All of these cases occurred in Harris County, Texas, and Tate was lead counsel unless otherwise noted. They are not all of Tate's cases or all of his victories. All criminal cases are different and not, in my opinion, a good predictor of future results. Any dismissals listed were not the result of the accused pleading guilty to another charge.
A few comments about real cases handled by Tate Williams
Six Different Stories - Two that Made Sense (Murder)
State v. J.G., Harris County Criminal District Court
After fifteen months in jail, three days of trial, and six different scene diagrams - four from state's eye witnesses, one from the crime scene unit, and the last drawn by the Defendant during his testimony, a jury found reasonable doubt and acquitted a man claiming self defense of murder. Tragically, the Defendant shot the very intoxicated Complainant at a birthday party, after two unheedeed warning shots, in front of a score of the decedent's friends. Whether he had been threateend by and being attacked by the man with a bottle was the subject of conflicting testimony and crime scene evidence. After the shooting, the Defendant remained at the party for a few minutes, then took his beer and left. He was ultimately arrested in another state and extradited to Texas to stand trial. Although found not guilty, the Defendant will carry the psychological guilt of knowing he took the life of a husband and father to save his own skin. That will not be an easy burden to bear.
Leaving Waller County in the Broad Daylight (DWLS)
State v. R.M., Waller County Court at Law
A judge granted defendant's "Motion to Suppress" after an evidentiary hearing where the video recording from the patrol car showed that no operating headlights were necessary as the sun was out. As a result of the traffic stop, a DWI and possession of marihuana investigation ensued - however Defendant passed the field sobriety tests and did not have a useable amount of marihuana. He did, however, have a suspended driver's license. The State Trooper was honest, courteous, and fair to the Defendant at the roadside and in Court. He simply had a different understanding of the law. His conduct and professionalism are a credit to the Texas DPS. Although he avoided up to six months in the county jail, the Defendant was arrested, posted bond, hired a lawyer, and missed work and had a hearing. That was punishment enough and he is now street legal. As they say, "You may beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride."
A Life Changing Arrest (Prostitution)
State v. S.G., Harris County Criminal Court at Law
In a cabaret with music so loud that the alleged conversation couldn't be heard on a recording, an undercover Vice Squad officer approaches an exotic dancer on stage and asks her how much it would cost to have sex with him in front of his girlfriend. According to him, she quoted $300. Despite knowing that the music often interferes with the recording, he did not take her over to the table to confirm the agreement in front of his girlfriend or any of the other undercover officers at the scene or wait to see if she actually met up with him and called in the raid team. Later, at the station, knowing that the recording was incomplete, he destroyed his notes made at the scene after writing his report, but expected jurors to find that proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Two did, four didn't and; a mistrial was declared. The following morning, the case was graciously dismissed by prosecutors. And the accused, who stopped dancing after her arrest that night and obtained new job training, can finally move on with her life.
28 Grams of Cocaine + 3 Men in Car = Acquittal (Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Deliver)
State v. C.R., Harris County Criminal District Court
An undercover narcotics officer conducting surveillance at a suspected drug house orders the traffic stop of a man recently speaking with the occupant of the house. The video recording of the traffic stop shows an object flying out of the passenger side of the car - later determined to be an ounce of cocaine. Officers initially accuse the front passenger of throwing the drugs, release the back seat passenger, then later only charge the driver of the car with a first degree felony. After a half-day of jury selection and another few hours of testimony, including the ten minute scene video, a jury took thirty minutes to find the Defendant Not Guilty.
A Scientific Approach (Murder)
State v. S.W., Harris County Criminal District Court
More than five years after a deadly fire at our client's home, she was indicted for felony murder. Almost three years later we went to trial. In the interim the state had changed prosecutors, theories of the case, and based upon evidence rulings my co-counsel and I obtained pre-trial from the judge, strategy. Instead of trying to prove arson with forensic science, they tried to prove the accused lied about their escape from the home and therefore must've set the fire. It added to their burden and it may have cost them a conviction by a jury. After several weeks of trial and almost two dozen prosecution witnesses, we put on one – a leading national expert on fire investigations to explain that, as a matter of science, one couldn't conclude the fire was incendiary, and thereby arson. Moreover, the state's scene reconstruction contradicted photographic evidence and undermined their case. More than a few jurors doubted the state had proven their case and couldn't be persuaded otherwise; a mistrial was declared. Eventually, the case was dismissed.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child)
State v. E.F., Harris County Criminal District Court
A grand jury "no-billed" an allegation of aggravated sexual assault of a child recently wherein there was a delayed outcry after many years under unusual circumstances and no physical evidence. Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child can be any sexual contact involving penetration of a child under 14's mouth, anus, or sexual organ by an adult vice versa. It is a first degree felony, carries a potential punishment of up to life in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender. A "no-bill" means that a grand jury did not find probable cause to return an indictment. When grand jury no-bills a case, I don't know why and I don't ask and they couldn't tell me if they wanted to; that's the law. I merely thank the prosecutor, say a prayer, and move on. Grand Jury proceedings are secret and I respect that. If they weren't, they might be less likely to do their job fairly and impartially and justice would suffer.
