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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Racehorse Haynes

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Legendary trial lawyer and Houston Law alumnus Richard ‘Racehorse’ Haynes was in action at the Williamson County courthouse outside of Austin last week defending a 41-year-old mother of two accused of sexual contact with a minor, a 16-year old boy who has already testified that they had a sexual relationship.

There’s some video from local station KVUE and an article from the Austin American-Statesman.

Racehorse Haynes is one of my legal heroes, so I was a little aghast today to realize that I haven’t written about him here before. Haynes is widely known in the criminal defense realm and though he’s starting to get up there at 80, he’s still out there trying cases. He made a name defending wealthy, high-profile clients against seemingly overwhelming evidence. He had an ego to match. Court TV’s crime library recounts an episode when “Time magazine once referred to him as one of the top six criminal lawyers in America and shortly before Cullen’s trial, Haynes was asked by a reporter if he was the best criminal defense lawyer in Texas. He barely paused before replying, “I believe I am.” Then, he immodestly added, “I wonder why you restrict it to Texas.”

Another old article from the Wall Street Journal noted the following:

Once, during closing arguments, Mr. Haynes cross-examined a key witness that the prosecution had refused to call by addressing pointed questions to an empty witness chair. His questions were so demanding of answers that 10 jurors voted to, acquit his client.

A little further down it quoted another lawyer saying of Haynes, “The reason Haynes is the best lawyer money can buy, is because he does his own detective work, he picks his juries real careful-like, and he isn’t too damned pin-striped to take a wild-fool risk now and again.”

Hmmmm… I think I need to add that to the voir dire section of the trial notebook I’m working on – “pick juries real careful-like.”

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Category: criminal law, university of houston


4 Responses

  1. Mark Bennett says:

    I’ve learned more about practicing criminal law while riding on courthouse elevators with Richard Haynes than I did in three years of law school.

  2. Racehorse Haynes is a legendary figure in criminal defense work and his success at winning difficult cases reflects that he is a Great Criminal Defense Lawyer.


    Glen R. Graham, Tulsa Criminal Defense Lawyer, Tulsa, Oklahoma

  3. Austin Kyles says:

    I’ve been researching him for a while and most of the sites i’ve been to say that he was going to nail his hand to the defense table. I think that’s extremely cool :P

  4. Kelly Robinson says:

    I remember the very first time setting foot in a courtroom was to intern with my court reporting classmates at the Pamela Fielder trial in Fort Worth in the early 80′s; had no clue who this “Racehorse” character was!

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