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Executive Director’s Perspective: Thankfulness

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Here’s to those who inspire you and don’t even know it.

—unknown

November is the month of thanks. This month I would like to dedicate my article and give thanks to Craig Hattersley, TCDLA’s Communication Director. He has been with TCDLA for 12 years and has been a valuable and intricate part of TCDLA. He has supported me and made us all look good—and helped us on our quest for success!

Selfishly, I knew this day was coming, but as the executive director, I wanted him to remain in his position until I retired. Craig has always been a rock in the organization, making sure everyone remembers deadlines and assisting with tasks. Tiffany speaks for all of us when she says: “I wish I had more time with Craig to get to know him better because the few times I have gotten to have a ‘sit down’ with him were always enlightening and meaningful. I will definitely miss when his time comes to speak in the staff meetings, knowing I’m going to get a good laugh. I too selfishly wish he would be here longer for me to learn as much as possible and pick his brain for all the insight and wisdom that he possesses.”

In the past 12 years, TCDLA has relocated our office twice. Cris remembers: “We always laugh about how we say we are old cellmates because in the old Nueces house we used to share that little office area, which we considered a cell. He will be missed.”

Some of my fondest memories with Craig are sitting in my office or his and just brainstorming ideas, him giving me advice. I look back and laugh at the staff meetings where he was eagerly waiting for his turn to give his update—and make comments that would have the staff laughing. Many of the board members probably looked forward as I did to reading his detailed weekly humorous loop reports.

How we will long for meals from scratch Craig would bring, his wife Jan’s desserts, and food for our potlucks. He was appreciated by all staff who shared meals prepared by Jan.

Then there were those endearing terms he had for staff at the office. How many times everyone has mentioned they will miss him dearly, the lone male leaving us.

For Rusty Duncan, our signature event, when Craig creates all the marketing and artwork, I feel like he truly understands everyone’s vision (and especially my own concepts he turned into reality). Rusty is the one event all staff work ten-plus hours a day, and his efforts will be sorely missed. Miriam says: “I will miss him always taking care of us at Rusty every year and making sure we had our vitamin C. He would pass out vitamin C drops to make sure we stayed on our A game! He always joked with me about being a wimp for always being cold and didn’t mind when I would steal his heater from his office to use—which I’ve now had for years. But most of all I will miss the long talks about life and road trips to seminars. Working with Craig 12 years, I definitely will miss him.”

Susan remembers that “since I started, I could always ask Craig to take a caller who had interesting topics or too much info to share but I knew the person needed to be handled ‘delicately.’ He always had funny sayings to ‘thank me’ for sharing those calls with him. He will be missed.”

Rick remembers: “When I got to TCDLA, Craig was the only one who understood my taste in music. Heck, he was the only one who had ever heard of the artists I loved. I have treasured his friendship and his being the ‘Old Guy’ around the office. We have always been the ones who went to bed early at Rusty. Many don’t know how much responsibility Craig takes with the publications, but I can tell you that he compares the editions and has saved me many, many errors that a less dedicated man would have missed because he wouldn’t have been looking as diligently. I will miss him even more than I worry about assuming the mantle of Old Guy!”

And then were the little things. Oh, how we love coffee in this office! The afternoon is always a treat when Craig makes his handmade pour-over coffee. I will miss this dearly—and don’t know how I will function without it!

Chelsea remembers: “When the coffee grinder broke and he couldn’t have his coffee, he grumbled about it and bought coffee at Whataburger for a quick fix. He solved this immediately by replacing the grinder with a personal one from home. I will miss him.”

Nymph says she “will miss her early-morning chats with Craig about coffee, school, and life”—and her daily challenge of trying to be taller than Craig with her heels.

I will even miss having him text me with the day’s problems in the wee hours—starting as early as 4:30 am. How sad I will be to arrive at the office with no one to greet me.

Or having someone to help make welcome our incoming part-time staff, who are mentored by Craig and his words of wisdom—and teased unmercifully as well. As a new staff member, Avea remembers all the car advice he gave on her BMW (which had over 200k miles on it), his emails on our staff listserve.

