Kerri Anderson Donica

Kerri Anderson Donica is a solo attorney in Corsicana, where she has practiced for over 30 years in Navarro and the surrounding counties. She served as an Assistant District Attorney prior to seeing the light and entering private practice. Kerri received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and law degree from Baylor Law School. She has had the privilege of serving a number of years on TCDLA’s board and in a variety of other facets of TCDLA. Kerri is also a TCDLA Super Fellow. In addition, she is active in her community, having served as president of the Corsicana Independent School District Board of Trustees and is a trustee at Northside Baptist Church. She also serves as Corsicana’s city attorney. While Kerri has enjoyed practicing law for many years, her greatest accomplishment is being the mother of two sons—Hunter, 25, who works with his dad, and Heath, 23, who pitches for the Oakland Athletics organization.

President’s Message: A Change for the Better

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On March 27, 2020, my life was forever changed with the birth – in the midst of COVID-19 – of Brooks Alan Donica.  Of course, he is the most beautiful, perfect child God ever placed on the earth.  It was a dazzling spot during one of the most frightening, crazy periods in history.  I’ve included a FEW pictures because I want you to just see that I am not making this up – he is truly perfect!

Speaking of COVID-19 (must I????) – There are so many people who have stepped up for TCDLA to make a real difference for our members.  The foremost, of course, is our COVID-19 Task Force Chair Clay Steadman.  Clay is organized, smart, creative, tenacious, loyal and just quite simply amazing.  Our organizational approach to this virus has been brilliant because of Clay’s leadership.  We formed a task force with vice chairs Jeep Darnell, Nicole DeBorde Hochglaube, and John Hunter Smith, that had a team member in every TCDLA district ready to handle any issue that needed to be addressed.

And let’s talk about three individuals who stepped up under the leadership of the indomitable Betty Blackwell (GA-13 chair): Allison Clayton, Jeep Darnell, and Kyle Therrian.  They drafted responses regarding our GA-13 efforts that were simply intellectually over the head of almost anybody.  Truly three brilliant legal minds who have spent hundreds of hours making sure the rights of our neediest clients were being addressed. They continue to find ways to help our members meet the needs of our clients AND our members.

Take a look at the list of folks who stepped up to serve on our COVID-19 Task Force and ALL the resources available on the TCDLA website.  Each of these individuals is a HERO.  They have given when it was hard and they’ve cared about others when we were all really afraid for ourselves personally.  I’ve never been prouder of TCDLA.

I hope we are close to being set free to enjoy being back together at Rusty Duncan; I will REJOICE if that happens.  If it does not, we will have live streaming available (even if it does happen, that will be an option), so make sure you are signed up for Rusty Duncan.  I hope it will be our coming out party of the century!

I know it’s been a tough couple of months.  I pray it is almost a memory. I hope you never take one single breath for granted; and when life gives you the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you’ll dance! 

Finally, thank you for the privilege, the honor, the joy of being your President.  Tears run down my face as I write this.  I love TCDLA – which is all of you.  My life is richer, more fulfilled and forever changed because I received the gift of serving all of you. God IS good!  In the words of Dr. Seuss –  “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

President’s Message: Caring in Frightening Times

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Ah, COVID-19, how you’ve changed our lives. I had just opined that my presidency was on the downhill side and there had been smooth sailing throughout the year. And then God smiled. At TCDLA, our first concern was for the safety of our staff and our membership – our physical, mental, psychological, and financial safety. Just scary times. I pray that by the time you read this, we are on the downhill side of this terrible virus and life as we know it has resumed.

On a happy note: I have my first grandbaby due March 27, so I am hopeful that by the time this reaches our readership, I have had the opportunity to love on my precious Brooks Alan Donica and begin the process of making him the most spoiled boy in the entire universe.

Look, I wish we had a magic pill and could make this easy for everyone. I pray you’ve found some of the resources we have shared with our membership to be helpful. We have had incredible help from so many of our members – those who have reached out with resources and with plain old words of encouragement for each other. That is what TCDLA is all about – caring for others; whether it’s an inmate confined to a jail cell, or staff, or each other. We have a chance to learn just how incredible our “tribe” is when we are faced with such a potentially life-changing situation. Keep being there for each other and utilizing ALL our available resources. You matter. You ALL matter.

President’s Message: Great Times in the Caribbean

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“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.”

