Kudos to Gerry Goldstein and Cynthia Orr, two of our storied ex-presidents, for their big NGs in a recent federal jury trial on charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering. D faced up to 25 years on the two charges, stemming from his involvement with former state senator Carlos Uresti and a West Texas county official—both convicted in the case. D paid a consulting fee to Uresti to secure a contract for his company, but the jury decided he did it unaware the money went to feather the nests of the two. The jury deliberated for 13 hours over 2 days. Congratulations on another big win, Gerry and Cynthia.
Shout out to David Adler of Bellaire, recipient of the inaugural Judge Thomas M. Reavley Award for Outstanding Public Service, awarded by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The award will be given to recognize a lawyer in private practice who has rendered outstanding service to the bench and bar of the Southern District of Texas who has improved the administration of justice. Judge Reavley, among other things, has served as Texas secretary of state and a justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, and, since 1979, sits on the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
David was honored for his work in the Southern District: “Since 2009, Mr. Adler has served as the Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney District Representative, working with the Court and the Federal Public Defender to meet the needs of indigent defendants throughout the Southern District. Mr. Adler’s work for the CJA Panel includes helping to revise the CJA Plan to keep it consistent with evolving law; ensuring that the CJA Panels throughout the District have qualified, trained, and diverse members in adequate numbers; mentoring, training, advising, and helping CJA attorneys; and coordinating the work of CJA Panel members with the needs of the Court.”
Congratulations, David, for your continuing work in the pursuit of justice.
A big shout out to Allison Clayton of Lubbock, recently awarded the Arthur von Briesen Award for defense of the indigent by the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association. Allison is an adjunct professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law and a deputy director at the Innocence Project of Texas—as well as being chair of the TCDLA Amicus Committee—so this award comes as no surprise to all who watch her in action. Congratulations, Allison, for this well-deserved accolade.
Kudos to Jeff Johnson of Abilene, who got the big NG for a client charged with Burglary of a Habitation and a Felon in Possession of a Firearm with a prior for Sexual Assault. D worked as a handyman inside home of the victim, who became dissatisfied with his work and fired him. Within three hours, the house was burglarized and 24 rifles, pistols, and shotguns were taken. D was immediately a suspect, so the police went to his house and found 4 of the stolen weapons. Police also arrested D’s brother and found most of the rest of the weapons at his house. D’s brother, who had previously accepted a 15-year deal, testified they burglarized the house together for money owed. Jeff argued brother was protecting his wife from prosecution. The jury agreed, taking just 25 minutes to reach a verdict: not guilty verdict on both counts. Way to go, Jeff, in establishing that presumption of innocence for your client.
Frank Chelly sends along a shout out to Nicholas Vitolo of the El Paso Public Defenders Office, who saw the 8th COA reverse two DWI convictions from CC1 and render judgements of acquittal because of speedy trial violations. Good work, Nick.
Investigator member LinMarie Garsee of Hempstead sent along a shout out to Houston’s Amy Martin, who recently learned that the CCA has reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded a Fort Bend County DP case for a new trial. But then, turns out she has something else to be proud of: In the November election, Amy was elected to serve as a judge in the 263rd Criminal District Court. Congratulations, Amy, on both of your big wins. We know you’ll do us proud.