Elisa remembers him one Halloween giving a real “boo”: candy dumped unceremoniously on the victim! What fun times we have had at our office, memories with Craig that will forever be retold.

Craig is our early bird, usually getting to the office before 5:30 am. Driving in from Pflugerville is quite the commute, and over the years traffic has only gotten worse, along with an increase in the time required. Fellow commuter Mari had this to say: “Craig has a sense of humor I have always found entertaining. I will definitely miss him making me laugh with his sarcastic remarks and our almost daily exchange of traffic stories between the office and our homes in Pflugerville.”

Keri says: “The thing I am going to miss the most about Craig not being in the office is going to be Jan’s cooking. He was always giving me a taste of whatever creation she cooked that night before, and it usually reminded me of home cooking I grew up with in Wisconsin. On a serious note, I will miss the early-morning conversations and all the other tasks I am always coming into his office for help with. I will miss him greatly, and his shoes are going to be hard to fill.”

TCDLA is indeed losing a part of the family, the key person with institutional knowledge, and my friend. Craig, you will be missed!

I hope everyone enjoys this fall and shares their thanks with friends and family!

Executive Director’s Perspective: Spring Roundup – By Joseph A. Martinez

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Special thanks to our course directors, John Donahue, David Moore, and Stanley Schwieger, who had 148 attendees in Waco on April 8, and course directors David Moore and Kelly Pace, who had 52 attendees in Tyler on April 15 for our CDLP seminar “Trial Tactics: The Art of War.”

Special thanks also to George Bianchi, President of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), and the NCDD Board of Regents for allowing TCDLA to co-sponsor the Mastering Scientific Evidence seminar held in New Orleans April 14–16. Thanks to Troy McKinney, J. Gary Trichter, and Mimi Coffey, our course directors, we had 289 attendees.

Thanks go out as well to course directors Lynn Richardson and Jeanette Kinard, who had 92 attendees in Dallas on May 2 for our CDLP Indigent Defense seminar.

Special thanks to course directors Lawrence Boyd and David Burrows, who presided over our DWI Defense Project seminar on May 6, attracting some 230 attendees to Arlington.

Special thanks to senior lobbyist Allen Place, who conducted a Legislative Update conference call on April 20. We plan on having another conference call in mid-summer to update criminal defense lawyers on changes to Texas laws.

We invite all of our TCDLA members to attend the 40th annual membership meeting on Saturday, June 11, at approximately 11:00 am—immediately following the 24th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course.

President-elect Gary Trichter invites all of our members to join him for the TCDLA Members Retreat, July 27–30, 2011, at the unique T-Cross Ranch in Shoshone National Forrest outside of Dubois, Wyoming. The ranch lies at an elevation of 7,800 feet in an untouched country of pine forrest and open meadows, trout-rich streams, and small lakes, with endless vistas rising well over 11,000 feet—scenically magnificent. Space is limited. Please go to our website for more information.

Please make plans for the summer to join us for fun and CLE. The following CLE will be held in cities across Texas:

July 14–15 South Padre Island, “Trial Tactics: The Art of War”

August 3–4 Austin, “Innocence Work in the Real World for Real Lawyers: A Practical Seminar on Representing the Innocent After Conviction”

August 10 Houston, NHTSA SFST Update

August 11–12 Houston, 9th Annual Top Gun, co-sponsored with Harris County Criminal Law Association

August 19 Richmond, “Trial Tactics: The Art of War”

August 25 Austin, “Innocence Lost: How & Why Investigations Go Wrong”

Good verdicts to all.

Executive Director’s Perspective: Spring Cleaning – By Joseph A. Martinez

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Special thanks to the San Antonio Bar—Justice Phylis Speedlin, president, and Jimmy Ellison, executive director—for allowing TCDLA/CDLP to co-sponsor the 48th Annual Criminal Law Institute held in San Antonio March 25–26. They had 293 attendees. This is the oldest CLE event in Texas.

