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


Special thanks to our course directors, E. G. “Gerry” Morris (Austin), Sam Bassett (Austin) and Marjorie Bachman (Austin), for TCDLA “Defending Those Accused of Sexual Assault” seminar held in Austin. Thanks to their fine efforts, we had 173 attendees. This seminar will be held again in Houston on December 6–7, 2012. Please plan on joining us.

Special thanks to our course directors, Mark Kelly (Texas City), David Moore (Longview), and Jeanette Kinard (Austin), for our CDLP “Wining Trial Tactics” seminar held in Galveston. Thanks to their fine efforts we had 83 attendees. The next “Winning Trial Tactics” seminar will be held in Waco on April 5, 2012. Please plan on joining us.

Special thanks to Eric Willard (El Paso County Public Defender Office), course director for the “4th Annual El Paso County Mental Health Law Conference” held in El Paso. Thanks to his fine efforts we had 174 attendees.

The Court of Criminal Appeals in Texas has been awarded a Department of Justice Capital Case Litigation Initiative grant in the amount of $249,840. This two-year award will support capital case training for both criminal defense attorneys representing indigent defendants and prosecutors. TCDLA is appreciative of the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) for including TCDLA/CDLP in the grant submission. TCDLA/CDLP will be involved in the training of defense attorneys. With CDLP facing a 16 percent reduction in their (CCA) grant funding, the Capital Case Litigation Initiative grant is a welcome resource during these challenging economic times. The grant promises to have a substantial impact on capital litigation throughout the state of Texas.

The TCDLA Board of Directors met in Austin on September 24, 2011. The following is a summary of the board meeting.

  • Gary Trichter (President) started a new item at the board meeting. He asked for board volunteers to read an inspirational passage. The purpose of these readings is to begin the board meeting with positive and uplifting thoughts. Gary hopes that these readings will be embraced by everyone, and that the practice will become a board tradition. The following passages were read (the full text is available at http://www.tcdla.com/cleandevents/boardmeetings.htm):
    • Gary Trichter read a letter by Charlie Butts, TCDLA Past President (San Antonio), speaking about TCDLA and what TCDLA has meant to him.
    • Benny Ray (Austin), “We All Need a Parachute”
    • Rob Fickman (Houston), “The Best Fights Are the Ones We Fight Together” and “It Is Important to Remember Those that Have Gone Ahead of Us”
  • A moment of silence was observed for our Fallen Heroines and Heroes: William “Bennie” House (McKinney), Pat Barber (Colorado City), Elaine M. Ferguson (Abilene), and Robert Kahn (San Antonio). Past President Stan Schneider’s mother, Mrs. Sadie Schneider, also passed away.

The following were Informational items.

  • Gary presented a summary of TCDLA membership and TCDLA and CDLP seminar training this past fiscal year, FY 2011 (September 1, 2010, through August 31, 2011):
  1. TCDLA membership is 3,149 as of September 1, 2011. This is a 9.53% increase from 2009.
  2. The following were the top four providers of CLE hours in Texas for September 1, 2010, through August 31, 2011:
    a)State Bar of Texas 278,128.25 hrs
    b) University of Texas Law School 77,314.25 hrs
    c) TCDLA and CDLP 39,888.25 hrs
    d) Dallas Bar 27,175.50 hrs
  3. TCDLA and CDLP combined to train 6,473 lawyers (TCDLA 2,881/CDLP 3,592).
  • Gary thanked the board members, course directors, speakers, TCDLA members, and staff for their work and dedication.
  • Gary congratulated Kameron Johnson, Juvenile Public Defender (Austin), and the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender’s Office on its Thirty-Year Anniversary.
  • Melissa Schank, Assistant Executive Director, gave an update on technology . TCDLA will work with Grant Scheiner, Chair of the Technology Committee, on the following items this year:
  1. Updating the TCDLA application for the iPhone and Droid platforms (overall feedback from members has been positive)
  2. Developing an organization app for TCDLA’s website, which will allow for paying dues, registering for a seminar, or purchasing publications
  3. Having web videos available for online CLE
  4. Top five TCDLA legal publications sellers will be available on Amazon for eBooks
  5. Looking at different options for committee meetings: one- and two-way video conferences

The following are motions passed by the board:

  • Motion to approve minutes from June 10, 2011, TCDLA Board Meeting and June 11, 2011, TCDLA Annual Meeting, both held in San Antonio, along with the following two electronic votes:
  1. Deandra Grant to replace Russell Wilson on the board
  2. PDF Membership Directory emailed to all members
  • Motion to approve the TCDLA FY 2012 Budget ($1,374,075)
  • Motion to approve TCDLA Affiliation for the Galveston County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

John Ackerman (Sunrise Beach) is our course director for TCDLA’s first four-day Psychodrama Program at the Round Top Festival Institute January 11–14, 2012, limited to 60 spots. Tuition is $750 per person (includes lodging and meals). Stipends are available for Public Defenders by the CDLP grant. TCDLA, CDLP, and TCDLEI are all providing funds for this unique training event. There will be no onsite registration. Please see our website for more information.

All TCDLA members are cordially invited to attend your next TCDLA Board of Directors Meeting to be held in downtown Houston on Saturday morning, December 3, 2011, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 1700 Smith St.

Please save the date to join us at the 25th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course June 7–9, 2012. Our course directors will be Troy McKinney, Stephanie Stevens, and Doug Murphy, with our associate course directors Sharon Curtis, Sarah Roland, and Marjorie Bachman. The theme will be “Ridin’ for Justice—Celebrating 25 Years,” a cowboy theme. There will be a fun run, and healthy lifestyle options will be available. Register now to take advantage of the early-bird registration rate, and book your hotel.

Good verdicts to all.

Joseph A. Martinez
Joseph A. Martinez
Joseph A. Martinez is the former long-time Executive Director of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
Previous Story

Ethics and the Law: Following the Law

Next Story

President’s Message: Being a Defense Lawyer: Taking the Constitutional High Road—Winning Is Not Everything – By J. Gary Trichter

Latest from Columns