John A. Convery
Stories from John A. Convery
You all might remember my President’s Message from last November, in which I shared information with you about our legislative efforts related to pretrial release. Since then, both Senator John Whitmire and Representative Andrew Murr filed identical bills, and it is expected that they will be heard very soon in both chambers. In the past four months, as negotiations have taken place, the bill has morphed, sometimes favorably and sometimes not.
Ahoy, friends! We just returned from the TCDLA President’s Retreat and had a great time. The 7-day cruise took us to Mexico, the Grand Caymans, and Jamaica. It was a good opportunity for rest and relaxation, combined with high-quality CLE presentations, fellowship, and friendship. And we had a nice turnout—more than 60 TCDLA members and their families joined us on the Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston. Members spent time together on a beautiful beach in Jamaica and at a delicious steak dinner aboard ship.
Well, it is official! The legislative session began on January 10, and there is already a flurry of activity in the Capitol as hundreds of bills have already been filed. As you know, TCDLA invests significant time, energy, and staff in legislative efforts. TCDLA pursues reform to criminal justice issues to ensure that our clients are protected from efforts to diminish their constitutional and statutory rights.
While writing this, it struck me that the holidays are upon us. Neighborhoods are starting to sparkle with green and red lights. Christmas music is playing everywhere. I always find that the end of a year is a good time to reflect on the past year, both personally and professionally, the good and the bad, the joyous and the heartbreaking. I recognize the things that I am grateful for, and know that I am blessed with much more than anyone deserves.
Although the temperatures belie it now, fall is upon us. With it, we will see the end of an intense and unpredictable summer of politics and the start of the holiday season. A holiday season in an even-numbered year, means that a legislative session is right around the corner!
DNA mixture issues have been at the forefront during the first half of 2016. An update is in order, but first some background. While some in the forensic community have raised this issue for years, it got widespread attention in May 2015, when the FBI notified labs across the country of discrepancies discovered in the interpretation of DNA mixture cases—those in which multiple contributors may be present.
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.
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.
I am excited and humbled to take the reins of leadership as President of TCDLA—thanks to Sam Bassett for a great year! We are the statewide criminal defense lawyers’ professional association in the State of Texas. We are 3,100 members strong. We are the voice for the defense in both word and deed. I thank each and every one of you for your membership, and for your support for our TCDLA.