Editor's Comment: Individual Parts Make the Whole - By Sarah Roland

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Thursday, November 7th, 2019

We are a working organization. That’s what makes this organization so great. We all contribute our time and talents in some way for the betterment of TCDLA. Contributions from individuals meld together to make a cohesive, functional, educational, inspiring whole. That’s how this organization started nearly 50 years ago, and that’s what has kept it going all these years. We are all dedicated to the cause. As past president #43, Bobby Mims wrote in 2014:

More than 43 years ago a group of lawyers decided that a separate organization devoted to the training, education, and support of criminal defense attorneys was needed. These lawyers literally drove all over Texas collecting money to start the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. For years this small band of brothers and sisters worked and fought to prevent the erosion of the rule of law. From that small group the TCDLA has emerged as the largest and most effective state association of criminal defense lawyers in the United States.

        Among the members of this association are some of the finest lawyers in the nation. Some are nationally known superstars, but all are courageous fighters for justice. Every day in every court in Texas TCDLA lawyers confront power and advocate for the defendant. Every TCDLA member stands shoulder to shoulder with criminal defense lawyers as they walk into the courtrooms of Texas. There are few more cohesive groups than the members of this association.”

43 Voice for the Defense 4 (May 2014).

Let’s all continue to engage and be active in TCDLA. Part of being active is knowing your board members, knowing what they do for this organization, and actively communicating with them. In addition to attending quarterly board meetings, one major commitment that all board members have made to this organization is to contribute to the Voice. To become a board member, we all agree to submit two articles to the Voice each year OR if writing is just not feasible for whatever reason, substantially help with strike force OR substantially help with legislative work. And now there’s even an option to buy your way out of writing an article by contributing $750 to the Lawyers Educational Institute (LEI) each year (note: there is no grandfather clause on this monetary exception). LEI is that part of TCDLA that helps provide monies to educate criminal defense lawyers who may otherwise be unable to attend seminars. All board members make this commitment because ours is a working organization and a working board.

We are all busy and there is always a reason to put off that which can be done today; that’s why there are so many options for board members. The requirement to contribute in one of the above ways applies to everyone on the board. But, being involved in strike force, legislative efforts, and LEI is not just limited to board members. Anyone and everyone can be involved, and many of you already are. Thank you.

The points of contact for strike force are Nicole Hochglaube and Reagan Wynn.
The point of contact for legislative efforts is Bobby Mims.
To donate to LEI, contact the home office or Clay Steadman.

If you want to write an article, please do! Any criminal law topic, no matter how basic or complex, is fair game. If you’ve written a paper for a talk, feel free to turn that into an article. If you’ve successfully litigated a motion to suppress, feel free to turn that into an article. A couple of years ago I gave a presentation on writing the perfect paper (there is no such thing, by the way), and the biggest hurdle I’ve found for myself and others is getting started. So, get started!

Since last September Tyler Flood, Michael Gross (first vice president), David Guinn (secretary), Phil Baker, Kyle Therrian, Jeremy Rosenthal, Frank Sellers, and Mark Thiessen are our board/executive members who have contributed articles to the Voice. Every other fantastic article that has been written has come from our membership at large. THANK YOU. You are the ones who have done the yeomen’s work to make the Voice great.

Your board of directors and officers are always listed in the front of this publication and are easily found online. Reach out to us anytime so we can continue to make TCDLA better for all of us. Let’s all continue to contribute our time and talents to keep TCDLA great!