- Former clerk for the Honorable Evelyn V. Keyes, Ph.D. of the First Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas. I have handled more than 100 criminal appeals to opinion, and I have participated in more than 40 oral arguments (state and federal). I also have an extensive motion practice where other attorneys hire me to write their motions for them.
I am licensed in:
- Texas state and appellate courts
- Northern and Eastern districts of Texas
- Northern District of Illinois
- Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi federal appeals)
- Seventh Circuit (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin federal appeals) and,
- Tenth Circuit (Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming federal appeals).
- Practice areas: appellate. Concentration on criminal appeals but I represent people in civil appeals and family law appeals. I work in state and federal court. I have represented clients as far away as Chicago in criminal appeals.
I take a very limited number of habeas cases. Generally these involve claims that a trial or appellate attorney failed to provide constitutionally effective representation.
I have also represented clients in election disputes, sales tax contests, and mandamus proceedings.
In the past I have helped clients get removed from the sex offender registry, but generally I take very few of these cases.
- Niles was born and educated in Dallas. Niles attended Good Shephard before going on to graduate from Jesuit College Preparatory School. Niles found his place in academics when he left for college and earned a BA (history), MA (history), and a Ph.D. (nineteenth-century German history) before getting serious and enrolling in law school. Niles graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in the top quarter of his law school class. Niles served as an editor on the Houston Journal of International Law and worked in the law library as an assistant to the reference librarians. Upon graduation, Niles accepted a prestigious and much sought-after clerkship with the Honorable Evelyn V. Keyes of the First Court of Appeals. It was during this clerkship that Niles learned to be an appellate attorney.
- Prominent cases
- Christopher Braughton v. State of Texas (first court of appeals and Texas court of criminal appeals)
- Michelle Christine Davis v. State of Texas
- Willie Maurice Hervey v. State of Texas
- Mohamed Toure and Denise Cros-Toure v. The United States of America
- Diego Horta v. the State of Texas
- Kelly Robinett, et. al. v. United States of America
- Shonna Lynn Callaway v. United States of America
- Guillermo Suarez v. State of Texas
- Gregory Webb v. The United States of America
- Teresa BUCHANAN, Plaintiff – Appellant v. F. King ALEXANDER; Damon Andrew; A. G. Monaco; Gaston Reinoso, Defendants –Appellees No. 18-30148
- Hermann Gninia v. State of Texas
- Jose Ramon Cruz v. State of Texas
- Suzanne Wooten
- Links to recordings of Oral Arguments
- Christopher Braughton v. State of Texas (in the Court of Criminal Appeals)
- Gregory Webb v. United States of America (Seventh Circuit, Chicago)
http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/sound/2018/dl.17-1501.17-1501_01_03_2018.mp3 (audio does not begin until 00:23)
- Case Results (wins and a few notable losses)
Case Description: Client convicted of murder based on a fight. Issue in the case was a jury charge error.
Outcome: Fifth Court of Appeals reversed the verdict, vacated the judgment, and remanded for a new trial with the proper jury instructions.
Case Description: Client convicted of murder and sentenced to 42 years. The trial court refused to issue instruction on self-defense.
Outcome: Fifth Court of Appeals reversed the verdict, vacated the judgment, and remanded for a new trial with the proper jury instructions. Client offered plea of 7 years, rendering him instantly parole eligible.
Case Description: Client convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years. The trial court refused to issue instruction on self-defense.
Outcome: First Court of Appeal affirmed but one justice issued a forty-page dissent explaining why I was right. Case went to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In an unusual oral argument that lasted nearly double the time of most oral arguments, we fought for our client. Court of Criminal Appeals ultimately disagreed with us on a vote of 5-3.
Charge: Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child
Case Description: Client convicted of Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child and sentenced to 38 years, which had to be served day-for-day. Client called me about appeal but hired a different attorney. Other attorney lost the appeal. Client hired me to do motion for rehearing. I did and one of the justices changed his vote and explained that he agreed with me. I took the case to the Court of Criminal Appeals.
Outcome: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously reversed the Tenth Court of Appeals, vacated the client’s sentence, reformed the verdict to reflect a conviction for a lesser-included offense and remanded for a new sentencing hearing. Client accepted plea for 6 years and was released and reunited with his family about six months later.
Charge: Drug Possession
Case Description: Client charged with possession of illegal drugs.
Outcome: Trial court overruled motion to suppress the drugs. We secured a favorable plea agreement for client and appealed the denial of the motion to suppress. Fifth Court of Appeals agreed with us and suppressed the illegally seized evidence. Charges dismissed against our client.
Charge: Forced Labor; Harboring an Alien
Case Description: Client convicted of Forced Labor and Harboring Alien. Case is pending in the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana (Federal). Notable for the challenge to the constitutionality of the Forced Labor statute. Original argument that had not been made before.
Outcome: Case is pending.
Charge: White Collar Fraud
Case Description: Client convicted of multimillion-dollar fraud in Chicago. We challenged the conviction based on the fact that the evidence was not sufficient to establish our client’s guilt.
Outcome: The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and affirmed the verdict. Client elected not to go to the United States Supreme Court.
Charge: Indecent Exposure
Case Description: Client convicted of two counts of indecent exposure and placed on the sex offender registry.
Outcome: Through the Department of Public Safety administrative process we challenged the requirement that the client be placed on the sex offender registry for both offenses. DPS agreed in part and removed client from registry for one of two offenses. Second offense challenged through mandamus to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Charge: Failure to Pay Sales Tax
Case Description: Client assessed serious sales tax penalty for not paying sales tax. We argued that client never owed the sales tax because the item was not taxable. We challenged this through the entire administrative process with the Office of the Comptroller and the State Office for Administrative Hearings.
Outcome: The case settled before moving into the trial court.
Niles prefers that you call him directly; his direct line is (972) 204-5452 and his email is Niles@scottpalmerlaw.com. Please have as much information as possible when you call. Also please have a pen and paper ready when you call. If Niles is unavailable then please speak with his paralegal Rachel Perez.
Niles often speaks at CLEs (continuing legal education) and legal conferences. His preferred topics include: the intersection of the First Amendment and criminal law; how to challenge a jury charge in a criminal case; objections to the presentence report (PSR); legal writing techniques; and, sales tax issues related to medical devices.
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