The following is from the Oct. 16, 2007, edition of The Dallas Morning News. SMU Law Professor George Martinez was a source on this story.
By TIARA M. ELLIS
The Dallas Morning News
Paul Alexis says he just wanted his children back. So when a Collin County family court judge returned them, essentially clearing the Louisiana man of any wrongdoing in connection with his son's head injury, he thought his worries were over.
But now he is facing criminal charges – and up to life in prison – for the same incident, in which he maintains that he slipped while carrying his newborn and hit the boy's head against a dresser.
The first judge handled the civil case, which dealt with child placement.
Now, a second judge is charged with handling the same matter based on an indictment by a Collin County grand jury, which determined there's enough evidence to take the case to trial. . .
George Martinez, a law professor at Southern Methodist University, said it's highly unusual for a dismissed civil case to be prosecuted criminally because the burden of proof on the criminal side is so high.
"If he won with the lower burden of proof on the civil side, how can they take it over to the criminal side and expect to make a case when they have to show that it happened beyond a reasonable doubt?" Mr. Martinez said.
It's not unheard of, however, for criminal cases to be later tried in civil court.
One of the well-known examples is the O.J. Simpson case, Mr. Martinez said, in which the criminal proceedings ended in a murder acquittal.
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