Shout Outs

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Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
Shout Outs

A big shout out to Reagan Wynn and Gary Medlin of Fort Worth and the entire team at the Innocence Project (and particularly Nina Morrison) for giving an innocent man back his life after 20 years of being labeled a murderer. In Reagan’s words:

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 “John Nolley served 19 years in Texas prisons for a murder he did not commit. Today, I watched Tarrant County DA Sharen Wilson stand up in open court and announce that after an exhaustive investigation headed by Dawn Boswell from the Conviction Integrity Unit, the Bedford Police Department, and the Innocence Project (in particular, Nina Morrison), she has concluded John is ACTUALLY INNOCENT. Then I got to watch state District Judge Louis Sturns, who is preparing to retire after a long distinguished career, sign an Order dismissing the murder case and exonerating John based on actual innocence.
 “John Nolley is the most gracious person I have ever encountered. Throughout this entire process, he has kept a positive attitude and he has no anger or resentment toward anyone involved in his wrongful conviction. John says this was just his path and he’s truly happy to be enjoying his life now. I am absolutely amazed by him and his compassion.
 “I basically got to ride shotgun while Nina Morrison, Barry Scheck, and the rest of the amazing staff at the Innocence Project did all the real work. I am awestruck by their commitment to the cause of innocence, and I heartily recommend that anyone who feels like ‘someone should do something about’ problems in the criminal justice system should donate their time and money to the Innocence Project—www.innocenceproject.org.
 “Finally, it is not very often that someone in my business gets to feel like something really truly good happens at the courthouse. Most of the time, if you and I are at the courthouse together, something has gone drastically awry and all we can hope for is to escape relatively unharmed. Today, I got to walk out of the courthouse to go eat lunch with John, several members of his family, Nina, and some of the dedicated staff from the Innocence Project. Today I got to feel like something truly good happened at the courthouse.
 "If you want to read more, here is a link to one of the news stories: http://goo.gl/ULNfdj ."
 Gary Medlin had fought tooth and nail in the original trial, faced with a prosecutor (no longer with the office) who withheld exculpatory evidence, used a professional snitch—who gave testimony that was bought and paid for without disclosing the deals. In addition, the fingerprint examiner changed his original opinion that excluded D to “could not exclude nor identify” client. Gary brought two detectives from Tennessee to prove the actual murderer was on death row there and presented other evidence to prove it was him. He went to Nashville and tried to interview him before a scheduled execution date but was not allowed to see him. (He has since died of natural causes on death row.) As Reagan said, “The scary thing is, despite Gary’s best efforts, the wrongful conviction happened anyway and John languished in prison for 19 years until Nina Morrison and the Innocence Project, Dawn Boswell, and our elected DA, Sharen Wilson, got involved to make sure the right thing happened.“
 Congratulations to everybody for never giving up and working to the end to see justice done. You’re a credit to us all.

A shout out to Phillip Hall and co-counsel (and, of this writing, wife) Veronica Veyhl of Fort Worth for gritting out a trial on a Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 14—7 counts. D was faced with 25 to life in this, the tough­est of trials short of murder. The jury couldn’t come up with a verdict and hung, with a 7–5 split. Phillip also credits his Trial Lawyer College family, who pitched in at the last minute to help them work the case. Congratulations, Phillip and Veronica, and enjoy a bit of the wedded bliss before returning to the fray.

Another shout out to Richard Gladden of Denton, honored in 2016 as a TCDLA Percy Foreman Lawyer of the Year. Richard received a standing ovation (as well as a cool belt buckle and plaque) from the 200 attending the statewide convention of Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, a nonprofit, volunteer organization striving to “educate and raise awareness about the ineffectiveness of the public sex offender registry and the negative impact it has on community safety.” TVRJ Executive Director Mary Molnar says: “Our Texas Voices organization has been blessed with the support of an attorney who continues to challenge laws and policies that were created by myth and fear mongering and that cause more harm than good. Richard Gladden has a passion for challenging misguided laws and policies simply because, as Richard says, ‘it is the right thing to do.’ His support, dedication, and efforts have afforded our members and supporters with a sense of hope. We love Richard and we are deeply grateful for his hard work, his passion, and his commitment.“ Pretty heady stuff, Richard. Way to go.

Kudos to Justin Kiechler of Lubbock, honored at the Lubbock Area Bar Association’s monthly meeting as the John Crews Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year for 2018. He was selected for the award for his volunteering at the pro bono clinics hosted by Legal Aid of Northwest Texas (LANWT) and by accepting case referrals from LANWT. The award is given in recognition of exemplary pro bono service. It was presented to him by Christina Richey, Equal Justice Volunteer Program Coordinator with LANWT. Justin served as president of both the Lubbock Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Lubbock County Young Lawyers Association for 2017–2018. Thanks for your service to the cause, Justin.

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