In October 1986 the U.S. president was Reagan, Thatcher was UK Prime Minister, and Gorbachev was in power in Russia. The Berlin Wall yet divided East and West Germany. “Magnum PI” was the most popular TV show, the Mets won the 1986 World Series. In 1986 gas was 89 cents a gallon, a personal computer was $2,000, cell phones were just novelties, email had yet to take over the way Americans communicated, and, mercifully, disco had died. In October 1986 Buck Files wrote his first article for the Federal Corner of the Voice for the Defense.
This issue of the Voice for the Defense contains the 200th article that Buck Files has written. Buck Files’ articles have been written and published for 30 years. Every issue since the October 1986 issue has contained at least one article written by Buck. During this period there have been dynamic changes in criminal justice. Since October 1986, in the Federal system, lawyers have witnessed the implementation of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, several significant landmark Supreme Court decisions, and the very important Batson decision affecting the way that juries are seated. The start of the War on Drugs, several decisions limiting rights under the 4th Amendment, mass incarceration, and a general belief that the 5th Amendment was just for the protection of the guilty were issues that left much to be concerned about for criminal defense attorneys in 1986.
This month TCDLA and, with its cover, the Voice for the Defense honor Buck Files. No one has provided more material to the Voice and CDLP than Buck during the last 40 years. Buck has written a staggering 200 articles. Most members have never written one. Each has been submitted before the deadline, properly cited and ready for publication. Not once has he missed a deadline. Twice he researched, wrote, and delivered his article from a hospital bed. He has been to the editors of the Voice as Cal Ripken Jr. has been to baseball.
If you have known Buck for the last 40 years, you will notice one thing has never changed. He has always worn a blue three-piece vested suit, a white shirt, a burgundy tie, with his glasses perched on the top of his head. So far as anyone knows he has worn this signature ensemble since the ‘70s—until it became fashionable again in 2016. This speaks to Buck’s consistency and sense of tradition in both his personal and professional life. One of the most interesting characters that seem to always be in trouble with the Feds and who catches Buck’s attention is the venerable “Waldo Snerd.” Mr. Snerd has been indicted, convicted in multiple Federal cases, and frequently is the unfortunate fellow that has his name printed in the Voice. Buck has followed Snerd for years. Anytime Waldo Snerd gets into trouble there is Buck following his case. We are fortunate for Snerd and for Buck’s Voice articles about Snerd’s legal problems, as we always are given a new arrow to put in our legal quiver.
Buck is a legend in the courts of East Texas and has tried some of the most important cases in Texas during his 53 years of practice. In the high-profile State of Texas vs. Deana Laney case he became one of the few criminal defense lawyers who successfully obtained a verdict of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. Recently Buck, Stan Schneider, and Casie Gotro in Paroline v. United States, No. 12-8561, won a decision in the U.S. Supreme Court that limited damage claims in child pornography cases. Presently, he is working on a research project on Federal Forfeiture which portends to be a tour de force on the subject.
The credentials and accomplishments of Buck Files in the law are almost unprecedented. Buck is a Past President of the State Bar of Texas, a Charter Member of TCDLA, a member of the TCDLA Hall of Fame, and a former director of TCDLA. In June he becomes the first criminal defense attorney and TCDLA member to be Chair of the Texas Bar Foundation. Buck is Board Certified in Criminal Law and was in the charter class in 1975. He was a Marine Corps officer during the Vietnam War. He graduated from Austin College with a BA. He holds an MLA and a JD from SMU Law School. Buck is most proud of his wife of 54 years, Robyn, his two children, and three grandchildren. Buck is a founding partner in the excellent law firm of Bain, Files, Jarrett, Bain and Harrison, P.C., in Tyler.
The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and its 3,200 members this month honor Buck Files for the publication of his 200th article for the Voice for the Defense and look forward to another 200.