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We serve Texoma families. With hundreds of cases successfully completed, we provide beneficial resolution to your most challenging circumstances. Clients appreciate our ethical, focused approach. We invite you to call to find out how we can help you.
Do you want to file for divorce? Or are you responding to divorce action from your spouse? Both can be enormously stressful. Whatever the case, James A. Fry will hear your story and suggest viable options for your situation.
In Texas, there is no-fault divorce and fault-based divorce. If fault is implied, it can affect the distribution of property, child custody, or related matters. In either case, you need the services of an experienced attorney to assist with property division, child issues and other circumstances affected by legal separation.
Child Custody & Visitation
There may be no other issue more critical to a parent than a divorce case where there is conflict over custody. Obviously, the child’s best interest is the primary concern of the courts and the parents. What that looks like, though, is often in dispute. The court will consider many situations, such as the child’s age and each parent’s availability and caretaking skill.
You may be surprised to know that your child has rights. The issue is of primary importance to loving parents. James A. Fry can help you secure the arrangements that are best for your child and for you.
“Equitable distribution” is a term that means splitting marital property in half. Many factors determine whether that is a fair resolution, such as earnings capacity, homemaker status, domestic violence, hidden assets, and personal and separate properties. Asset assignment is one of the most important decisions that could impact your future. You can’t afford to be blindsided.
James A. Fry will help you determine what assets are at stake. He will ensure that your rights are secured. Whatever the circumstances, you must take steps to keep what is yours…for yourself and for your family.
There is no way around it. Ending a marriage doesn’t negate parental responsibilities. Certainly, you understand that. Even so, it’s natural to have questions.
The amount of child support includes a number of factors such as income, available resources, and other circumstances. Perhaps paternity needs to be established.
As life changes, child support amounts may also. You need the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable attorney to guide you through the process, which may involve temporary child support orders or non-custodial parental rights.
Visitation is a question central to many cases where children are involved. There are emotional and practical aspects to determining frequency of visits, location, and other factors that keep your child’s safety and best interest as a priority. James A. Fry is the attorney to help establish parameters that you are comfortable upholding.
James A. Fry
Board Certified in Family Law ,
Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
James A. Fry has devoted his legal career to assisting individuals facing divorce and child custody issues. He is a graduate of Austin College, Sherman, Texas and St. Mary’s University, School of Law in San Antonio. He began his legal career in the Dallas County District Attorney office where he was a felony prosecutor. In 1985, he returned to Grayson County where he established his law practice. He became Board Certified in Family Law in 1993.
Fry served for six years as a member and Chairman of the District 1A State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee. He was selected as the Best Attorney in Texomaland In addition, he holds the coveted AV – Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubble attorney rating service. This honor was bestowed following a survey of area attorneys and Judges where he was found to be worthy of the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards.
Fry is also active in the community through his membership in the Sherman Rotary Club where he served as President in 2006. He devotes most of his energy outside the practice of law to the Boy Scouts of America. He served as local District Chairman for nine years, has been the local Finance Chairman, and serves as an instructor to volunteers coming into the program in all areas of the Boy Scouts and also Youth Protection. He possesses the Silver Beaver Award for service to the Community and Scouting as well as the Whitney Young award for service to rural youth. Both of these awards were given to Mr. Fry by the national Boy Scouts of America. He also serves on the advisory board of Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts.
All Major Credit Cards Accepted
Stripped of the modern trappings of the court system, the saga of condemned Texas murderer Andre Thomas resembles a medieval horror story featuring madness, a family’s homicidal slaughter, the defendant’s self-mutilation and a waiting executioner.
Knowing it’s real makes the story almost too grotesque to stomach.
Still, it was a service by the Texas Tribune and Texas Monthly to render it in stark detail, because it challenges this state’s collective conscience.
Thomas would have a standard death row cell today were it not for his mental instability. With his eyelids surgically shut over empty sockets, he waits in a prison psychiatric unit until a federal judge decides whether he can be put to death.
A reading of the case file is a journey into darkness.
Born into a chaotic family in Sherman, Thomas grew up with a mentally ill mother and siblings. He was experiencing auditory hallucinations and using alcohol by age 9 or 10. Regular drug abuse followed, with a series of arrests for petty crimes. Thomas was a father at 16 and married his girlfriend, Laura Boren, at 18, a union that lasted four months before the couple separated.
The voices in Thomas’ head kept growing in intensity, and he fixated on secret codes he saw on the dollar bill. He was tormented by visions that he was reliving the same events. At age 21, he harmed himself twice shortly before the murders. A neighbor took him to a medical center, where a doctor said he was “really mentally ill.” But Thomas slipped away without treatment.
