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


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.

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