Houston, Tx. — Defense attorney Ceola McDonald ended a criminal court case before indictment on March 28, by presenting a packet to the Harris County Grand Jury that persuaded them to stop the prosecution of a falsely accused 18-year-old Houston high school student.
Grand jury proceedings are secret and led by the District Attorney. But Texas law allows at times for the defense to present a packet of exhibits arguing that the charge holds no grounds. McDonald won a rare victory by persuading the grand jurors to return a “no bill” on the accusation, freeing her client.
Jamal Collins-Milligan had been awaiting indictment in the 174th Criminal District Court after his Jan. 3 arrest for aggravated robbery with deadly weapon, which carries five to 99 years upon conviction.
But McDonald successfully argued to the grand jury, via a letter and exhibits that on Jan. 3, 2011, “Jamal Collins-Milligan was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Jamal had just finished feeding his family’s horses at the barn and was walking home when he unwittingly became part of a crowd of five young men – who were robbing and beating a man with a board.
Jamal watched the incident but did nothing to encourage or help with the beating, McDonald said. Police arrested him as he walked home in a chaotic scene of young men running from the crime scene. Jamal spent three days in jail, despite the fact that police found nothing incriminating in his pockets.
McDonald said police mistakenly grabbed her client, who attends Miracleland Church and is a senior at Evan E. Worthing Senior High School and Magnet School for Math, Science & Technology.
Jamal plans to graduate from high school in June.
Year after year, Martin E. Regan Jr., the firm’s senior partner, has dedicated tireless efforts on behalf of the accused and produce wins for clients that a less determined advocate would have thought hopeless. Martin E. Regan Jr.’s ability to tackle and win tough criminal cases has resulted in verdicts of acquittal in many highly publicized trials.