Sam Bassett becomes president. A relative quiet—following rather tumultuous times—descended on the association under Sam's steady leadership. Action in the legislature, however, spoke of change in the criminal justice system: Junk science was, at least partially, exposed and became no longer admissible in criminal prosecutions. Defendants gained more access to discovery to prepare their cases for trial. Funding for training capital attorneys was increased.
During 2015, the biggest news was the arrest of nearly 180 individuals following a confrontation between rival biker gangs and law enforcement in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco. A committee formed of interested attorneys dealing with the unprecedented action by McClennan County officials. TCDLA remains involved as the cases drag on into 2016.
Nationwide, controversy surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement roiled the country, with increased calls for body cameras, as the age of iPhone video of confrontations between police and citizens brought calls for more accountability.
During his watch, Sam emphasized the need to cultivate new young leaders in TCDLA. To that end, he founded the $5,000 Charles Butts Scholarship for a third-year law student with a demonstrated interest in criminal defense. In his inaugural column for the Voice, he had written of mentorship and participation in TCDLA, a theme he often returned to:
"For the experienced lawyers, please open your schedule and your mind to the idea of helping younger lawyers. Demonstrate patience and generosity, and it will be paid back to you in multiples. Become a leader in TCDLA or a criminal defense-related legal association. Ultimately, I think you’ll find that you receive more than you give when you help out a new lawyer."
Also during Sam's watch, new rulings on discovery, notably in the case William Allen Schultz v. Commission on Lawyer Discipline, expanding the protections of Brady, stating: "the state shall disclose to the defendant any exculpatory, impeachment, or mitigating document, item or information in the possession, custody, or control of the state that tends to negate the guilt of the defendant or would tend to reduce the punishment for the offense charged."
During Sam's administration, Andrea Keilen was hired as general counsel for TCDLA, and Buck Files was honored on the occasion of his 200th article in the Voice for the Defense.