Duarte Law Firm
A Trial Attorney With 33 Years of Legal Experience and Over 200 Jury Trials

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Stay up-to-date on big client wins and in-depth legal insight.

Hung Jury

How does a jury punish someone for causing an accident while intoxicated? This jury faced the same questions our community asks when they hear about deadly collisions. Should a first time offender go to prison? Should probation be granted to someone who will likely never drink and drive again? Is someone punished enough by living each day knowing the person killed someone in an accident? Is prison really for evil, malicious or repeat offenders? Is probation really an option when someone takes a life?

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Araceli Duarte
Accident or Crime?

Last week, I tried a case where a client was accused of four crimes stemming from one auto accident. The charges included intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault. Our client was accused of drinking, driving, and then causing an “accident” because of intoxication. Unfortunately, lots of people die in auto collisions or “accidents.” Drivers run red lights, fail to stop at stop signs, speed, text while driving, fail to yield the right of way, or do other things that cause auto accidents. When do those “accidents” become crimes?

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Araceli Duarte
Alternate Juror for Intoxication Manslaughter Trial

Today our office is continuing in the second week of an intoxication manslaughter trial in Bexar County, Texas. However, we’ll be continuing this case using our alternate juror.

We selected an alternate juror because this trial is expected to last 3 weeks and you never know when someone will become ill or have a problem develop. If you don’t have 12 jurors, a mistrial must be declared.

In our case, attorney Demetrio Duarte, Jr. needed to move for a juror to be removed because he observed a juror falling asleep during the scientific testimony. The juror would stay awake for fact witnesses, but hearing about math and science put the juror to sleep.  

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Lessons Learned/Confirmed From Jury Trial – Session 1

As a trial lawyer, juries still amaze me after 34 years of practice. Yesterday, two very talented lawyers and I received a favorable verdict after three weeks of trial. I generally find myself on the plaintiff’s side of the docket helping people who have been hurt as a result of someone’s negligence. But this trial involved me helping a small company that was wrongly accused of negligent hiring, supervising, training and retaining a driver who was involved in a collision.

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Araceli DuarteComment
Jury Recommends 10 Years Probation in Baby Death

February 2017 – A Bexar County jury found Marquita Johnson, 33, and her husband Qwalion Busby, 36, guilty of injury to a child by omission and recommended 10 years of probation. The couple’s 7 month-old son had passed away after his ear infection turned into sepsis, which medical experts testified was the cause of death. 

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Araceli Duarte
Federal Money Laundering Conspiracy

January 2017 – Attorney Demetrio Duarte, Jr. represented Raymundo “Mundito” Villarreal, Jr. in federal court in San Antonio, Texas. A former resident of Mission, Villarreal had been charged with one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiring to structure transactions to evade reporting requirements. 

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Araceli Duarte
“Incompetent Criminal” is Sentenced

December 2016 – James Joseph Taylor, Jr. had been described by a judge, as well as the press, as the “incompetent criminal.” Charged with two federal counts of illegal possession of a Postal Service key, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and three counts of possession of stolen mail, each count carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. But on December 20, 2016, he was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day. 

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Araceli Duarte