Missing in Action (Family Violence)
State v. J.G., Harris County Criminal District Court
After defending himself from his ex-wife's forcible intrusion in to his apartment, a local man was charged with a felony family violence offense. Months and months of court appearances later and on the cusp of being set for jury trial, the charges against him were dismissed because the undocumented complainant was not available to testify for unknown reasons. In past years, prosecutors across the country were able, over hearsay objections, to introduce evidence of what an alleged victim of family violence told a police officers. This has been found unconstitutional. In a series of opinions often authored by Justice Scalia, the United States Supreme Court has preserved an accused's 5th Amendment "Confrontation Clause" rights - that is the right to "Confront and Cross-Examine" one's accusers. This is a common sense approach to the law that is enshrined in the United States Constitution. After all, if we're going to put someone's freedom on the line, shouldn't they be able to look their accuser in the eye and challenge them rather than somebody who was told something by?
A Gift that Kept on Giving (Prostitution)
State v. J.S., Harris County Criminal Court at Law
A local man made an appointment for a massage through an ad on the internet and upon arrival was promised a lot more for no additional charge, but the surprises weren't over. A few seconds later local law enforcement officers, who had been conducting a prostitution sting came in and arrested him. While other men who responded to different ads had expressly agreed to exchange money for sex, there was no similar evidence in this case, after months of coming to court and his attorney repeatedly subpoenaing the evidence, the prosecutors did the right thing and dismissed it.
It Helps to Know Where You Are Going (Burglary of a Motor Vehicle)
State v. T.L., Harris County Criminal Court at Law
A young woman was walking down the street when a Burglary of a Motor Vehicle happened in front of a nearby house. Because she was somewhat confused and looking around for her destination, a witness believed that she might have been a lookout for the burglar who was not caught and when the police arrived she was arrested. Despite no credible evidence that she knew the thieves or took any affirmative acts to assist in the theft, an intelligent prosecutor finally realized the case could not be made and dismissed it.
Sometimes You Play for the Fumble (DWI)
State v. J.M., Harris County Criminal Court at Law
A local man was pulled over for making an illegal U-turn and speeding late one Saturday night. When he admitted to drinking, the traffic officer brought in a colleague certified in the administration of the so-called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Despite what anyone with common sense would consider to be a stellar performance, the suspect was arrested and taken to an area jail where consented to give a sample of his breath because he knew that he was not intoxicated. Unfortunately, the breath test result was more than twice the legal limit. After months of coming to court every few weeks, the case was set for trial because the Defendant knew he was not guilty, and his lawyer knew that several of the officers involved were under investigation as a result of the death of another suspect in their custody. At the time of trial, the officer who made the initial traffic stop was no longer employed with the department and could not be found. Without him, the legality of the stop could not be proven and the case was dismissed.
A Target of Opportunity (Shoplifting)
State v. G.M., Harris County Criminal Court at Law
A gentleman went to a local department store to exchange some items for others and use store credit and coupons to make additional purchases. When he checked out, the exchange and purchase process took a long time and was interrupted by an old friend. In the confusion, several items - for which he had presented coupons- were not rung up and remained in the cart. A store employee claimed to have earlier seen him hide the articles and arrested him at the exit. After several subpoenas and many months, the video recordings from the store were produced and revealed that from the moment he entered the store, he was a target of investigation, but not that he hid anything, or that the employee was ever in a position to see him do so. After viewing the video at a pre-trial conference and being unable to verify the employee's account, the case was dismissed.
You Can Beat the Rap, But You Can't Beat the Ride (Evading Arrest or Detention)
State v. C.D., Harris County Criminal Court at Law
A marathon runner, after being detoured by multiple police for a public event was arrested after shaking his fist at them and running in the direction they told him to run. Charged with evading arrest, he was taken to jail, forced to post bond and hire a lawyer (me). Because he posted bond prior to being transferred to the Harris County Jail, we were able to challenge the probable cause for his arrest at the first court setting and came prepared with legal arguments. The trial court judge found no probable cause and the case was dismissed.
Hidden in Plain View (Bank Robbery)
U.S. v. A.H., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
My client was accused by the federal government of robbing a bank located inside of a grocery store with another man. He had been identified from a photo spread by a teller. The surveillance cameras showed the robbers' faces were covered by bandanas and panty hose and all were wearing caps. It just didn't make sense absent suggestive identification procedures by investigators. We set the case for trial and hired the best expert we could find and the government dismissed the case the week before jury selection.
The Jury Preferred the Prostitute (Prostitution)
State v. J.M., Harris County Criminal Court at Law
After they returned a verdict of not guilty, all six women of the jury told me that thought if my client was going to run a nail salon as a front for a house of ill-repute, she needed to have a better selection of polish on display. Apparently, they found the behavior of the vice officer, who it became apparent during cross-examination clearly enjoyed his almost three decades of undercover work, more offensive than my client's alleged prostitution, and let her go.
A Dogged Defense (DWI)
State v. N.D., Fort Bend County Court at Law
On the way home from a poker game on a dark and stormy night, a dog he couldn't describe ran into the road in front of my client. He swerved in the rain, side-swiped a parked car and crashed into a light pole. Neighbors claimed he asked them not to call the police, but they did. The investigator at the scene found empty beer cans and thought he smelled alcohol on the young man's breath. All tests of any kind were refused and he entered a plea of not guilty to the new DWI and denied the allegations in the motion to revoke his probation. After a mistrial and another year of waiting, both the new charge and the motion to revoke were dismissed. The whereabouts of the dog remain unknown.