CBS News in Dallas reports that Johnny Manziel is expected to be indicted Tuesday on allegations that he attacked his ex-girlfriend in January, an attorney for the troubled former NFL quarterback said Monday.
Robert Hinton told The Associated Press that prosecutors have notified him they expect a local grand jury to sign off on a misdemeanor assault charge for family violence for the 23-year-old Manziel. The Class A misdemeanor carries up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
A familiar pattern is playing out inside the Dallas County courthouse as the district attorney’s office battles with a judge amid talk of a grand jury investigation of that jurist.
The fight began earlier this month in a family violence case handled by Criminal Court Judge Elizabeth Frizell. Depending on who’s talking, paperwork in the case either never existed, was lost or destroyed.
Defense attorney David Finn believes the dispute is a power grab by the DA’s office. But top prosecutors say it’s a political ploy by Finn to taint District Attorney Craig Watkins before the November election where the DA will face former judge Susan Hawk.
The attorney for a Frisco woman found dead, along with her husband, in their home last week said the contents of a note discovered at the scene should be released to the public.
David Finn also called on the Texas Rangers to provide an independent report on the investigation into the deaths of Sumeet and Pallavi Dhawan. The Rangers have been asked to assist with the investigation.
The attorney for an accused Frisco mother found dead is demanding an independent investigation
It is a tragic story that has captivated much of North Texas. Frisco mom Pallavi Dhawan — accused by police of killing her son Arnav in January — was found dead in the family’s home last week along with her husband, Sumeet.
Five days after the discovery, Dhawan family attorney David Finn is talking. He was already frustrated with the way Frisco police handled Arnav’s case.
“Frisco hopes that people just lose interest and forget about this,” Finn said. “Don’t allow it, and demand transparent justice.”
The lawyer for the late Sumeet and Pallavi Dhawan is resisting the invitation — and perhaps the temptation — to blame the Frisco Police Department, at least in part, for the couple’s death.
“I’m not going to be that guy,” said David Finn, who for months has pushed detectives to either present their evidence or drop the case against Mrs. Dhawan in the death of her 10-year-old son in January. “I’m going to let people reach their own conclusions.”
On Wednesday, a family member reportedly discovered two bodies at the Dhawan residence: a woman in the backyard swimming pool, and a man inside the house. Finn said he had heard from relatives in India that they have been notified that Sumeet and Dhawan had died, and Thursday evening Frisco police confirmed that the bodies were the couple’s.
DALLAS — A Dallas County family is suing the city of Balch Springs after their daughter drowned in a newly-constructed pond.
It’s a tragedy they say could have been prevented if “no swimming” signs were up.
The signs surrounded the retention pond at Walter E. Luedke Park the day after 10-year-old Tamia Johnson’s death. She died on May 18.
“You never think of danger when you’re taking your kids to the park,” Antoin Lockett said.
Lockett said he let Tamia join her friends at the park while he parked his car. He said he had no idea a retention pond was behind the park — a hill of dirt was blocking it from his view. In a matter of minutes, he said Tamia followed a trail to the pond and went in, thinking it was safe for swimming.
“There was actual grown people in the water once I ran up,” he said.
Lockett said the park, which opened in April, opened too soon. City leaders disagree.
“It’s not there for swimming purposes,” said Balch Spring spokesman David Haas. “It’s there for aesthetic purposes.”
Tamia’s family says that’s not good enough. In their opinion, the pond is plagued with problems.
“This didn’t have to happen,” said attorney Greg Ave, who is fighting on the family’s behalf. They’re filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
“They haven’t learned,” Lockett said. “Even with my daughter gone, they think because they put some signs up that that’s going to save the kids at the park.”
The city’s public information officer isn’t commenting on the lawsuit, but he did say the pond, which is at most eight feet deep, isn’t dangerous.
“Absolutely not,” Haas said. “We have ponds in several of our parks. Other cities have ponds in their parks.”
Haas said he’s deeply saddened a young life was taken, but hopes a larger lesson can be learned from this tragedy.
“Watch your child,” he said. “The pond is there. It is an attraction, but it’s there for a purpose.”
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed today against Balch Springs over the May 18 drowning of 10-year-old Tamia Johnson.
She died after being pulled from a pond at Walter E. Luedke Park at 3201 Hickory Tree Road, west of Interstate 635.
“That park shouldn’t have been opened,” Antoin Lockett, the child’s stepfather, said at a press conference this afternoon.