Please start making plans to join us in beautiful San Antonio June 9–11, 2011, for the 24th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course. Breakout sessions include Appellate, Computer/Technology, and Boot Camp.This year’s event will also celebrate TCDLA’s 40th anniversary. The Hyatt Regency on the Riverwalk will be the host hotel. Please note that the TCDLA golf tournament has been moved to back to Thursday, June 9.

We invite all of our TCDLA members to attend the Annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, June 11, immediately following the adjournment of the 24th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course—which should be approximately 11:00 am—at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio.

TCDLA’s legislative effort is being coordinated by the TCDLA Legislative Committee, chaired by Mark Daniel and Rick Hagen. Allen Place is our senior lobbyist, and Kristin Etter and David Gonzalez also serve as our lobbyists. They will keep membership up to date on bills during the session. Please go to our website and get on the TCDLA Legislative listserve.

We have a Legislative Update phone conference call scheduled for Thursday, April 20, at 4:00 pm (CT). Please go to our website for more information.

President-Elect Gary Trichter invites all our members to join him for the Members Retreat July 27–30, 2011, at the unique T-Cross Ranch in the Shoshone National Forrest outside of Dubois, Wyoming. The ranch lies at an elevation of 7,800 feet in an untouched country of pine forests and open meadows, trout-rich streams, and small lakes, with endless vistas rising well over 11,000 feet—scenically magnificent. Space is limited. Please go to our website for more information.

Please join us for the following fun summer CLE events:

July 14–15South Padre Island, Trial Tactics: The Art of War

August 3–4Austin, Innocence Training for Lawyers

August 5Austin, topic TBA

August 10Houston, Field Sobriety Training

August 11–12Houston, 9th Annual Top Gun DWI

August 19Richmond, Trial Tactics: The Art of War

August 19San Antonio, topic TBA

Good verdicts to all.

Executive Director’s Perspective: Board in Motion – By Joseph A. Martinez

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Special thanks to Doug Murphy, Randy Wilson, and Teana Watson, course directors for the Cross-Examination seminar held in Houston. Thanks to their efforts and the efforts of our speakers, we had 184 attendees. Terry MacCarthy was one of the speakers.

Very special thanks to Lydia Clay-Jackson and Tim Evans, deans of the 35th Annual Texas Criminal Trial College in Huntsville. Very special thanks to our 40 faculty members who helped make this year’s college a big success, hosting 80 students. Thanks to all our members who recommended students to the college. Thanks also to the TCDLEI board for hosting the Hostility Room for the week. Thanks to John Yarabeck, Dean of Sam Houston College, and to Ms. Ann Broussard for their support. Also Mr. A. K. Khan, General Manager of the University Hotel, for his support. We could not put on the college without their help.

Special thanks to course directors Philip Wischkaemper, John Niland, and Brad Levinson for the Capital/Habeas seminar held in Houston February 3–4. A total of 79 attendees endured the chilling weather.

Special thanks to course directors David O’Neil and Bill Habern for the Post-Conviction seminar also held in Houston February 3–4. Thanks to their efforts and the speakers, we had 73 attendees.

Thanks to course director Jimmy Gonzalez, we had a very successful seminar in Edinburg, with 106 attendees—the largest number of lawyers we have ever had in Edinburg.

Special thanks to NACDL for asking TCDLA to co-sponsor a reception in San Antonio on February 18. Bill Harris presented NACDL President and TCDLA member Jim Lavine a Texas gift of appreciation at the NACDL Board meeting also held in San Antonio.

The TCDLA board of directors met in Houston on March 5, 2011. The following were informational items:

  • Grant Scheiner reported the Droid phone application would be ready by this year’s Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course.
  • Greg Westfall reported the Voice Online had over 22,000 hits this month. Please visit the site. More information about both items are on the TCDLA home page and in Greg’s column this month.

The following motions were passed by the board:

Approval of Minutes of December 4, 2010, Board Meeting

  • Motion by Michael Gross to approve the December 2010 board meeting minutes.
  • Motion seconded by Gary Trichter. Motion carries.