-Anonymous

This month I want to share a few photos to allow those of you who were not lucky enough to be with the 98 of us who traveled via Royal Caribbean to… well… to the Caribbean! An amazing time was had by all. From beautiful beaches to fine dining to a Hush Party, we didn’t miss a second of fun!  Two of our members even came in first and second in the ship’s sexiest man contest! I hope you enjoy the photos. TCDLA is truly my family and I can’t wait for our next adventure. Hope everyone plans to join President-Elect Grant Scheiner for his President’s Trip next February to D.C., where we will be sworn in before the U.S. Supreme Court. When we are together, great times follow!

President’s Message: On the Agenda

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As I put pen to paper, it is a cold January day. The saving grace is that I know in just a few days we will be sailing the ocean blue with so many of my favorite people in the universe on my TCDLA President’s Cruise! We will have great CLE, beautiful beaches, and incredible fun!

To make today even better, I attended a 7:00 a.m. Navarro College Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. The keynote speaker was none other than our former board member Audrey Moorehead! Audrey now serves as a Dallas County Criminal Court Judge, and she was as amazing as ever. She reminded everyone about the complete relevance of MLK even today and implored them to be a part of civic responsibility—vote, give back, be your best! An incredible (and of course hilarious) presentation from an even more incredible woman!

Speaking of Navarro College—everyone is already obsessed with our junior college of late, thanks to Netflix’s “Cheer” series about the Navarro College cheer program. If you have haven’t watched it—DO! You all know how much I love to share my hometown with everyone, and this is a great example of good things happening in smallish towns across our country!

TCDLA has some extremely good CLE in the near future! DON’T MISS IT! Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Project Chair Laurie Key has forced us to suffer through CLE at the Lajitas Golf Resort on February 28 so we can spend time with our incredible West Texas lawyers. Should be so much fun and educational as well. Then Anatomy of a Trial will be in Austin March 5th & 6th. This is going to be so very good: Our course directors are Betty Blackwell and Clay Steadman, and NOTHING they do is less than stellar! Check out the agenda on our website and make plans to be there.

I’m thankful for each of you, and I can promise I am ready for spring. Keep fighting the good fight! You are a blessing to me, to your clients, and to each other.

President’s Message: A Season for Sharing

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I admit it—I am a summer person. I LOVE the sunshine and the warm weather. Then it gets close to Christmas and I quit complaining about the cold! What a great time of year—spending time with family and friends and celebrating (for me) the birth of Christ!

 I LOVE trying to find the perfect gift for those I love! Don’t you love receiving Christmas cards from people far and near showing their precious families?

This year I hope you will find time to do something for someone who is less fortunate than you, or reach out to someone who might be especially lonely during the holiday season. Sometimes a person just needs to feel needed and valued, or even noticed. Be the outstretched hand to that person you know. Help your city’s social programs feed families who have to make hard choices this time of year.

I hope this Christmas ushers in an incredible 2020 for all of you! Please let me know of anything I or TCDLA can do for you to make the holiday season better for you or someone you know—or how we can help you in 2020.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

President’s Message: All You Can Be

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Listening to Larry Pozner speak about cross-examination is a rare, rare treat. TCDLA (through CDLP) and HCCLA brought him to Houston to share a day of incredible training regarding cross.

His book, Cross-Examination: Science and Techniques, written with Roger Dodd, has had an incredible impact on how I conduct cross. It will change how you try cases. The “chapter method” alone is worth the price of the book. The book is now in its third edition. I’m a lucky girl because I had the pleasure of having Larry sign my first edition. Carmen Roe referred to either me or my book as a “dinosaur.” I’m sure she meant the book, as it is a 1993 edition and even has a “pocket part” supplement (remember those in our Black’s Statutes?).

The bottom line is TCDLA provides us with so many opportunities to be better at what we do. It’s incredibly important to our clients that we ARE the best we can be. Lives of our clients and their families are forever changed by being thrust into the criminal justice system. We can be a part of making that a little less daunting, a little less painful, a little less flat out terrifying. And we do that by being the best prepared, most confidant attorney in the courtroom. A huge part of what we do in trial is cross-examination. I strongly recommend the above book to all of you—I even had and listened to CDs of Larry Pozner in my car (I’m not sure I have a CD player in my car anymore). Tip Hargrove lent me his Pozner CDs, so I know this method of cross is alive and well in West Texas!

Next month, I hope to share some info about the survey in which we asked you to participate regarding TCDLA. Some interesting info has been gleaned and will help us be all we can be for you, our membership.

This month, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Be sure you let people know you are thankful for them. Maybe a staff member, a court coordinator, a fair prosecutor (oxymoron?), a citizen accused who trusts you. I know I am thankful for ALL of you and hope to see you at the Sexual Assault seminar and board activities in Dallas the first weekend in December!