Two days later, in March 2004, Thomas entered the home of his estranged wife with three knives. He killed Laura, and cut out part of a lung; killed Andre Jr., 4, and cut out his heart; then killed Laura’s daughter, Leyha, 13 months, and cut out her heart. He thought the three were possessed.
Thomas stabbed himself in the chest and lay down to die beside his dead wife, but when that didn’t happen he stuffed his victims’ organs in his pockets and walked home.
Later, in the Grayson County Jail, he gave rambling, delusional confessions. It was there he gouged out his right eye with his fingers, citing obedience to a biblical injunction.
After diagnoses of schizophrenia, Thomas was medically stabilized so he could be tried. A jury sorted through differing expert opinions on Thomas’ insanity and its origins and sent him to death row. It was there he pulled out his remaining eye and ate it.
This is the man that the state of Texas argues should be executed.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has deferred to the jury verdict, ruling that Thomas “is clearly ‘crazy,’ but he is also ‘sane’ under Texas law.”
It seems, rather, that the world has gone mad. That this human being is responsible for his psychotic actions is a preposterous notion. To strap down and terminate the life of such a tortured creature is the way a medieval society would deal with its embarrassments.
Texas must be better than that, and the courts should save us from insane ideas of what constitutes justice
Time Is Money
Dealing Successfully With a Divorce Attorney
Star Telegram, April 16, 2006
Dealing with divorce and divorce lawyers is not much different than taking a trip without first plotting out the route. If you go to a matrimonial lawyer without specific objectives or goals in mind, and thini he or she can fix it for you, you’ll be disappointed. Given a specific set of facts, lawyers are trained to apply the law and advise clients about ways to attain specific goals – or at least some of them.
Here are some basic guidelines:
Gather as much of your financial and other information as possible before you go to see your lawyer. This includes tax returns and schedules, financial statements, budget documents and the like from at least the last five years.
Make sure your fee arrangement is in writing, that you understand it before you sign, and that everyone understands how you will pay your bill. Generally, lawyers are not allowed to take a percentage of what is recovered for you in a divorce case, so expect to pay by the hour.
Since you won’t always need to talk to your lawyer wnen you have questions, meet and get to know the paralegal or secretary so you can give and get information billed at lower rates.
Write out your questions, then make an appointment with the lawyer and take notes about what you’re told.
If there are billing questions, talk to the billing clerk or the secretary who handles this aspect of the business. The lawyer should be the last resort.
Photocopies made at the lawyer’s office may cost you 25 or more cents per page, sometimes plus the time of the person making the copies. So for numerous copies, consider making your own at copy shops to save money.
If you don’t understand something, ask. And if you have a problem with the way your lawyer is handling your case, also ask. Don’t allow the issue to fester.
Your lawyer should keep you reasonably informed about the status of your case by sending you copies of what goes out of the office. Then you’ll be less likely to make emergency calls. Remember: Spur-of-the-moment calls just to find out what’s going on can get expensive.
Don’t second-guess your lawyer based on the advice of friends and family. But if you feel strongly about a point, seek a second opinion. Let your lawyer know you feel this way.
Remember that your lawyer works for you. After you have been fully informed and have reviewed your options, you and your lawyer should decide upon a course of action suitable to your situation.
Don’t be surprised if your case takes time to get resolved. Although everyone is in a hurry to complete his/her case, you will have no control over scheduling issues that can keep your case in limbo for a long time.
If your lawyer promises or guarantees you a result, get another lawyer
– Jan Collins, a writer and editor, and Jan Warner, matrimonial tax and elder
By James A. Fry
When I prosecuted Charles Chatman for aggravated rape in 1981, I was certain I had the
right man. His case was one of the first important felony cases that I prosecuted as an
Assistant District Attorney in Dallas County. He was convicted in a court of law by a jury
of his peers. They, like myself, were convinced of his guilt. Nearly 27 years later, DNA
proved me — and the criminal justice system — wrong. Mr. Chatman was innocent.
He was freed from prison in January of this year after DNA testing proved him innocent.
Mr. Chatman spent nearly 27 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit — a stark
reminder that our justice system is not immune from error. This simple truth cannot be
questioned by any reasonable person.
I am proud of having been a prosecutor — it is honorable work. In fact, I still have a
portrait of former Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade in my law office. He was
a good man, and he gave me a chance to be a trial lawyer. However, my unknowing
involvement in prosecuting an innocent man has been a very troubling experience. It has
been cause not simply for personal reflection, but for reflection on the broken state of our
criminal justice system.
