defendant’s confession)
  • Ex parte Taylor, 101 S.W.3d 434 (Tex.Crim.App. 2002) (double jeopardy barred defendant’s re-prosecution after acquittal in intoxication manslaughter case)
  • Shanklin v. State, 190 S.W.3d 154 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.], 2005) (granting new punishment hearing in murder case based on ineffective assistance of counsel
  • Torres v. State, 182 S.W.3d 899 (Tex.Crim.App. 2005) (affirming reversal based on erroneous denial of motion to suppress)
  • Ford v. State, 158 S.W.3d 488 (Tex.Crim.App. 2005) (reversing denial of motion to suppress based on bad traffic stop)
  • Ex parte Brewster, 2005 WL 768443 (Tex.Crim.App. 2005) (granting new punishment hearing in murder case based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Ex parte Gilmore, 2005 WL 768068 (Tex.Crim.App. 2005) (granting new trial on state habeas in murder case based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Ex parte Heidelberg, 2006 WL 3306880 (Tex.Crim.App. 2006) (granting new trial on state habeas based on ineffective assistance of counsel)

2007 – 2017

  • Lajoie v. State, 237 S.W.3d 345 (Tex.App.–Fort Worth, 2007) (granting new trial in DWI case based on improper admission of defendant’s pre-arrest invocation of counsel)
  • In re Benton, 238 S.W.3d 587 (Tex.App.– Houston [14th Dist.], 2007) (setting aside gag order in pending murder prosecution)
  • Biagas v. Valentine, 265 Fed.Appx. 166 (5th Cir. 2008) (affirming grant of federal habeas relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Lair v. State, 265 S.W.3d 580 (Tex.App.–Houston [1st Dist.], 2008) (granting new punishment hearing in drug case based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Walbey v. Quarterman, 309 Fed. Appx. 795 (5th Cir. 2009) (granting new punishment hearing in death penalty writ based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Billodeau v. State, 277 S.W.3d 34 (Tex.Crim.App. 2009) (granting new trial in aggravated sexual assault of a child case Based on improper limitation of cross-examination of child victim)
  • Ex parte Wright, 2009 WL 3474099 (Tex.Crim.App. 2009) (granting new punishment hearing on state habeas in nationally-renown murder case based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Ex parte Jones, 2010 WL 2396565 (Tex.Crim.App. 2010) (granting new punishment hearing based on ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Turner v. State, 2010 WL 3062013 (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.], 2010) (granting new trial in juvenile capital murder prosecution based on jury charging error)
  • Teeter v. State, 2010 WL 3702360 (Tex.Crim.App. 2010) (vacating aggravated assault conviction of peace officer on double jeopardy grounds)
  • United States v. Steen, 634 F.3d 822 (5th Cir. 2011) (reversing and acquitting in manufacturing of child pornography prosecution)
  • State v. Sanders, 2011 WL 4828817 (Tex.App.– San Antonio, 2011) (affirming grant of motion to suppress in DWI prosecution)
  • Burke v. State, 2012 WL 24415527 (Tex.Crim.App. 2012) (granting new trial for error in jury selection)
  • DeLay v. State, 465 S.W.3d 232 (Tex.Crim.App. 2014) affirming, 410 S.W.3d 902 (Tex.App.– Austin 2013) (reversing and acquitting former House Majority leader of money laundering and conspiracy)
  • Ex parte Melartin, 464 S.W.3d 789 (Tex.App.– Houston [14th Dist.] 2015) (reducing bonds totaling $7,200,000 to $900,000 in nine felony cases)
  • Saenz v. State, 474 S.W.3d 47 (Tex.App.– Houston [14th Dist.] 2015) (reversing intoxication manslaughter conviction for jury charge error and exclusion of evidence of decedent’s toxicology screen)
  • Friend v. State, 473 S.W.3d 470 (Tex.App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2015, pet. ref’d) (reversing DWI conviction for improper admission of evidence of defendant’s post-arrest silence)
  • Ex parte Dietrich, 2016 WL 325284 (Tex.Crim.App. January 27, 2016) (granting new trial in aggravated sexual assault of a child case based on multiple claims of ineffective assistance of counsel)
  • Ex parte Robbins, 478 S.W.3d 678 (Tex.Crim.App. 2014) (affirming trial court’s grant of new trial on state habeas based on newly-enacted junk science/junk scientist statute)
  • Ex parte Saenz, 491 S.W.3d 819 (Tex.Crim.App. 2016) (granting new trial in murder case based on counsel’s failure to impeach identification testimony of State’s key witness)
  • Ex parte Paxton, 493 S.W.3d 292 (Tex.App.– Dallas 2016, pet. ref’d)(en banc) (affirming denial of pre-trial habeas relief in securities fraud prosecution of Texas Attorney General)
  • De Jesus Meza v. State, 497 S.W.3d 574 (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.] 2016) (reversing and acquitting Class A misdemeanor DWI for insufficient evidence and remanding for new trial on Class B DWI)
  • Ex parte Robbins, 560 S.W.3d 130 (Tex.Crim.App. 2016) (dismissing State’s motion for rehearing as improvidently granted and leaving intact granting of new trial on original submission based on newly-enacted junk science/junk scientist statute)
  • Deutsch v. State, 566 S.W.3d 332 (Tex.App.– Houston [14th Dist.] 2017) (affirming theft by a public servant conviction of former district attorney investigator for theft of rare comic books as a special prosecutor)