Over the past 35 years, Vic has achieved numerous positive results for his clients. He has had numerous grand-jury no-bills. He has tried approximately 100 jury trials and has received verdicts of “Not Guilty” in the vast majority of them. Many more cases have resulted in acquittals following a bench trial. He was mentioned in a 1984 D Magazine article after having achieved 8 consecutive DWI jury trial acquittals. Numerous cases have been dismissed following successful motions to suppress evidence and other motions. Mr. Sasso has also negotiated hundreds of plea bargains resulting in favorable outcomes; such as deferred adjudications; felony reductions to misdemeanors; and other types of reductions such as driving while intoxicated to obstruction of a roadway; memo dismissals, and reduced charges.
SOME CASES OF NOTE
United States of America vs. Jibreel Rashad was part of the highly publicized Dallas City Hall public corruption case in which 13 others, including a city councilman, a planning & zoning commissioner, and a state representative were also indicted, following a massive 2 1/2 year FBI investigation. The case involved 38,823 Title III Wire Intercepts; 48 search warrants for items such as bank records, computer hard drives, cell phones, and personal papers and effects; 200 bankers boxes of documents; 100 “consensual encounters” which were audio/videotaped by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and 1 terabyte of additional electronic evidence. Mr. Rashad, whom Ms. Sasso represented, had been a standout football player at Wilmer Hutchins High School, a full scholarship defense back at the University of Texas At El-Paso, and a National Football League player for the New York Giants under Bill Parcells for one summer camp, where he was one of the last players cut.
Ex Parte Gayland Bradford – On February 5, 2001, Vic Sasso, and extremely competent co-counsel, Franklyn “Mick” Mickelsen, were appointed by the U.S. Magistrate under the provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, to represent Texas death-row inmate, Gayland Bradford, in his federal habeas corpus appeals. This case involved the robbery and murder of a security guard in Dallas on December 28, 1988. The case had the distinction of being the first convenience store homicide in Dallas County history that was video/audio recorded from the surveillance equipment. The sheer brutality of the murder as depicted in the video sparked outrage and was a factor in the decision of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to seek the death penalty. Bradford was convicted and sentenced to death by a jury in February of 1990. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his conviction in June of 1993, ruling that the trial court improperly denied psychiatric testimony obtained by Bradford’s lawyers in mitigation of punishment. He was given a new trial, and in May 1995, he was once again convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. In June of 1997, the Court of Criminal Appeals abated Bradford’s second death sentence, but then reinstated and affirmed it in February of 1999. Following the direct State appeal, Bradford failed in and exhausted all claims in his state habeas appeals. The case then moved to federal court. Despite being severely hampered and procedurally barred in most of his federal habeas claims by inexperienced, inept, and ineffective state habeas counsel, Sasso’s co-counsel was able to prosecute and litigate several issues, including whether Bradford was mentally retarded, and his execution therefore violative of the 8th Amendment provisions barring cruel and unusual punishment under the Supreme Court case of Atkins v. Virginia (2002). All claims ultimately failed, and Gayland Bradford was executed by the State of Texas on June 1, 2011.
State of Texas vs. Robert Bulloch Pope, 635 S.W.2d 815 (1982). Mr. Pope was arrested inside a residence on Greenville Avenue during the “dynamic” execution of a narcotics search warrant. However, the evidence in the affidavit in support of the search warrant had been illegally obtained by the Dallas Police while executing an arrest warrant for attempted murder several hours earlier, at the same residence. Mr. Sasso started working on this case a month after he joined the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, in June of 1980, between his second and third year of law school. He was hired by Charles G. “Chuck” Clay. Mr. Sasso did all of the legal work, including, the legal research and the motion to suppress hearing, which was denied. He did the appellate brief, with help from one of his mentors, the venerable and Honorable Judge Jan Hemphill. He is not listed as the attorney of record because he was not an attorney when either the case or the appeal commenced, and was appearing in Court under the authority of his “Student” bar card (in lieu of SMU Criminal Clinic) He argued the case before the Dallas Court of Appeals. The case was reversed in a published opinion on May 5, 1992, by a three judge panel, which included Justice Jon Sparling, the purported author of the notorious “Jury Selection Handbook”, used by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office in the 1970’s and 1980’s to systematically exclude blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Catholics, and even Italians from serving on Dallas County juries, including and especially their capital cases in which they sought and nearly always obtained, the death penalty. Mr. Pope got in some more trouble several years later in federal court. Mr. Pope was very intelligent, and had actually studied chemisty as a student at Baylor, although he did not graduate. The day before he was to self report to Federal Prison, he came to 500 North Griffin at Ross to thank Mr. Clay and Mr. Sasso for their help. That night, he died of a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head.
