Getting as much insight as possible into your opponent’s case is the keystone to an effective defense. The more information you and your client have, the better informed you and your client are so that both of you can make an informed decision. An uninformed decision, based on inaccurate or no information, can harm your client.
In a statewide act of solidarity and reverence, we all read the Declaration of Independence this Independence Day. Indeed, it is the very words of the Declaration of Independence that tell us why the Fourth Amendment was so important to our founders and remains of utmost importance today:
Only one criminal defense lawyer in America has ever before seen the fact situation that was presented to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. United States v. Collins, ___F.3d___, 2016 WL 3583999 (6th Cir. 2016) [Panel: Circuit Judges Guy, Batchelder, and Cook. Opinion by Judge Guy.] That lawyer was the attorney of record for Mr. Collins.
How do your individual attributes and professional experiences create value in the lives of other people? What qualities do you project? For what are you known? In total, these things embody your personal brand. And like it or not, you already have one. Accordingly, consider your brand as a manageable asset. Your brand is something to continuously shape with the intention of helping others benefit from having a relationship with you. It should represent the value you are consistently able to deliver to those you serve.
School is back in session. College campuses are crawling again with students, fresh back from summer break. Dorm rooms are filled with first-year college students yearning for the ultimate college experience, complete with an appropriate balance of academic success and serious fun. The endless weekends of fraternity and sorority parties and tailgating events are well underway. The backdrop is thus perfectly set for the code of student conduct hearings that are regularly happening in universities around our state.
We thank outgoing TCDLA President Sam Basset (Austin) for his service to the TCDLA membership over the last year. We wish him well and good verdicts.
John Convery (San Antonio) took the helm of TCDLA as president in June at the 45th Annual TCDLA Annual Meeting. We look forward to a most productive year under John’s leadership.
I was thinking about what I wanted to convey to you in my president’s message as I watched the Olympics wrapping up in Rio. Like most of you, I was enthralled by the games. As the athletes’ nervous anticipation turned into joy or heartbreak, one thing stood out most vividly to me. It wasn’t just the recognition of the athletes’ skill, training, and commitment or the sheer wonderment of so many countries setting aside their differences and coming together. It wasn’t solely about who won the gold or who fell short. Instead, I was captivated by the patriotism.
“We came through the long Sanderson Canyon to the county seat of Terrell County.
Perhaps my earliest memory as a baby lawyer was watching worried law professors and bar leaders wringing their hands, wondering: “How can we improve our image as lawyers? Pro bono work? Public service? Legal ethics education?” Nothing seemed to work.
“A big thanks to all the hard-working people who made this historic event possible. Together, we made the profound words of the Declaration come alive in our hometowns. We reminded our fellow Texans that our devotion to the preservation of our liberty defines us as a people.
Some 40 years ago, fellow TCDLA member Pat Ireland and I were representing a constable from Lamar County who had been indicted for violating the civil rights of some devil worshippers by whipping up on them. [That wasn’t the language of the indictment, but it was the gist of the offense.] In spite of our best efforts, the jury had no difficulty in returning a verdict of guilty. When it came time for sentencing, though, we had a great day.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” An old saying we most all grew up with, and also one that many have discovered to be untrue. The phrase was originally presented as an “old adage” and was first cited in The Christian Recorder of March 1862, a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Notably, the reference to the phrase as an “old adage” suggests an even earlier coinage.