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.
Whether you believe it’s a matter of choice or genetics or a combination of both, addiction affects us all. It is a disease, and it doesn’t discriminate among us. Addiction has touched each of our lives in one way or another. Some of us have deeply personal experiences, but all of us come face to face with addiction and the havoc it brings on a regular basis by nature of what we have chosen to do.
As I write this I’m still in the honeymoon phase of my TCDLA presidency. I’m on the beach at The Pearl resort on South Padre Island, with friends and family, attending our TCDLA Members Trip. This even includes our CDLP seminar—Upholding Justice One Client at a Time—the Board of Directors orientation for TCDLA, the Criminal Defense Lawyers Project (CDLP), and our foundation, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Education Institute (TCDLEI). It’s a reunion with TCDLA family and friends I have known for years, and an opportunity to meet newer members of TCDLA and their families.
What Apache Medellin originally wanted was Necho Solis’ left eye. He wanted to make a ring out of it. It took some time to for his fellow gang members to convince him that it was going to be very hard to sell Necho’s death as a suicide if his left eye was missing.
TCDLA Associate Director Courtney Stamper passed along some information that, he says, “may sound a little simple but it created some issues for the State in a trial I was in last week.” He said to make sure prosecution has a proper chain of custody for a gun, and that the document trail is in good shape.
On May 10, 2016, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that a defendant faced some danger of self-incrimination if he was required to answer mandatory questions during a sex offender history polygraph; and, the government’s threat to seek revocation of the defendant’s supervised release constituted an unconstitutional compulsion to submit to such a polygraph under the Fifth Amendment. [The panel: Circuit Judges Briscoe, Seymour, and Lucero (opinion by Seymour)] United States v.
You reviewed the probable cause and interviewed your new client after receiving the court-appointment order. Prior to meeting the client, perhaps, you received a call from his mother, who shared some facts and issues related to her son’s case. As you return from the county jail, your head is now muddled with facts, arguments, theories, and things to do. The client’s case is your responsibility now. From the jumble of information collected during intake, how do you set about finding the most powerful case for your new client?