Executive Director's Perspective: Winter Tidings - By Joseph A. Martinez

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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Special thanks to Jaime Gandara, El Paso Public Defender (El Paso), our course director for the Michael Morton Act Public Defenders seminar held in El Paso in January. Thanks to Jaime’s efforts we had 43 attendees.

Special thanks to Bill Habern (Huntsville) and David O’Neil (Huntsville), our course directors for the Post-Conviction seminar held in Dallas in January. Thanks to their efforts we had 54 attendees.

Special thanks to Anthony Haughton (Houston) and Sarah Guidry (Houston), course directors for the 4th Annual Honorable Craig Washington and Senator Rodney Ellis Seminar held at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston in February. Thanks to their efforts and our speakers we had 153 attendees. TCDLA would like to give special recognition to Dean Dannye Holley of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law for allowing TCDLA/CDLP to co-sponsor this event.

Special thanks to course director Rick Wardroup (Lubbock) and staff members Melissa Schank and Cindy Escobar for the Capital Case Litigation Initiative (CCLI) program held in Houston in February. The training at this three-day bring-your-own capital case training focused on the investigation of the facts of the offense, mitigation investigation, the engaging of appropriate experts, and teamwork in the defense of persons charged with capital murder and facing the potential of a death sentence. Only complete teams that had an active death penalty case were allowed to come to the training. The program had plenary sessions where attendees were educated on specific issues in capital representation, followed by breakout sessions where the teams brainstormed the application of the teaching to their individual cases. The breakout sessions comprised two or three teams and two or three faculty members in each room, working collaboratively. Thanks to our 12 faculty, who came from across the country. Thanks to everyone’s help, we had 13 teams, which included investigators, mitigation specialists, and paralegals. We had a total of 70 participants. This is the fourth CCLI program TCDLA has done. The funds for the CCLI program come from the U.S. Department of Justice to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court has chosen to conduct the training of defense counsel each year. The Court has chosen the Center for American and International Law (CAILaw), in Plano, to handle the prosecutorial capital training.

TCDLA owes a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Barbara Hervey at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. She found the Department of Justice grant and initiated the discussion with TCDLA and CAILaw to make the initial grant submission with the Court in 2012. Thanks to the Judge’s leadership and foresight, Justice is being served in Texas.

Special thanks to course director Rick Wardroup (Lubbock) for the Mental Health/Capital Trial seminar held in San Antonio in February 2015. Thanks to his efforts we had 54 attendees.

The 28th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course is being held June 18-20, 2015, in San Antonio. The special pre-registration rate is available until May 20. Please start making plans to attend. There are scholarships available. The CCA has approved funds for judicial travel stipends for this one event. Please call our home office for more information. This year’s Rusty theme is “United We Stand.”

Join us for the annual Pachanga (Party) at the Goldstein’s (Kristi and Gerry). The Goldstein Pachanga is a cultural icon: 600+ people gather in the Goldstein’s backyard around their pool and feast on food, beverages, and great company.

The TCDLA Membership Party will be a Casino Night with a masquerade theme. It will be a fundraiser for TCDLEI, providing scholarships for lawyers. We will have prizes for the biggest winners at Casino Night. So you can enjoy the evening and know you are making a contribution to a worthy cause. We will have a bike ride with our guide Gerry Goldstein. We are also working on a morning fun run down the unique and picturesque San Antonio River. See you in San Antonio.

Don’t have a local criminal defense bar in your area? Would like to re-energize or jump-start your organization? Are you interested in forming a local criminal defense bar? Need help getting organized? Please contact Susan Anderson (Dallas), seapd@aol.com, Laurie Key (Lubbock), lauriekeylaw@gmail.com, or Carmen Roe (Houston), carmen@carmenroe.com, co-chairs of the TCDLA Affiliate Committee.

Good verdicts to all.