He and the child’s mother, Ebony McGee, allege in their lawsuit that Balch Springs had planned to post warning signs against swimming and erect a fence around the pond but opened the park before those protections were in place.
Channel 5 reported that rains had filled the retention pond and citizens complained that signs should have been posted before the park opened to the public.
Balch Springs officials have not returned phone calls seeking comment.
The 2014 List of Dallas’ Best Criminal Defense Lawyers – as voted by their peers
After weeks of peer nominations followed by weeks of voting, here is the 2014 list of Dallas’ Best Criminal Defense Lawyers as chosen by their peers. Each list is in alphabetical order.
If my son/daughter were charged with a FELONY in Dallas County:
TOP 15 (alphabetical order)
• Scottie Allen
• Clint Broden
• Brook Busbee
• John Cook
• David Finn
• Macy Jaggers
• Edwin “Bubba” King
• Kirk Lechtenberger
• Martin LeNoir
• Anthony Lyons
• George Milner
• Scott Palmer
• Reed Prospere
• Barry Sorrels
• Brady Wyatt
FRISCO –– The husband of a Frisco woman accused of murdering their 10-year-old son has publicly declared her innocence, saying religious customs are the reason she acted the way she did.
Sumeet Dhawan said his wife, a former NASA computer programmer, put Arnav’s body on ice to await his return from an out-of-town business trip so he could deliver last rites.
That’s quite possible, says Nikhil Moro, an expert on Hindu culture and associate professor of journalism at the University of North Texas. Hindu religious customs typically require that the closest male relative deliver last rites to allow the “soul to move to its next vehicle or next body.”
“So to the extent that cremation marks the end of the current body, I think the mother might have waited … for the father,” Moro said.
However, nothing in the tradition precludes her from reporting the boy’s death to the authorities, he added. So far, the Collin County medical examiner has not been able to determine a cause of death. Authorities are awaiting the results of toxicology testing.
David Finn, the Dallas-based attorney representing Sumeet’s wife, Pallavi, said he has been told by the medical examiner that Arnav did not drown, nor did he have any visible injuries.
Pallavi Dhawan posted $50,000 bond and was released.
She was arrested last Wednesday after her son’s body was found in the bathtub of the family’s Frisco home. Finn said the boy’s body had been in the tub for several days.
Authorities have said that Pallavi Dhawan was asked if she had “killed the child and the wife nodded her head, ‘yes.’’’
Moro questions the importance that police are placing on the woman’s nod.
“It is possible that she meant to say ‘yes’ when she nodded, but did not understand the question or the nature of the question,” he said. “Clearly communication issues are at the heart of misunderstandings, and those issues can crop up from — for example — not being able to precisely understand the meaning of a nod.”
Pallavi’s husband said his wife was in a state of shock and did not confess to killing their son. A police spokesman said he was present when officers first spoke with his wife.
“I asked her what happened,” Sumeet Dhawan said. “She said, ‘Arnav is no more.’”
He also has said that their son suffered from a rare neurological problem that caused seizures. He and his wife’s attorney have demanded that Frisco police return records documenting his son’s medical problems.
“She can never ever hurt that child,” Dhawan said.
McKINNEY — A Collin County district court judge ordered Frisco police to return personal belongings of no evidentiary value to the family of Pallavi and Sumeet Dhawan on Wednesday.
But Judge Scott Becker’s order comes with some conditions.
The items must be returned by Friday at 5 p.m. The judge stated, however, if the police department deems certain items have evidentiary value, the judge will decide which items should be returned to the family. It is unclear when that decision will be made.
Ten-year-old Arnav Dhawan was found dead in a bathtub at his family’s Frisco home on January 29. His mother, Pallavi Dhawan, was charged with capital murder in the case.
Police said Mrs. Dhawan admitted to the murder by nodding when she was asked if she killed her son when they were called to the home in January.
Her husband, Sumeet Dhawan, and family attorney David Finn denied that Mrs. Dhawan admitted to the crime, but said she did nod “yes” when asked if the boy’s body was in the locked bathroom. The family has maintained that the boy died from complications from a brain cyst.
The Collin County medical examiner said the 10-year-old’s cause of death was undetermined, but also said he most likely died due to “natural disease.”
Last month, Judge Becker ordered Frisco police to turn over a copy of medical records authorities seized from the family. But he also ordered that the original documents “remain in the possession of the FPD or any entity investigating on its behalf” until the conclusion of the investigation.
The family’s vehicle was impounded by police after Pallavi Dhawan was charged. The Dhawans say they want the personal items from the car.