State v. Matvichuk, cause number MB96-49343. In 1996, Sasso and Charles Clay represented Richard Dorian Matvichuck, a starting defenseman for the Dallas Stars, a local professional hockey organization. Mr. Matvichuck had been arrested by the Dallas Police Department coming out of what was then Country 2000, at Manana and Interstate 35. Matvichuk was field tested and arrested. He was taken to th Lew Sterrett County Jail, where a videotape was made of him performing standardized field sobriety tests. He performed fairly well, was cooperative and polite at all times. He took a breath test and scored a .17. A Dallas County jury acquitted Mr. Matvichuck after a four day trial. There was no in-car video of Mr. Matvichuk at the scene. They acquitted based upon a reasonable doubt as to whether the initial stop and detention was legal. He was stoppped for allegedly running a stop sign on the northbound east service road. Sasso introduced many photographs in the trial showing that the line markings were defective. The photographs, and Sasso’s cross-examination of the police officer, along with expert testimony from well respected toxicologist, Dr. Gary Wimbish, were, according to the jury after the trial, instrumental in bringing truth to the proceedings. The cross-examination of the officer was effevtive, in part, because the photographs, taken from every conceivable angle, and based on the arresting officer’s own testimony, showed that he could not have seen what he said he saw from where he said he was, because his view of the stop lines for the northbound traffic was obstructed, There was evidence the vehicle did in fact stop. Unbeknownst to the officer, there were thirteen off-duty Arlington police officers in a white van directly behind Matvichuk’s vehicle, who had been out celebrating a bachelor party. They knew Mr. Matvichuk. Sasso called the designated driver to testify. His name is Sgt. Martin Emwallie and he had consumed no alcohol. The trial judge had denied Sasso’s motion to suppress shortly before trial. The jury however, essentially overruled the judge and acquitted because of 38.23 of the Texas Penal Code. The Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999.
State of Texas vs. Gregory Wickware – Search warrant was served at client’s home, where he was caught in the act of weighing and packaging about one kilogram of crack cocaine. Client was enhanced with two prior trips to the penitentiary, and his penalty range was therefore not less than 25 nor more than 99 years or life in prison. Following a jury trial, 40 years was assessed as punishment. Sasso objected at trial (and re-objected- and obtained running objection- and reurged objection) that police officer’s failure to knock and announce their presence before they executed a “dynamic entry” into the home violated the reasonableness requirement of the 4th Amendment. The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted PDR, and case was sent back to Dallas. The Dallas Court of Appeals, three years later, reversed, in the first successful defense case on this issue in the State of Texas. Exclusion of evidence is no longer the remedy, thanks to Hudson v. Michigan, one of the many “disappointing,” for lack of a better word, decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court pertaining to the rights of accused in recent years.
Recently had motion to suppress granted resulting in dismissal of .20 blood test on client arrested for DWI on North Dallas Tollway at Mockingbird.
Jury acquittal on DWI 2nd where client had been involved in one car accident and was driving away. According to Dallas police officer’s testimony, the car was driving completely on two right rims, “sparks were flying”; and client admitted on video that he had consumed 6 beers and “was possibly mildly intoxicated, maybe.”
Sasso has represented one individual on 6 DWI charges, 5 in Dallas County and 1 in Collin County. Three cases were tried to a jury resulting in “Not Guilty” verdicts, and two were acquittals in bench trials. His only conviction was on his first arrest, when he unwisely submitted to a breath test, with a very high result.
