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Mistaken Identity On Nov. 11, George Milner Jr., a partner in Dallas’ Milner & Finn who many consider the dean of the Dallas criminal-defense bar, was defending Marc Needham, who was accused of misdemeanor deadly conduct. According to a trial transcript, when Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Brian Poe asked a witness during direct examination to identify the defendant, she pointed to Milner. Poe asked her if she was sure, to which she replied: “He’s the only one in the blue suit with blue tie. He stood up and objected. Him — that’s him there.” After Poe passed the witness, Milner didn’t miss a beat, telling Dallas County Criminal Court No. 6 Judge Angela King: “Your honor, first of all let me enter a plea of not guilty.” Then Milner began cross-examining the witness. When Milner asked her what she remembered, she said: “Well, sir, I hate to tell you this, but the first thing I heard was you pointing a gun at me and saying, ‘Now do you want to F with me?’ Don’t you remember that?” “No. My memory is about like yours,” Milner said. “No, mine is very sharp, sir,” the witness replied. During redirect examination Poe asked the witness, “Would you be surprised that the person you’ve been talking to for the last 25 minutes is actually named George Milner? He’s a prominent attorney here in town, and he represents Marc Needham?” The witness replied, “Well, that’s a good trick they played, because he looks just like him to me.” The jury found Needham not guilty. Poe believes the reason the witness misidentified Milner is she saw him when she testified at a grand jury hearing. For Milner, it was just another great story he has accumulated during his 50 years practicing criminal law. “It was funny — one of those once-in-a-lifetime deals,” Milner says. “There’s no rule as to what you do when that happens.” Texas Thriller Houston lawyer John Odam wrote his first novel, a political thriller, so long ago that former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, who died in 2006, read the manuscript and provided him with a complimentary blurb. “Odam nails it! He captures the spirit of Texas while bringing us a great international political suspense novel. It’s down right scary to think something like this could really happen. . . . If it hasn’t already,” Richards wrote. Odam says he started writing “The Candidate Conspiracy” in 1996, after he lost a bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. He says he finished the book in a couple years and twice over the next few years hired agents to sell it, but they weren’t successful. Recently, Odam decided he had spent so much time on the book that he really wanted to get the story out, so he self-published it through iUniverse. Odam says he tweaked the book a bit over the years — adding in references to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, Iraq, e-mail and text messaging — but the basic plot was unchanged. “The basic idea, the premise of illegal money being put in [presidential elections] from foreign sources, has remained consistent [as has] the concept of the young Houston attorney on the money trail and the Texas Ranger on the trail of the killer,” Odam says. He talks in detail about the thriller on a YouTube video on the book’s promotional site, www.thecandidateconspiracy.com. Odam, of counsel at Funderburk & Funderburk in Houston, says he’s working on a sequel. In 1995, Odam penned “Courtin’ Texas,” which he wrote about his campaign visits when seeking the Democratic nomination for Texas attorney general in 1990. Help for the Homeless First-year students at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas are on a mission this holiday season to raise $10,000 to buy blankets, books and stuffed animals for area homeless children. Ann Chao and Mike Winn, both 1Ls, are heading the effort to sell holiday cards — featuring a snowman drawn by one of Dallas’ homeless children — to raise the funds for Project Night Night, a national nonprofit that provides tote bags to children aged 10 and younger in homeless shelters. Each bag contains an age-appropriate book, a blanket and a stuffed animal, Chao says. The students are selling packages of five cards and envelopes for $20. “That’s the cost to provide one child with one completely filled bag,” says Chao. The funds raised will buy totes for children in Dallas area shelters, she says. “We have about 80 people in our class,” she says. “So if everybody passes out five, and we’re hoping some people will sell more, we should be able to reach our goal.” Chao notes that attorneys with Strasburger & Price, Fulbright & Jaworski and Baker Botts are sponsoring the project and helped pay to print and package the cards.

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