Dues Increased 9/1/2014

At our TCDLA Annual Membership meeting at this year’s Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course, your Board of Directors voted to increase our membership dues as shown below. Note that for the asterisked categories you can save $20 a year by signing up for automatic deductions.

Regular Members from $150 to $180 ($30 increase)*
Sustaining Members from $200 to $230 ($30 increase)*
Voluntary Sustaining Members from $300 to $330 ($30 increase)*
Student Members remain at $20
Past President Members from $50 to $100 ($50 increase)
Texas/Federal Public Defender Members from $50 to $60 ($10 increase)
Paralegal, Affiliate, Investigator, Expert Members from $50 to $80 ($30 increase)
Distinguished Members from $50 to $80 ($30 increase)
New Members remain at $75
Our dues have remained unchanged for thirty-two years. So why now?

There are many reasons, including the increased cost of doing business for an organization that has grown as much as ours has. We now train more lawyers than ever before. Our staff and facilities are different now than the team in the cramped building with little or no parking on Nueces Street in Austin. 

We have simply grown into the nation’s largest statewide criminal defense lawyers association. 

The most important thing beyond training lawyers will be our legislative effort this coming year. With the passage of the Michael Morton Act and the long-overdue improvement in discovery procedures, it is critical that we are ready to face any challenges that are proposed in the upcoming 84th Texas Legislative Session. We have added to our strength and presence at the Texas Legislature with the hire of Patricia Cummings in the new position of General Counsel and Governmental Relations Director. 

With the leadership of Mark Daniel, our Legislative Committee chair, and the lobbying efforts of Patricia Cummings, Alan Place, and David Gonzalez, we will have a powerful presence in the Texas Legislature.

It just costs a little more to accomplish the purpose that our founding charter members set for us—to promote justice and the common good. It is a worthy purpose. Please continue to support our efforts with the dedication you have personified over the years.

These rates will take effect on September 1st. You can lock in the current rate by signing up for automatic renewal before the deadline. See form, here, or call (512)478-2514.

Emmett Harris
President, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

Voice for the Defense

18 | Pictures from the Annual TCDLA Fourth of July Readings

26 | Reading Competency Reports: What Should Lawyers Expect of Competency Examiners? —By Mary Alice Conroy & Floyd L. Jennings

34 | The Rules of Evidence: The Rest of Our Top 25 —By Ed & Sara Stapleton

38 | Joseph "Sib" Abraham Jr.: West Texas Justice —By Jim Darnell & Dick DeGuerin

Read here
Voice archives

President's Message

United We Stand

As I took the oath of office at Rusty Duncan I remembered the line from the Robert Redford movie, “The Candidate,” where, to his surprise, he has been elected, looks at his handlers, and asks: “What do we do now?” Here are my suggestions for some answers to that question.

First of all, I give another salute to my predecessor, Mr. Bobby Mims. I watched and learned from him during his presidency as he sacrificed countless hours and miles navigating your association through occasionally challenging seas. He was and is a remarkable and diplomatic leader. Thanks to him we now have a newly minted agreement and relationship with the National College of DUI Defense and its excellent Mastering Scientific Evidence seminar in New Orleans.

High on our to-do list is our legislative effort. We have added a new member to our team. Patricia Cummings is our new addition to the legislative arena. You had a chance to meet her at Rusty, and I’m sure you saw what an extraordinary asset she will be leading and personifying us in the legislature.
(Continue reading here.

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Join Now!

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Voice for the Defense Survey

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New Attorney Reporting Requirements

HB 1318 requires both attorneys and counties beginning this October to report new information to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission regarding the caseloads of attorneys who accept public appointmentsThe information will allow policymakers to make better decisions on the best way to manage their appointment processes. It should also benefit the bar by raising awareness of the work attorneys do and help identify situations in which low pay may be creating pressures on some defense attorneys to accept more cases than they can reasonably handle. It may also help pinpoint places where the wheel system may not be working as designed and further investigation may be warranted to ensure that appointments are being made in a fair, neutral, and nondiscriminatory manner. The bill requires the following:

An attorney appointed under this article shall: … not later than October 15 of each year and on a form prescribed by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission, submit to the county information, for the preceding fiscal year, that describes the percentage of the attorney's practice time that was dedicated to work based on appointments accepted in the county under this article and Title 3, Family Code.

More information is available here. Click here for a copy of the Attorney Reporting Instructions and Form. Click here for a copy of the Optional Attorney Practice-Time Reporting Worksheet. Additional information will be forthcoming as the October implementation date approaches.

Application for Board Membership 2014

Available here. Applications are due by 12 noon, November 1, 2014.

Featured Events

Round Top IV
October 22-26, 2014
Round Top Festival Institute
Register here>>

10th Annual Stuart Kinard Memorial Advanced DWI
November 6–7, 2014
Menger Hotel | San Antonio
Register here>>

Featured Products

Sale! $25 off on Texas Punishment. Now only $60 for members. Call 512-478-2514. Good till Friday, Sept. 19th.

By Keith S. Hampton and Philip A. Wischkaemper. Updated 2013 by Kristi Ward

This one-of-a-kind practical manual not only sets out criminal penalties, but also highlights the hidden consequences of criminal accusations and convictions – such as deportation, driver’s license suspensions, and parole eligibility. The manual is divided into four parts:

  • Punishment Overview
  • Unseen Consequences of Penal Code Offenses
  • Unseen Consequences of Common Drug Offenses
  • Alphabetical Listing of Controlled Substance