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Article on Defense Attorneys Preparing to File Complaint Against Neves - Quoting Susan Criss

Defense attorneys preparing to file complaint against Neves

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:00 pm

By CHACOUR KOOP The Daily News

Defense attorneys are preparing a formal complaint against Judge Kerry Neves, who has drawn criticism for a Facebook post and courtroom order he said is intended to deter violence against police officers.

The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the largest statewide organization of defense attorneys, has called on Neves to remove his order restricting plea agreements for anyone accused of threatening, harming or endangering law enforcement.

The association has formed a task force to possibly file a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, an agency responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct and disciplining judges, John Convery, president of the association, said.

"There's a hope that Judge Neves will reconsider and realize this is not the way to show support for law enforcement or the criminal justice system," Convery said. "The criminal justice system doesn't favor either side."

Susan Criss, a defense attorney and former judge, filed a motion Tuesday to recuse Neves from a drug possession case pending in his courtroom, citing the order and multiple posts on Neves' Facebook page.

"Although this case does not involve one of those listed in the order, the primary witness for the state is the arresting officer," Criss argued in the motion.

"The defendant will be prejudiced if a judge biased in favor of law enforcement presides over this case. The disputes in this case will require choosing between protecting a law enforcement officer and protecting the rights of the accused."

Criss said Neves' impartiality can be questioned in almost every criminal case where he has to decide the credibility of law enforcement. Criss said she plans to file motions to recuse Neves in other cases.

"The order puts us in a position of committing malpractice and ineffective assistance of counsel if we don't," Criss said.

Neves did not recuse himself from the case. Neves did not return a phone call Thursday.

Neves told The Daily News last week he hoped the order would deter violence against police after officers were killed in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La.

"Make me a pitch," Neves said last week. "If there are mitigating circumstances, I'm willing to hear them. Certainly, I'd much rather have a person on probation than in jail."

An administrative judge presiding over a region of counties will assign a judge to hear the recusal motion. The judge will decide whether to assign a new judge in the case or keep the case in Neves' courtroom.

"We think there's a lot of merit in the reasons that (Criss) states for why he should recuse himself from that particular individual case," Convery said.

(The article can be found on the Galveston County Daily News website at:

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