Samuel E. Bassett

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Sam Bassett, the 2015–16 TCDLA president, is a partner at Minton, Burton, Bassett & Collins in Austin, Texas. He received his law and undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas. Sam has been board certified in criminal law since 1994. He practices criminal defense and family law. Sam is listed in Best Lawyers in America, is AV Rated by Martindale Hubbel, and is a Texas Monthly Super Lawyer. In 2014, Best Lawyers in America named him Lawyer of the Year for criminal defense in Austin, Texas. Sam served as panel chair on the District 9A Grievance Committee for the State Bar. He is a frequent speaker on criminal law, family law, and ethics. Sam served as the Presiding Officer of the Texas Forensic Science Commission from 2007 to October of 2009, appointed by Governor Perry in 2005. The Dallas Morning News named Sam as a finalist for Texan of the Year for his work on the Commission. Sam is the proud father of Kathleen and Daniel Bassett. He is a sports fan of U.T., the San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Cowboys. He spends his spare time responding to his teenagers’ requests for money, playing golf, boxing, and working at his ranch near Floresville, Texas.

Stories from Samuel E. Bassett

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

The world of defending a criminal case used to be simpler. As I look around my office at lawyers who have practiced in excess of 50 years, I realize how much the landscape has changed in just a generation or two. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the increasing number of civil proceedings that accompany even a misdemeanor criminal case today. What is relatively new as well is the new landscape on college campuses of Title IX requirements in cases where sexual misconduct is alleged.

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

 I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book—David and Goliath. Most of us are familiar with the Old Testament story of the shepherd who slays the Philistine giant who was physically imposing, coated with armor and equipped with the best weapons of the time. How did David win? Simple—David was prepared for a different fight than Goliath. Goliath expected hand-to-hand combat while David came with a stone and a sling.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

As a law student, I had a front row seat at the Michael Morton trial. I watched as two of my mentors and then employers—Bill Allison and Bill White—fought during the Morton murder trial in the late 1980s. I was a green law clerk, watching with my eyes wide open. A constant frustration throughout the case was the deep suspicion that evidence was being withheld, but there was no way to know for sure. Never was this more apparent than when the state declined to call the chief investigative deputy (Don Woods) and instead called legendary Williamson County Sheriff Jim Boutwell.

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

One challenge of life is to grapple with the reality that your time on Earth will pass, sooner or later. As the saying goes, “None of us are getting out of here alive!” In the context of our professional lives, this is also true even if we go on to other things after we leave the practice of law.

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

As criminal defense lawyers, we find ourselves in the midst of tragedies of life that redefine families, futures, and perspectives. How we learn to handle the emotions and practical effects of this aspect of our work can make all the difference in our effectiveness, our happiness, and our contribution to those we represent.

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

The tragic death of Deputy Goforth in Houston has again brought to the forefront the issue of law enforcement’s changing relationship with segments of our society. It is on my mind as I write this column in the days following his funeral, attended and watched by thousands in our state and in our country. It was shocking to learn that this father and husband senselessly lost his life simply for wearing the uniform.

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Waco—home of the Baylor Bears, the Texas Ranger Museum, the Dr. Pepper Museum, and venue to one of the most controversial events in the criminal justice history of Texas. Is another case unfolding that will rival the Branch Davidian debacle?

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

As I write this, we are bumping up against July 4, 2015, Independence Day. The Rusty Duncan Seminar is one week past and I’m settling into a new routine of my temporary role as President of this fine organization. This past week has been an historic one for our country as well—the Supreme Court has issued rulings on landmark issues including fair housing discrimination, same sex marriage, and the Affordable Care Act.

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

As I write this, my first column as President of TCDLA, it is Memorial Day in a rainy Austin, Texas. It is on these occasions that I am reminded of how fortunate I am to live in a country where we are, for the most part, a free people. I am also reminded of the importance of continued vigilance against the erosion of our individual liberties. Each of you plays a role in that vigilance on a daily basis. Thank you.