Sam Bassett

Sam Bassett is a partner at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey in Austin. He received his law and business degrees from the University of Texas. Sam has been board certified in criminal law since 1994.
Sam is listed in Best Lawyers in America, is AV Rated by Martindale Hubbel and is a Texas Monthly Super Lawyer. In 2014, 2016, 2018 and again in 2020, Best Lawyers in America named him Lawyer of the Year for criminal defense in Austin.

Sam served as chair of the District 9A Grievance Committee and the Texas Forensic Science Commission. He is a Past President of TCDLA. He is a frequent speaker on criminal law, family law and ethics.

Sam is the proud father of Kathleen and Daniel Bassett. He spends his spare time playing golf, boxing and working at his ranch near Floresville.

A Memorial: Roy Minton, 1931-2021

I was an outsider to the Red Brick House when I was asked to join in late 2000. Randy Leavitt and Martha Dickie had inquired and I jumped at the opportunity. Soon thereafter, I was trying a murder case in Georgetown with Roy and realized I had been invited to work with one of the very best to advocate in a courtroom. We succeeded in getting a lesser manslaughter verdict much to the chagrin of John Bradley who took a little steam out of us with a 20 year sentence from the jury. That is one of many predictable stories you might hear from many lawyers who worked with him over the years. He was awesome to watch preparing for trial as much as performing at trial.

Some of the less publicized qualities of Roy Q. Minton: He detested profanity (though he threw in an occasional “god dammit”); He was very liberal politically and he didn’t hesitate to tell the Republicans he represented (often saying, “You need to know, I’m a Democrat – A LIBERAL Democrat!); He adored Barbara – always stopping whatever meeting or phone call to walk her to the car when she came by the office; He doted over his 5 children and loved working with sons in the practice; He was not a fan of organized religion but was a “spiritualist” – often talking to me about those moments where “the invisibles” gave him a helping hand – in and out of the courtroom; He set fees too low – especially in his latter years (Often joking – “There is a point in your career where your rate should go DOWN!”); He and Charlie Burton would sleep on courthouse benches to hustle court appointments in the 60s, when a fee was difficult to get in Austin; He adored his pets – one time stopping a meeting with a high profile client because Barbara was out of town and he had to go feed the dog;  He loved to fly – a former military pilot, he truly enjoyed flying his twin engine Baron;  He had an awesome sense of humor (sometimes, in the middle of trial – he’d look at my worried face and say “You just want to try the easy ones?”); and – despite his reputation as a ruthless litigator/defender – I observed him to be kind and warm hearted, very accepting of people from all walks of life.

For me, this is a moment to pause and be grateful to have worked with him. More importantly, it is a moment to be remember that he taught me more about life than about law.

EVEN FOR THE DESPICABLE AMONG US: Rights and Due Process for Klansmen

The new novel, No Truth Left To Tell (Greenleaf Press 2020), by former federal prosecutor Michael McAuliffe poses important moral and ethical questions for lawyers and lay readers alike. The story, about the feds chasing the Klan in the Deep South, portrays a southern town still grappling with its history of racial violence. The Klan wants to re-ignite a race war, and it targets the town’s minority communities with burning crosses as their first attack. The town of Lynwood, Louisiana, is on edge, with more violence sure to come. Adrien Rush––a young federal civil rights prosecutor from D.C.––is sent to investigate. He teams up with Lee Mercer, a black FBI agent from the local office, who is older and wiser.

Their investigation of the violent racists and how they work with each other despite their differences form the spine of the book. Their journey together is filled with drama, including a difficult, but real friendship that develops between them, and ultimately a great sacrifice for one. The tension between Rush and Mercer mirrors the real-world relationship between prosecutors and investigators. It makes for compelling reading.

The novel is full of other interesting, memorable characters. For example, the book opens with a prologue set in 1920 in which Nettie Wynn, a young black girl, witnesses a lynching of a black man in the town’s central square. The horror of the murderous scene creates the emotional foundation for the novel’s narrative. Readers come to know–and admire–Nettie Wynn as she is reintroduced as an elderly woman of modesty and grace.

The novel’s story is about how America deals with homegrown violent extremism, both in and out of the courtroom. Are the Klan’s actions domestic terrorism? Should the same rules apply to violent extremists as other criminal defendants? These are challenging,  meaningful questions, and the author wraps them inside a story that entertains and challenges at the same time. 

No Truth Left To Tell is a non-political book that forces us to reflect on the choices we’ve made about constitutional rights and due process, especially when those rights are for the despicable among us––that is, the Klansmen. There are chapters about the feds trying to get the Klan’s membership lists with a grand jury subpoena and, more dramatically, how a local detective obtains a confession from the Klan leader. Lawyers (and those trained or working in the law) would no doubt see the constitutional issues that arise from these events.

I could easily see No Truth Left To Tell as a law school “read” because the book is set in the legal world as much as it is in a southern town. The book is a hybrid. It’s a crime thriller carried in bookstores and online, but it’s also a worthy teaching tool for lawyers and students of the law. 

The novel’s author, Michael McAuliffe, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and grew up in Spring, Texas. His connection to Texas is strong as he has immediate family members living in both Byrne and New Braunfels. For more information about the book or the author, you can go to book’s website at https://notruthlefttotell.com.