- 108 smart90.com/tvimagazine/2006/0206/106PortzBrandyNews.htm
top top top top 108 - Money TODAY'S
Cover Dear Editor LookRadio 120
PIXELS 3 columns $20,000
bail posted According to DALE LEZON, Staff
reporter for the Houston Chronicle - the Court of
Criminal Appeals will reissue the opinion after
correcting any errors. If the court upholds Briggs'
conviction, her attorneys can ask the court to
reconsider. If the conviction is overturned,
prosecutors must decide whether to retry Briggs,
drop the charge or ask the court to
Related Stories / Charles
Portz is the producer of his "It could Be You" for
LookRadio's new SmartLegal Advice Series, seen on
13, LookRadio.com. Respectfully
Submitted top top top 40 40+110+570=720
TVInews -106 Attorney Charles Portz Wins Freedom for Brandy Briggs -- Houston Murder Case tossed After 5 years in Jail
Photo: Attorney Charles Portz, left in Photo, Wins Freedom for Brandy Briggs -- Murder Case tossed After 5 years in Jail. Segments of Mr. Portz's new television show, "It Could Happen To You" -- are featured on LookRadio.com -- Channel 13.
Hong Kong Triad /
Brandy Del Briggs, 24, whose conviction for the death of her infant son, reported Anne Marie Kilday and Peggy O'Hare of the Houston Chronicle, on December 24th 2005, was overturned last week, by the law firm of Portz and Portz, clung tightly to her mother Friday evening as she became a free woman for the first time in five years.
"I just want to go home to my family, and for this to finally be over with," said Briggs, who was greeted by her mother, grandmother and a friend outside the Harris County Jail.
"I thank (attorney) Charles Portz and my family for allowing God to give them the strength to keep praying."
Briggs has been in prison for five years since she pleaded guilty to injury to a child for the 1999 death of her 2-month-old son, Daniel Lemons. She was serving a 17-year sentence.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals last week tossed out Briggs' conviction, ruling she had inadequate legal representation.
She was discharged from the Harris County Jail's Inmate Processing Center about 6:30 p.m., after leaving the Lockhart prison in south central Texas at noon Friday. The District Attorney's Office must decide whether to bring Briggs' case to trial or drop the charge against her.
The indictment against Briggs "is still standing," said lawyer Chuck Portz, the son of Briggs' attorney Charles Portz. "We are unsure what the status of it is, whether or not they are going to retry the case. In the event that it does go to trial, we will be there behind her."
On Friday, Briggs seemed nervous as she answered reporters' questions outside the jail. She said she always believed that her release would come "one day."
She was nearly speechless, and seemed unsteady as she leaned on her mother.
Briggs' mother, Shelbia Goss, 42, of Baytown, told reporters: "I just want to get my child something to eat and get her home."
When they were reunited inside the jail, Briggs "collapsed" into her mother's arms.
Earlier in the day, Briggs posted a $20,000 bond. Also, Harris County jail officials and state District Judge Mary Lou Keel spent several hours working on a way to resolve a "detainer" that had been issued by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
That detainer delayed Briggs' release for several hours, causing even more emotion for her mother, grandmother Charlene McGinty, and her friend Nan Lafitte.
Lafitte is godmother to Briggs' 5-year-old son Joseph. She and her husband, Charlie, have been caring for the little boy for the last few years.
Briggs conceived Joseph "very soon" after her first baby died, Lafitte said.
Before the release, the three women decided that they would make a quick shopping trip so that Briggs would not have to leave jail in cast-off clothes or prison garb. They raced from the jail to the downtown Foley's, picked out several pairs of blue jeans, a blue jean jacket, and red T-shirt for Briggs.
Lt. Michael Lindsay of the Harris County Sheriff's Office said that Judge Keel made several phone calls late Friday in an effort to secure Briggs' release in time for Christmas.
Lindsay said he was "doing everything I can to release her today."
He said officials of the TDCJ were difficult to reach because of the holiday weekend.
"I am sympathetic for anybody who is being held if they are not supposed to be held," Lindsay said.
Baby had birth defect
Briggs pleaded guilty to a charge of injury to a child, after her first child died in May 1999. The baby had a birth defect in his urinary system. After finding the infant limp and blue in his crib, Briggs called 911 and the baby was taken to Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.
At the hospital, a breathing tube was mistakenly inserted into his stomach rather than his lungs. The baby's brain was deprived of oxygen for about 40 minutes, said Portz, Briggs' appeals attorney.
The death initially was ruled a homicide, and Briggs was charged with murder. Briggs said she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge because her lawyer at the time, Richard Anderson, told her she would get probation. Anderson has denied saying that.
The Harris County Medical Examiner's Office later changed its initial ruling of homicide to "undetermined" after concluding that Briggs' baby showed no signs of abuse.
After the appeals court tossed out Briggs' conviction, Judge Keel issued a bench warrant calling for Briggs' return to Harris County.
Such warrants typically take up to two weeks to be processed, and sheriff's officials had indicated that Briggs would not receive any special treatment. That decision, however, was apparently reversed.
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According to DALE LEZON, Staff reporter for the Houston Chronicle - the Court of Criminal Appeals will reissue the opinion after correcting any errors. If the court upholds Briggs' conviction, her attorneys can ask the court to reconsider. If the conviction is overturned, prosecutors must decide whether to retry Briggs, drop the charge or ask the court to reconsider.
4. Related Stories / Charles Portz is the producer of his "It could Be You" for LookRadio's new SmartLegal Advice Series, seen on Channel 13, LookRadio.com.