Newman & Chapell, PLLC

In The News

Murray and Cheryl have been covered or given commentary on many issues in criminal law.

New warrant uncovers inner workings of drug smuggling into Harris County Jail

ABC 13 -- November 23, 2023

"You work hard to go through law school and to take the bar exam," Murray Newman, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, said. "It is something you literally are throwing away, not to mention, depending on how aggressively they charge these cases, you can be looking at a felony murder charge."

Why was Terran Green out on bond? Local experts explain bail reform in Harris County

Houston Public Media - August 18, 2023

““And I think that part of that is because there are actually segments of the political community that are trying to spew out misinformation about that,” Newman said. “The bond reform that gets everybody up in arms was only applicable to the misdemeanor side of things. And there may be a trickle down effect and how it affects felony cases. But there’s not a lawsuit that appends to them that has changed anything about the way judges must do bonds.” 

Harris County lawyers demand pause to state juvenile detention after report showed facility concerns

Houston Chronicle -- June 9, 2023

“If you look at it, the government can’t be responsible for acts of inhumanity against its own citizens, regardless of what they’ve been charged with or found to be responsible for,” said Murray Newman, president of the association. “That’s exponentially true when you’re dealing with juveniles.”

Harris County judge denies dying inmate's request to live out days at home

Houston Chronicle - May 25, 2023

“She’s clearly using bond to punish,” said Murray Newman, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. “A judge is supposed to consider, when setting a bond, whether or not a person is a threat to society and if they’ll return to court. I think, in this case, it’s a moot point.” 

Texas Jails are Crowded, Understaffed, and Dangerous. The Legislature is Poised to Send Them More Inmates

Texas Monthly - March 22, 2023

Murray Newman, the president-elect of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, pointed to research showing that defendants detained before trial are more likely to plead guilty—even if they are actually innocent—simply to gain their freedom. “Jailing someone before trial is absolutely a strong-arm tactic that DAs use to get people to plead guilty to something that they normally wouldn’t,” Newman said.

Harris County courts backlog continues amid finger pointing

Houston Public Media - October 5, 2022
Murray Newman, a former prosecutor and current defense attorney who is the president-elect of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, said the district attorney's office could help further alleviate the backlog by better prioritizing the cases it pursues. He added that Ogg in some instances has focused on cases of high public interest even in the absence of sufficient evidence to win those cases.

"They are the single most powerful entity within the system," Newman said of the DA's office. "Their power isn't absolute, but it is bigger than anybody else's. So when that same entity starts trying to blame everybody else for the backlog, anybody who's involved in the day-to-day practice of criminal law starts laughing. Because the key to this backlog is the prosecutors."

Kim Ogg Wants a Democratic Socialist Judge Thrown Off the Bench

Texas Monthly - July 27, 2022

“The first thing she does is fire all of her experienced prosecutors,” said Newman, the defense attorney. “All of a sudden she starts losing cases, and Kim is somebody who definitely doesn’t want to take the blame. So she’s got to find somebody to blame, and the judges are pretty much the only ones. She can’t say, ‘Oh, it’s just that the defense attorneys are too good and they’re kicking my ass.’ She certainly can’t admit her prosecutors don’t have the experience or training they deserve. So the judges are the last ones standing.”

NOT GUILTY: Former Bryan PD assistant chief acquitted on assault charge

KBTX - June 8, 2022

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Retired Bryan Police Department Assistant Chief Wayland Rawls was found not guilty Wednesday by a jury in his trial for a 2020 assault charge.
The verdict was handed up less than an hour after the jury began deliberations. Rawls was represented by attorneys Murray Newman and Cheryl Chapell. “We truly feel that Mr. Rawls was treated harsher than the average citizen would have been treated in this case because of his position with the Bryan Police Department,” said Newman. “We’re now happy for him and his wife and we are glad the jury agreed with us and vindicated what he said all along, which is that he was acting in self-defense of himself and his wife.”

Houston reaches grim milestone with 400th murder of 2020

Houston Chronicle - December 29, 2020
Just before the end of a harrowing, exhausting, virus-ridden year, Houston police were dispatched to the city’s 400th murder — a 15-year-old boy who was shot at an apartment complex in the Alief area. Police found the teen’s body around 8:30 p.m. Monday in a parking lot outside the complex in the 8000 block of Cook Road. Investigators found witnesses to the shooting, police Lt. Larry Crowson said, and authorities are hunting for the two men believed responsible...

