Rusty Duncan 2016

The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association is proud to announce its 29th Annual Rusty Duncan Criminal Law Course. Named for the late Honorable M.P. “Rusty” Duncan, III, of the Court of Criminal Appeals, this course is designed to cover state law and scholarly topics as well as cases from the past year that impact your practice today.

CLICK HERE for Rusty Duncan Website
CLICK HERE for Rusty Duncan Scholarships


July 4th Readings Video

Proposed Bylaws Change 

The following wording has been approved by the Board and will be presented to the membership at the annual meeting in June:

(a) The business and affairs of the Association shall be managed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall consist of the elected officers of the Association, the past presidents of the Association, the editor of the VOICE for the Defense, forty-two (42) directors, and sixteen (16) associate directors. Each past president of the Association is a member of the Board of Directors, provided said past president is a member in good standing. Directors shall be elected for terms of three (3) years. Associate directors shall be elected for terms of one (1) year.

(b) No director may be elected to serve for more than two (2) full consecutive terms, not to include any term or terms served as an associate director provided this restriction shall not prevent officers and the editor of the VOICE for the Defense who are directors by virtue of office from serving on the Board of Directors. Any director who is ineligible to be reelected to the Board is also ineligible for election as associate director. No associate director may be elected for more than two (2) consecutive terms, except as deemed necessary by the nominations committee and approved by the Board, associate directors terms may be extended by one year. The executive committee shall have the responsibility for establishing rules to ensure the orderly election of the board of directors. (c) Each membership area designated in Section 11 of Article III shall be represented by a director from that area. The nominations committee shall have responsibility for establishing rules for elections which will achieve this objective.

July 4th Readings

Sign up now to lead a Reading in your county. Robb Fickman and team—Chuck Lanehart (Lubbock), Kerri Anderson-Donica (Corsicana), Tip Hargrove (Abilene), David Schulman (Austin), Mary Conn (Houston), Michelle Ochoa (Beeville), Mary Beth Harrell (Killeen), Jim Darnell (El Paso), Jeff Blackburn (Amarillo), Sheldon Weisfeld (Valley), Dustin Nimz (Wichita Falls), and Tammy Schmidt Keener (Fredericksburg)—will be working to place one in each of Texas' 254 counties. Click here to see pictures from last year's events. This year's list will be compiled here.

Statistical Errors in DNA

Click here for a Brady Notice regarding statistical errors in the FBI DNA database.

TCDLA's 2015 Legislative Update

Written by our TCDLA Legislative Team

Click Here for 2015 Legislative Update

President's Message

The Civil Invasion of Criminal Matters

The world of defending a criminal case used to be simpler. As I look around my office at lawyers who have practiced in excess of 50 years, I realize how much the landscape has changed in just a generation or two. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the increasing number of civil proceedings that accompany even a misdemeanor criminal case today. What is relatively new as well is the new landscape on college campuses of Title IX requirements in cases where sexual misconduct is alleged. (Continue reading here.)

New Sheriff in Town

Michael Gross has stepped down as editor of the Voice magazine to assume the secretary position in the TCDLA officer chain. Since July 2013, Michael has done a superb job shepherding the magazine through some tumultuous times, and we all owe him a big "thanks" for a job well done.

In his stead now—never fear—steps the estimable Sarah Roland, who has filled just about every other role in the associa- tion. We look forward to her work on the magazine and only hope she has time to continue writing more articles as well.

Join Now!

Become a member of the largest state association for criminal defense attorneys in the nation and take advantage of member pricing on seminars, events and products. Join TCDLA »

New Attorney Reporting Requirements

Reporting portal now live -

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 appointments. Read more here >>

Voice for the Defense

21 | Pictures from the 40th Annual Texas Criminal Trial College

25 | Between a Reversal at the Court of Appeals and Discretionary Review: What Are Appointed Counsel’s Duties?—By John Bennett

29 | 

Successfully Suppressing a Search 

Warrant in Federal Court

—By Mary Beth Harrell 

35 | 

The Star Expert in the Pre-Columbian 

Artifacts Affair

—By Judge Wayne Patrick Priest

Featured Events

9th Annual DWI Defense Project
May 6
Arlington, TX
Register here >>

29th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Seminar
June 16–18
San Antonio, TX
Register here >>

Press Release 8/4/15:
Waco Biker Cases

Dear McLennan County Grand Jury, District Judge Ralph Strother, and District Attorney Abel Reyna: I write this letter on behalf of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) as its current President. TCDLA is composed of over 3,200 members, many of whom are former judges and prosecutors. Sam Bassett's press release here >>

Press Release:
Waco Grand Jury

The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) remains concerned regarding developments in the Waco biker cases. Sam Bassett's press releasehere >>

Press Release 5/22/15:

The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of those accused of crimes. Emmett Harris press release here >>

Go Mobile

To download the TCDLA iPhone app, please visit Apple's "App Store" on your mobile device. For Android devices, go to the "Play Store." Search for "TCDLA" and download your free app. You will need your TCDLA username and password to login to the app. learn more »