“They have Arnav’s school bag, his journals, and all personal stuff,” Sumeet Dhawan said. “I mean, why can’t you give these things back? That’s all we’re asking.”
Initially, Finn fought to get the vehicle back into the family’s hands. But the judge ordered on Wednesday that the vehicle will not be returned and remain in Frisco police custody, along with a fax machine, hard drive for the vehicle, and passports.
The case is still with the Frisco Police Department. The department has maintained from the beginning that these items are crucial to the investigation.
The state prosecutor said in court, “we object to this being released, there’s a little boy who is dead.”
FRISCO — The mother of a 10-year-old boy found dead in a bathtub inside the family's Frisco home was released on bond, police revealed Friday morning.
Frisco police said 38-year-old Pallavi Dhawan surrendered her passport and visa under terms of the $50,000 bond. Mrs. Dhawan was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Arnav Dhawan, who didn't attend school several days before his body was found inside a locked room at the Frisco residence.
Authorities also revealed initial autopsy results were inconclusive. Frisco police said they're awaiting toxicology results to determine the child's cause of death.
Dhawan family attorney David Finn told News 8 Friday afternoon Arnav suffered from a brain cyst that could've caused seizures and saw doctors every six months to monitor its development. Finn said he was unsure if the medical examiner was aware of the cyst when he conducted the autopsy.
According to Frisco police, Mrs. Dhawan nodded "yes" when asked if she killed her son.
Finn said cultural and religious misunderstandings led to Mrs. Dhawan being charged in the death.
In Indian culture, nodding the head could mean "no," he said. He also said it's not unusual in Indian culture to preserve bodies for a longer time for religious reasons.
"It's a big deal to say goodbye because in Hindu/Indian culture, if [a] father does not say goodbye in person then the soul does not rest in peace," Finn wrote in an e-mail to News 8. "It's called 'giving of last rites.' [Mrs. Dhawan] said if [her] husband did not say goodbye to [Arnav], his soul would be here forever.'"
Mrs. Dhawan was arrested Wednesday night after police were called to the home when the boy's father, Sumeet Dhawan, couldn't locate the child upon returning home from a three-week business trip.
The family told their attorney Mrs. Dhawan thought her husband would be home any minute, and his business trip had taken several days longer than expected.
Mr. Dhawan's wife arrived at the home as police talked with her husband. Frisco police said Mr. Dhawan conversed with his wife privately before they were led to the young boy's body.
"The child was lying the bathtub with cloth wrapped up to the child's neck," read a search warrant. "Plastic bags were also found in the bathrub around the child as well."
Finn said the plastic bags once held ice, which Mrs. Dhawan used to preserve the body.
Finn said Mrs. Dhawan was emotional and unable to communicate when police were at the scene. He also said Mr. Dhawan disputed that police asked his wife if she killed the boy.
Arnav was a fifth grade student at Isbell Elementary School in the Frisco Independent School District. His funeral will be held Saturday.
The husband of a Texas woman accused of murdering their 10-year-old son has publicly declared her innocence, saying religious customs are the reason she acted the way she did. Sumeet Dhawan said his wife, Pallavi Dhawan, a former NASA computer programmer, put Arnav Dhawan’s body on ice so he could deliver last rites upon his return from an out-of-town business trip.
David Finn, a Dallas-based attorney representing Pallavi Dhawan, told ABC affiliate WFAA 8 that the medical examiner told him Arnav Dhawan did not drown, nor did he have any visible injuries.
Pallavi Dhawan was arrested Jan. 29 after her son’s body was found in the bathtub of the family’s Frisco home, apparently kept for several days.
Authorities have said that Pallavi Dhawan was asked if she had “killed the child and she nodded her head, ‘yes.’” She remains free on a $50,000 bail. The Collin County medical examiner has not ruled on the cause of death pending toxicology results.
However, Sumeet Dhawan told WFAA 8 that his wife was in a state of shock and did not confess to killing their son. He also has said that their son suffered from a rare neurological problem that caused seizures. He and his wife’s attorney have demanded that Frisco police return records documenting his son’s medical problems. “She can never ever hurt that child,” Sumeet Dhawan said.
Meanwhile, both parents attended a vigil held for Arnav Dhawan Feb. 5 night outside their home and reportedly wept during the vigil. Nearly 150 people attended the vigil with teddy bears, Hot Wheels cars and photographs of the 5th-grader, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“When you lose a child, you lose a child. You really don’t have time for those things,” news reports quoted Pallavi Dhawan as saying. “Forget his ailments and everything, you know. Other than that he was a boy, a little kid.”