In Houston's Zoom Court Proceedings, Decorum Often Gets Muted

Houston Chronicle December 24, 2020 Of all the things a veteran lawyer expects to experience during a hearing, one of the unlikeliest came to pass this year for Murray Newman: a shirtless lady “oohhing and aahhing” on a massage table as someone worked out the knots in her back. The woman had zoomed in for her son’s hearing on the Harris County criminal docket, said Newman, who was waiting in the same video gathering for another case to be called.

KPRC Investigates: Why some probations are ended when the terms haven't been met

KPRC November 13, 2020 KPRC 2 Investigates reviewed thousands of felony cases where a probationer was “unsatisfactorily” terminated from their probation. The term is a point of debate between victims’ rights advocates and Harris County judges seeking to strike a balance between justice and punishment. According to data obtained from the Harris County District Clerk’s Office, there have been 7,133 cases of unsatisfactory termination of probation cases filed over the last ten years across the 22 felony courts...

Attorney Pens Epic Resignation Letter

Above the Law June 26, 2020 Okay friends, this story is a bumpy ride, but it ends with a scorched earth letter of resignation, so you know it’s going to be worth it. So, here’s what you need to know. In the early days of COVID-19, Harris County, Texas district attorney Kim Ogg was criticized for being slow to respond to the pandemic and have her office work remotely and adopt accommodations that would, in short order, become commonplace. But the office did do something in preparation for the coronavirus. As Texas Monthly reports, a division chief emailed a spreadsheet titled “Employees Seriously Ill or Who Have Passed Away Due to COVID-19.” And yeah, that so-called “death chart” didn’t go over too well:...

DA Kim Ogg accused of threatening employees to attend volunteer event

Houston Chronicle June 24, 2020 Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg this week encouraged her prosecutors to attend a voter registration drive, where she would be present, in order for them to boost their standing in performance evaluations, according to an office-wide email circulating on Twitter...

The Hunt for a Leaker at the Harris County District Attorney's Office

Texas Monthly May 15, 2020 On the morning of March 19, courthouse staff abruptly evacuated the eighth floor of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center in downtown Houston after word spread that a misdemeanor prosecutor working on that floor had been exposed to the new coronavirus. The Harris County district attorney’s office soon sent out an email to its more than three hundred prosecutors with the alarming subject line “Do Not Go To Court: Health and Safety Alert.”...

Harris County D.A.'s Office Dropped Theft Case After Defense Attorney Alleged Race-Based Jury Selection

The Appeal January 30, 2020 A Texas judge approved a Batson motion, then overruled it. But a transcript shows that a Black man was struck unfairly, the attorney said. In early 2018, employees at a Prada store in The Galleria shopping mall in Houston alleged that Joshua Ford, a Black man who uses a wheelchair, stole jewelry worth $750 from a display case. Police issued a warrant for Ford’s arrest, and on March 27, the Harris County district attorney’s office filed a misdemeanor theft charge against him. Ford, who has no prior criminal history in the county, pleaded not guilty...

After Harvey, jury trials still haven't resumed in Harris County

Texas Tribune October 6, 2017 It’s been 10 weeks since Jose Deras was first locked up in the Harris County Jail. And because of Hurricane Harvey, it’s nearly impossible to predict how much longer he might be there. Deras — who is locked up for a misdemeanor assault charge, the first black mark on his otherwise clear criminal record — faces up to a year in jail, meaning that even if he got the maximum sentence, his actual time served would likely total about four months. But Deras' lawyer thinks his client will most likely spend more time than that in his cell, waiting for his case to come before a jury...

Why Three Counties that Loved the Death Penalty Have Almost Stopped Pursuing It

The Marshall Project August 11, 2015 On Aug. 26, Texas death row inmate Bernardo Tercero is scheduled to die by lethal injection. His execution will come more than 15 years after his original conviction for murder in Harris County, which more than once has been dubbed the “Death Penalty Capital of the World. ”That may be a bit of hyperbole, but there is no question capital punishment has been a go-to option in Harris County, which includes Houston. It was among the 2 percent of U.S. counties that accounted for 56 percent of the people sitting on death row as of 2012, according to the Death Penalty Information Center...

Murder charge dismissed in case where woman fatally burned

Houston Chronicle -- September 11, 2014
"Logistically, it would have been impossible for him to set that fire," said Murray Newman. "Unless he's Usain Bolt, he couldn't have been there." Newman said the couple were at a north Houston park where Tindol would regularly walk for fitness. As usual, Harper, 53, waited in the car.
"I think she just set herself on fire," Newman said. The attorney speculated that Harper could have been drinking high proof alcohol and spilled it on herself. A water bottle with alcohol was found nearby.

Ex-Marine Not Gulty

The Bryan/College Station Eagle -- May 11, 2010

"Every death is a tragedy, but this tragedy is not a crime," said Murray Newman, one of the three defense lawyers in the case.