Prosecutors seek to restore Dr. Dixon’s conviction

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Thomas Michael Dixon 2019 Mug 720

Thomas Michael Dixon

The office of Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney (CDA) filed a petition on Monday to the state’s highest criminal court in the Thomas Michael Dixon case. 

Dr. Dixon was convicted of capital murder for the shooting and stabbing death of Dr. Joseph Sonnier in Lubbock in 2012.  More specifically, Dixon was accused of paying David Shepard to commit the crime.  Shepard is serving a life sentence.

In December the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Amarillo reversed Dixon’s conviction.  The Lubbock CDA argued that the appeals court made errors.  

The CDA said the appeals court was wrong to find that Dixon’s right to a public trial was violated.  Restrictions made by the trial judge were reasonable, the CDA argued.  At all times, members of the public witnessed the public portions of the trial.  

The CDA also argued that cell phone records should not be enough to overturn the conviction. The appeals court said a proper search warrant was needed but not obtained for certain records.  Prosecutors did get a court order, but it was not a probable cause warrant, which the law said was permissible at the time.  A supreme court ruling changed things after Dixon was convicted.  

The CDA asked that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals set aside the ruling from the 7th Circuit and reinstate the conviction.  After the conviction was set aside, Dixon was allowed to post a $2 million bond to be released from custody. 

Dixon’s legal team will have a chance to file a written response to the high court as well. 

CLICK HERE to read the filing from the Lubbock CDA.

Joseph Sonnier, image from CHS.

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