Sasso has been involved in 6 murder jury trials as either 1st or 2nd chair. Three were capital murder (non-death penalty) cases, two of which involved beating deaths of small children and the controversial Shaken Baby Syndrome. The other capital case involved the shooting & stabbing death of individual who came down from Chicago to buy a large quantity of narcotics from defendant, who, along with others killed and robbed victim. One non-capital murder was a double homicide in a drug house just east of Fair Park. In 1995 Sasso represented a Dallas woman who shot husband of 32 years in head three times at 6:00 a.m., while he was sleeping, in their home. She then called 911 and not only confessed, but admitted he was asleep. State’s offer was 60 years, “take it or leave it.” Jury had been stuck at 8-4 for probation, but later settled on 10 year sentence. 5 years was the minimum. In addition to the murder cases that went to trial, Sasso has been involved in approximately 10 others, including juvenile certifications on the basis of murder. In approximately 1985, Vic represented 14 year old Jamacian, J.C.P, who was found to have murdered 3 people in two seperate incidents in a single day. In 2003, Sasso represented 2 individuals who were alleged members of a powerful and violent Texas prison gang. A murder case against one was dismissed. The other, charged only with aggravated assault, was killed in a shootout (drug deal gone bad, allegedly) in West Dallas in which two other people were also killed. Client one was also present during the shooting and was a suspect in at least two of these deaths, but was himself shot and killed later in 2003.
Mr. Sasso has been involved in 5 intoxication manslaughter cases (formerly involuntary manslaughter). Sasso’s first involuntary manslaughter case was in Rockwall County, where a three year old died at the scene after his client inadvertently crossed over the medium of a two lane highway between Rockwall and Kaufman, after helping a friend move all day. He had never been in trouble with the law. They were the only two cars on the road at the time. He recieved probation, but served 120 days as a condition of probation. One involved a client who was fleeing the police in a chase on eastbound I20. He exited Hampton, ran a red light, and broadsided a vehicle, resulting in the death of its’ two occupants, both 18 year old recent graduates of Duncanville High School. On December 3, 2002, Sasso represented a 19 year old who ran a red light at Coit and Arapaho, killing a 27 year old mother of 2, who was 7 months pregnant.The unborn baby, a fully formed, viable girl died of “placental disruption,” according to the necropsy. In 2005, Sasso was retained by fellow attorney to assist in case where client (.16 and cocaine) had broadsided vehicle at Yale and Apollo in Richardson. Family of four was on their way to St. Paul’s Catholic Church when at about 9:12 am. on a Sunday morning, mother was driving; not wearing seat belt; was ejected; and died. In first trial Sasso helped prepare and defend case on causation issue, rasing doubts as to which vehicle ran red light. Based on his independent investigation, and with the help on an accident reconstructionist, Sasso concluded that the pressure plates controlling the control light system on the northbound side were too close to the intersection. There had already been one fatality accident at the intersection, and the City of Richardson had tried to correct the perceived problem, following an engineering study. Case ended in mistrial. In second trial (VS did not actively participate), defendant was acquitted of intoxication manslaughter, based partially on Sasso’s work product, and on the testimony of an independent witness that the defense team’s investigator had found for the first trial. but convicted of DWI. Trial judge was so incensed, he gave defendant, who had been in jail over a year and thus had time served for maximum DWI sentence of 6 months, probation, just so he could add 30 additional days as a condition of probation. Defendant served 30 days and was deported.
State of Texas vs. Taub – In 1995, Sasso obtained a not guilty verdict from a Collin County jury wherein his female client was charged with arson. The evidence showed she was in financial distress with regard to house payments, and had removed valuables from the home on the day of the fire. There was evidence that showed she then visited her safe deposit box, and set up a “paper trail” alibi. There were other issues involved, but with the aid and assistance of renowned arson expert, Morris Covin, from Houston, the jury had a reasonable doubt and acquitted.