Approved motion to include in minutes electronic motions passed

Hall of Fame Inductees

  • Email votes on February 15, 2011, approved to select Mr. Charles D. Butts (San Antonio) and Mr. F. R. “Buck” Files (Tyler) to be this year’s inductees into the Hall of Fame.

NACDL Reception

  • Vote on February 1, 2011. Motion by Craig Jett and seconded by Gary Trichter to make a contribution to NACDL for $8,000 for the NACDL reception in San Antonio on Friday, February 18, 2011. The final contribution given was a little over $4,000.

CCA mileage reduced to 45 cents

  • Motion by Gary Trichter to approve mileage rate of 45 cents
  • Motion seconded by Jim Darnell. Motion carries.

Federal Grant for Training Capital Lawyers

  • TCDLA received an email from Monique Gonzales with the Court, asking if TCDLA would consider submitting for a federal grant for training capital attorneys in Texas. The grant would be for a total of $250,000 for two years—$50,000 in administration fees will go to the Court and the remaining $200,000 will be split evenly between training criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors. TCDLA’s grant submission needs to be submitted by March 9, 2011.
  • Motion by Keith Hampton to apply for the grant.
  • Motion seconded by Nicole Deborde. Motion carries.

FY 2011 TCDLA Budget

  • Motion by Gary Trichter to approve the budget.
  • Motion seconded by Stanley Schneider. Motion carries.

Articles for Voice for the Defense

  • Board Members have an obligation to submit two articles to the Voice per year.
  • Motion by Pat Metze to approve that staff does not have to ask a board member for permission to use their materials submitted for seminars.
  • Motion seconded by Emily Detoto.
  • Proposed amendment by Pat Metze to get permission by the author of the material.
  • Question by Stanley Schneider. Motion carries.

Bylaw Committee motion to table discussion because of technical problems with conference call

  • Gary Trichter gives an overview of the proposed bylaw changes.
  • Motion by Susan Anderson to table, seconded by Emily Detoto.
  • Vote is a 15–15 tie.
  • Bill Harris breaks the tie and the motion is tabled.
  • Bill Harris and Gary Trichter will write pro and con articles on the bylaws for publication in the Voice.
  • The bylaws will be voted on at the June Annual meeting in San Antonio.

Committee Reviewing Advertising in the Voice

  • Jim Darnell sent email to Joseph suggesting that advertisements must be beneficial to the members, cannot be in di­rect competition, and have to be approved by the editor of the Voice.
  • Motion by Jim Darnell to approve the criteria for advertising in the Voice.
  • Motion seconded by Stanley Schneider. Motion carries.

Pro Bono Award Committee

  • The committee has extended the deadline for accepting nominees, expressed desire to name the Pro Bono Award the Charles D. Butts Pro Bono Award.
  • Motion by Scrappy Holmes to approve naming the Pro Bono Award after Charles D. Butts.
  • Motion seconded by Adam Kobbs. Motion carries.

Cynthia Orr has requested Bill Harris write a letter to the District Attorney to do what is right in a particular case.

  • Motion by Stanley Schneider to submit the request to the Amicus Committee.
  • Motion seconded by Pat Metze. Motion carries.

Adjourn Meeting

  • Motion by Warren Wolf to adjourn meeting.

Please start making plans to join us in San Antonio June 9–11, 2011, for the 24th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course. Breakout sessions include Appellate, Boot Camp, and Computer/Technology. This year’s event will also celebrate TCDLA’s 40th anniversary. The Hyatt Regency will be the host hotel. The golf tournament has been moved to Thursday, June 9.

TCDLA’s legislative effort is being coordinated by the TCDLA Legislative Committee, chaired by Mark Daniel and Rick Hagen. Allen Place is our senior lobbyist, assisted by Kristin Etter and David Gonzalez. They will keep membership up to date on bills during the session.

We invite all our members to attend the Annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, June 11, immediately following the adjournment of the Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in downtown San Antonio.

Good verdicts to all.