Best Move by an Appellate Lawyer - 2008
Brian Wice and Kent Schaffer, Getting the Gag Order Lifted in the Teen Killer Case
The murder trial of Ashley Paige Benton fascinated Houston — a teen girl involved in a gang fight in Montrose, where she stabbed another teen to death. Her first trial ended in a hung jury; as the retrial process began, the trial judge entered a gag order. That kept Benton's media-savvy and sound-bite-smart lawyers, Brian Wice and Kent Schaffer, from telling the sympathetic parts of her story to the city. They immediately went to the appeals court, which unanimously ruled in their favor. Very, very shortly after, prosecutors offered a better deal than they ever had before — five years deferred probation, with possible early termination after two years. Don't mess with the spinmeisters!