State of Texas vs. Matter Expunged – Client was undergraduate student at SMU in Dallas. He fled from the Dallas Police Department in his late model Corvette because he thought he had unpaid traffic tickets. After spinning out at the intersection of Royal and Luna, DPD officer used deadly force against the client by shooting towards his vehicle. In his “Dear Chief” letter to explain why he fired his weapon, the officer stated that he feared for his life because the driver was attempting to run him down with his vehicle. The client was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon, which carries a penalty range of not less than 5 years or 99 years or life in the penitentiary. Client stated that he was fleeing the scene, and that officer, he thought, must have shot at rear of vehicle. Through independent investigation, Sasso learned that detectives called to the scene spent most of their time examining the rear of the vehicle. Sasso went to Internal Affairs, who wanted a sworn statement from his client, which Sasso refused to give because he feared aggravated perjury charges against his client. Sasso persisted with Internal Affairs, but in the meantime, the officer stuck with his story with sworn testimony in both an examining trial and before a Dallas County Grand Jury. After indictment DPD requested that Sasso’s client take a police polygraph. Sasso agreed, but only after his client had secretly passed a private polygraph. The client passed the DPD polygraph. Only then was the officer required to take a polygraph. A refusal on his part would have been grounds for termination. The officer failed his polygraph, and only then did the officer admit he had lied from the beginning, at the examining trial and before the grand jury. All charges except for one were dismissed against Sasso’s client. The officer, a 19 year veteran, was terminated. He was investigated for Official Oppression and Aggravated Perjury, and the case was referred to the grand jury. The officer was no-billed on both cases. Two weeks later, the SAME grand jury indicted Victor Franklin for aggravated perjury in one of the most famous death penalty cases in Dallas history, involving the shooting death of a Dallas Police Officer. That case was successfully defended by Peter Lesser, but only after a Dallas Police Officer broke “The Code Of Silence” and told the truth, thus bringing integrity to the proceedings and the result, something we call JUSTICE.
In The Interests of “Baby Kaleta” Vic happened to be in Chambers talking with a family court district judge late on a Friday afternoon when an application for an emergency protective order was filed by Child Protective Services necessitating the appointment of an Attorney Ad Litem to represent “Baby Kaleta,” who was in the first wave of the highly publicized HIV positive “crack babies” born at Parkland Hospital in the early 1990’s. Because her mother was unable to care for her, Kaleta was one of the first long term patients at Bryan’s’House, in Dallas. Over several years Sasso represented Kaleta, terminating parental rights of the biological mother and father (father unknown) and ensuring that Kaleta was adequately cared for and protected in her foster home. Eventually, Kaleta received a permanent placement, and all matter related to her involvement in the juvenile system were permanently sealed.
State of Texas vs. D. W. Mc**** – On March 3, 1982, three months after being licensed to practice law, Sasso agreed to meet a potential client, David Wayne Mc***, after hours, at Mc***’s request, at Sasso’s office at 500 North Griffin at Ross, in downtown Dallas. Mr. Mc*** was part of a group who were allegedly involved in cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking, mostly in East Texas. Sasso had already had some success in knocking out narcotics search warrants with the group. Mr. Mc*** needed a vehicle, did not have a vehicle and had walked from the Greyhound Bus Station. Sasso had a vehicle, some cash , and his “pimp” watch, and was alone at the office, late at night. Shortly after Mc*** arrived and talked his way into the office, Sasso became uneasy and alarmed at Mc***’s demeanor and behaviour. Sasso felt that something was inconsistent about Mc***’s reason for being there and his explanation about something he said had happened to him at the Greyhound Bus Station. Mc*** did not know that Sasso had worked four summers and four Christmas breaks at the Greyhound Bus Station and knew their procedures well. Sasso was unarmed (at that time). As Mc*** became increasingly agitated and confrontational, Sasso was somehow able talk and walk Mc*** out of his office and building. The next night, March 4, 1982, Mc***, still in need of a car and money, and in a narcotics induced psychosis, abducted Bobby Hill from the parking lot of Rox-Z Club, then on the northeast corner of Greenville Avenue and Pineland. Hill had driven his father’s 1980 tan over navy blue Chrysler Cordoba to the club to pick up his girlfriend, who had lost her keys to her car at the club. Mc*** took Mr. Hill to a vacant field in Las Colinas, tied his hands behind his back, and inflicted 6 gun shots to the back of his head. On March 5, Sasso visited a member of the group, Kevin ***, on an unrelated felony drug matter in the University Park jail. Several hours later, Mc*** showed up to attempt to visit Long, his friend. Police became suspicious and took down the license plate of the vehicle Mc*** was then driving, which turned out to be the vehicle of the deceased. On March 7, 1982, Mc*** was arrested in the same Rox-Z’s parking lot, heavily armed, driving the same vehicle, presumably looking for another victim. He was taken to the Irving City Jail on the charge of Capital Murder, Aggravated kidnapping, and Aggravated Robbery. Mc*** was sentenced to death. He is no longer on death row. The main case is reported in 707 S.W.2nd 23, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (en banc) 1985. Sasso believes to this day that the Hand of God somehow intervened on March 3, 1982, and his life was spared. He very easily, could have been a homicide victim that night.