Poker-friendly Prosecutor to run the show help out new Dallas District Attorney

by , Dec 23, 2006 | 9:15 am

A reader with three initials writes in:

hey dan have you heard any more word on the poker raids that happened at jackies ace high and the other room….any info bout the cases or the court hearings?

No word yet, TPG playa. However, I believe that several of the cases from the June Aces raid are set for trial(s) in January. We’ll see if the prosecutors press forth against the “not guilty” pleas or if they simply push these back, as has been standard in Texas poker cases for the past 10 years.

There has been, however, one major-ish development that may or may not affect these cases: DA-elect Craig Watkins has appointed Terri Moore as his First Assistant. Says Ms. Moore:terri moore

“It is clear there is much work to be done in Dallas County. I am … prepared to make the necessary improvements to the District Attorney’s Office to restore safety and justice to Dallas County.”

You may recall that Pokerati enthusiastically endorsed her candidacy for Tarrant County DA (scroll down, just a little bit) on the grounds that she wanted to host a Texas Hold’em campaign fundraiser. So ah, yes, safety and justice, good.

Here’s a little more on Moore and some of the other new faces in the Dallas DA’s office. Law-business Pokeratizens may find a few of the names kinda interesting.

Now keep in mind that just because a prosecutor may be a poker sympathizer (there’s supposedly a pretty wild home game amongst the current brigade of Dallas DA’s) the law is still the law. And thus elected and appointed officials have a duty to prosecute any crimes — even the bullshit ones — to the full extent of the relevant statute as it is written. So the accused in the November raids have the benefit of position … as they will get to see in early 2007 just how willing Dallas is to put Chapter 47 to the criminal (and political) test.

NOTE: According to the latest report by the FBI, Dallas is still the most crime-ridden big city in the nation! (Houston is second, San Antonio is fourth.) But don’t worry, Texas … we’re not tops in everything. In fact, we’re way near the bottom when it comes to education.

9 Comments to “Poker-friendly Prosecutor to run the show help out new Dallas District Attorney”

  1. Woody2

    I received a ticket from the November raids, and my trial has been set at the end of January. Which is odd, given that that’s when the summer raids are set, and that at least one of the other November citations is set for July. I think it depends on which court you are assigned to for trial.

  2. PokerIsNotACrime

    My trial (stemming from the Novemeber raids) is also set for January. I originally (inadvertantly) set it up as a trial-by-judge, and had a June date…but when I changed it to trial-by-jury, the date moved up to January. Not sure what the rhyme or reason is to the timing.

    Also, I haven’t had much luck getting the city attorney’s office to talk to me on the phone. All I’m looking for is a short, honest and open phone call to discuss the situation, but so far, I’ve just left a series of messages. Technically, I need to file a motion in order to have them disclose all of their wtnesses and evidence, but I was hoping that wouldn’t be necessary and that the prosecutor would be just as interested in keepig this as simple as possible. It is, afterall, the equivelant to exchanging phone calls and paperwork over a speeding ticket, which very few people would have the energy or life force to bother with.

  3. DanM

    Do you have an attorney, or are you trying to handle the case on your own?

  4. PokerIsNotACrime

    I have an attorney friend who is advising me, but he won’t be actually representing me in court and he isn’t making phone calls or filing motions for me either. I’m as interested in the process as much as anything else, so I kinda like doing it myself. Plus, there’s not a lot riding on it if I fail miserably. It seems like a bigger deal than it really is due to the fact that I had multiple M-16’s pointed at me that night, so I have to keep reminding myself that I’m only fighting a $160 citation.

    For the benefit of others that might be representing themselves, the Texas Code of Criminal procedure can be found online here:

    It’s helpful to know some of the language when making phone calls. For instance, Article 39.14 will tell you what you need to know when inquiring about evidence discovery.

    Furthermore, if you need to figure out who in the City Attorney’s office is assigned to your case, you can call the office at (214)670-3519.

  5. DanM

    OK, but eesh … pro se is always a little nervey. hopefully one of the big-dollar poker-playing attorneys out there will see the press-exposure benefit of some pro bono representation for these misdemeanors.

    as for those representing themselves, i think the hardest thing is how do you answer the question … “um, so you were playing cards … for money, right?”

  6. PokerIsNotACrime

    Just because I represent myself – it doesn’t mean I’ll have to answer any questions I wouldn’t otherwise be subjected to. I’m not giving up my fifth amendment rights. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and they won’t be receiving any help from me in making their case.

  7. Woody2

    In order for the state to establish their case, they are going to have to call the undercover agents as witnesses. Those guys were awfully careful to conceal their identities the nights of the raids, indicating that they wanted to remain “unidentifiable” for future operations.

    If I ran a poker room in Dallas, I would have to give serious consideration to attending these trials so I could see who was used in past stings.

  8. Pokerati | Texas hold’em blog » Blog Archive » Poker in the Courts

    […] Some of the comments on this post are proividing some good information about pending poker prosecutions. Would love to know a little more from some of you with court dates coming up … like specifically when is your trial, what court is it in, who is the judge, yadda yadda. Feel free to post the info here … or if you would rather not be so public about your legal matter of public record, send me an email. Thanks much. […]

  9. John Gioffredi

    My law firm has handled over 40,000 Dallas municipal citations since 1985. My law office (John Gioffredi and Associates) handles Dallas poker citations “our way” for $50 each. (ph. 214-739-4515.)

    Our way, essentially, is to set the case for jury trial, then show up and try the case for you, if the prosecution doesn’t dismiss it. Other than that, we do no advance preparations. After 40,000 cases, none are really required, unless you are obsessive – compulsive about these things.

    If you ARE obsessive-compulsive, and you want us to handle poker citations “your way” it will cost you $500, or generally more than that for representation. Generally, we are not going to put much preparations into defending a $200 ticket.

    Woody2 is basically right: Trials in Dallas municipal court are set rather randomly. Generally, you can expect a trial in about 6 months from the date of request, but it can vary wildly for no obvious reason.

    Do a jury trial. Period.

    As far as getting any of the city attorneys to call you, good luck. They won’t. As someone else in this forum wrote, “it drains their life force.” Everything at the municipal courthouse must be done in person, and generally, only after you have stood in a very long line.

    If you have an attorney friend who is “advising you” on how to handle your case, rather than handling the case himself, he ain’t that good of a friend. No offense, but you’ll probably screw the case up. Not that y’all aren’t real smart and everything, but we’ve forgotten much more about handling these cases than you will ever know. No doubt you are a whole lot smarter at what you do than I am. That’s just how things work…

    You have the right to remain silent, and may choose to do so. That depends largely on what, if anything, the prosecutors appear to have proven at your trial.

    Remember: It’s not illegal to play poker – period. Even for really big dollars. It IS illegal (a class C citation) to play poker in a game where the house is somehow taking a cut. And if you are working for a house which is taking a cut, you are guilty as an accomplice of maintaining an illegal poker operation.