Mr. Chatman’s story is tragically not unique. The staggering number of exonerations
attest to just how easily the innocent can be convicted of crimes. Nationally, 225
individuals have been released from prison after DNA testing proved their innocence.
Seventeen of these individuals had been sentenced to death. Twenty DNA exonerations
were from Dallas County alone, the highest number of any local jurisdiction in the
country. The vast majority of those exonerated in Dallas County, would still be in prison
but for the fact Dallas retained the DNA evidence.
Like so many of these cases, Mr. Chatman was convicted on the testimony of one
eyewitness. Eyewitness misidentification is one of the greatest causes of wrongful
convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75 percent of DNA exonerations. The
fault in Mr. Chatman’s case, however, lies not with the victim, who honestly believed she
had identified the right man. Instead, it lies in part with the flawed eyewitness
identification procedures used by law enforcement agencies. Research has shown that
relatively small changes can greatly improve eyewitness accuracy, changes that urgently
need to be implemented.
Eyewitness identification is not the only cause contributing to wrongful convictions. Far
from it. Politicians, a category that includes elected officials, District Attorneys and
Judges, need to be less concerned about remaining in office and more concerned with
determining the truth. More effort needs to be given to see that court appointed attorneys
have adequate compensation and investigation fluids. Until these issues are addressed
and reforms are put in place, the number of innocent men and women sent to prison will
continue to rise.
Mr. Chatman’s case was not Capital crime, but the problems that led to his wrongful
conviction begs the question: How can we continue carrying out executions in Texas
when we know the system is so prone to error?
For years, Texas has led the nation in the number of executions. In five months of this
year alone, we have executed eighteen men. The next closest state, Virginia, has executed
four. Why don’t we now strive to lead the nation in a new direction: reforming a justice
system in urgent need of reform.
I think about Mr. Chatman every day—about the role I personally played in the
conviction of an innocent man, and about the prevalence of wrongful convictions more
broadly. After significant consideration, I have reached an unmistakable conclusion: the
system is broken, and until we are able to fix it, a moratorium on the death penalty is
For years I supported capital punishment, but I have come to believe that our criminal
justice system is incapable of adequately distinguishing between the innocent and the
guilty. In such a system, it is reprehensible and immoral to gamble with life and death.
I am not a “bleeding heart.” I have been a Republican for over 30 years. I started my
career as a supporter of removing violent people from society for as long as possible and
I still believe that action to be appropriate. I also believe that the government should be
held to the strictest burden before it deprives a citizen of their freedom. It is not too much
to ask that we not convict and execute innocent people in our quest to enforce the law.
Let’s get this system fixed.
James A. Fry served as Assistant District Attorney in Dallas County from 1980 to /982.
He currently practices Family Law in Sherman, TX
Prosecutor in one of Dallas County’s DNA exonerations no longer supports death penalty
6:02 AM Mon, Oct 13, 2008 | Permalink | Yahoo! Buzz
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James A. Fry, who prosecuted Dallas County exoneree Charles Chatman, said he is “shaken to the core” because of the number of exonerations throughout the country and problems with eye witness testimony.
Once a staunch supporter of capital punishment, Mr. Fry said no longer supports it because of the problems in the criminal justice system highlighted by the exonerations.
“I don’t think the system can prove who is guilty and who is innocent,” he said in an interview at his office in Sherman where he practices family law.
Mr. Fry prosecuted Mr. Chatman in 1981 for the rape of the exonerated man’s former neighbor. Mr. Fry said that at the time, he believed the victim had correctly picked out Mr. Chatman from a photo lineup.
This week, The Dallas Morning News is running stories from its 8-month examination of the county’s 19 DNA exonerations that show that eyewitness testimony can be flawed.
Dallas County has had more DNA exonerations than any other local jurisdiction since 2001 when the state began allowing post-conviction DNA testing. Unlike most other counties, Dallas County has preserved decades of evidence.
THIRD TIP ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR A TEXAS DIVORCE
I am not a marriage counselor but I do know that many people ought to see one. My staff and I are well aware that many of our clients do not have a chance to save their marriage. They were abandoned by their spouses and forced to seek help, or the other person filed for divorce against them.
However, if you see the situation coming, or if you are thinking about filing just because you are “unhappy” take some time to reflect. We really believe that marriage is an extremely important relationship and institution in our society.
If you have no choice then feel free to call us for help. Also seek out those people in your life that you can trust and who love you. Ask for their support because you are going to need it.