Executive Director’s Perspective: Falling Forward – By Joseph A. Martinez


TCDLA received notice from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals of the following grant awards for fiscal year 2014 (September 1, 2013, through August 31, 2014).

Criminal Defense Lawyers Project$913,662
Public Defender$33,035

TCDLA will maximize these grants and conduct over 42 seminars in the coming budget year. Seminars/events will be held in cities across Texas. Eight will be online on our TCDLA website. Working together with our public defender offices and our local criminal defense bars, we project we will train 5,500 lawyers in fiscal year 2014.

We thank the entire Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for having the trust and confidence in TCDLA to provide quality continuing legal education to the criminal defense bar. We thank, in particular, Judge Hervey, who is the judicial oversight for the Judicial and Court Personnel Training Fund.

TCLDA also received notice from the Department of Justice through the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals of awarding of the second round of funding for the Capital Case Litigation Initiative (CCLI). CCLI is specialized capital training for both criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors. TCDLA was awarded $99,875 for the next two fiscal years. The Center for American and International Law (CAIL) in Plano will do the prosecutor training.

We thank the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for their partnering with TCDLA on this most important training as it relates to lawyers who take on clients facing the Texas death penalty. We especially thank Judge Hervey for having the foresight to apply for the funds.

Special thanks to Danny Easterling (Houston) and Grant Scheiner (Houston), our course directors for the 11th Annual Top Gun DWI seminar held in Houston in August. We thank Danny and Grant for their coming up with the idea for a DWI seminar in Houston and twice held in Austin. We thank them for their commitment to quality CLE for our TCDLA members. Thanks to their efforts we had 246 attendees.

Special thanks to Jorge Aristotelidis (San Antonio), President, and the Board of Directors of the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (SACDLA) for allowing TCDLA/CDLP to co-sponsor their Against All Odds: Winning Trial Tactics seminar held in San Antonio in August. Thanks also to Trisha Morales Padia, new SACDLA Executive Director. Thanks to everyone’s efforts we had 95 attendees.

Special thanks to Janet Burnett (El Paso), our course director for the Indigent Defense and the Representation of the Mentally Ill Seminar held in El Paso. Special thanks to El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar, who presented on El Paso County’s Vision and the Mentally Ill at the seminar. Thanks to everyone’s efforts we had 66 attendees.

Special thanks to Robyn Nance (Amarillo) and Kelly Pace (Tyler), our course directors for the Trial Strategies That Work seminar held in Amarillo. Thanks to their efforts we had 30 attendees.

The Trial Strategies That Work seminar will be held in the following cites and on these dates:

October 25, 2013   Laredo
November 15, 2013   Sugarland
April 4, 2014   Waco
April 11   Beaumont
April 25   Tyler
July 17–18   South Padre Island

John Ackerman is the course director for one of the most important training seminars TCLDA conducts—the 3rd Annual Roundtop seminar. The seminar will focus on Advanced Skills Training—Voir Dire and Opening. There are still openings for this seminar, though space is limited. Please go to our website or call the Home Office for more information.

Are you interested in forming a local criminal defense bar? Need help getting organized? Please contact Susan Anderson (Dallas), , or Ray Rodriguez (Laredo), , Co-Chairs of the TCDLA Affiliate Committee.

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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