John Helms a Dallas criminal lawyer was successful in getting his clients’ bribery convictions reversed on appeal before Texas’ highest criminal court.
On December 14, 2016, Texas’ highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, reversed the convictions of a husband and wife who were convicted at trial of bribery of a judge, reports Dallas criminal lawyer John Helms. In State of Texas v. David Cary and State of Texas v. Stacy Stine Cary, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that the evidence at trial was insufficient to prove bribery under the Texas bribery statute.
The trials took place in McKinney, Collin County, Texas. The Carys were convicted of bribing former State District Judge Suzanne Wooten. The State’s theory was that the Carys directed payments to Ms. Wooten’s campaign manager, who used the funds to pay campaign bills at times when the campaign had not yet raised the money to pay the bills. Ms. Wooten ran against incumbent judge Charles Sandoval, who was presiding over a highly contentious child custody matter involving Mr. Cary and his ex-wife. There was evidence that the Carys wanted someone to defeat Judge Sandoval, who was widely regarded as highly vindictive, but there was no evidence that Ms. Wooten knew about the Carys’ relationship with her campaign manager. Ms. Wooten ultimately defeated Judge Sandoval in the election.
John Helms, a criminal defense attorney in Dallas, represented the Carys on appeal. He argued to the high court that, as charged, the Texas bribery statute required the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the payments to the campaign manager were NOT campaign contributions, but in fact, under a proper interpretation of Texas law, the State had actually proved that they WERE campaign contributions. Because the jury was not charged and instructed on a theory of bribery by campaign contribution (which requires a much higher level of proof that the State did not meet), the State’s proof was insufficient. The Court of Criminal Appeals agreed and ordered that the Carys must be acquitted of all charges.
The ruling from the state’s highest criminal court effectively ends a multi-year nightmare for the Carys, who maintained their innocence from the beginning. “The Carys are obviously very relieved and very happy this is over. Justice is finally served,” added criminal defense attorney Helms.
If you or someone you know has been charged with bribery or any serious criminal offense, contact Dallas criminal lawyer John Helms immediately. Call 214-666-8010
Read more about this victory in the Dallas Morning News