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From  the  Editor 
By  Shawna L.  Reagin 
Winning  Warriors 
From  the  President 
By  Mark Bennett 
HCClA  Hosts  1S

All  Hallows  Eve 
Poker  Tournament 
By  Wendy  Miller 
Strategy-Cross  Examination: 
Push  or  Pull 
By  Joseph W.  Varela 
Tribute  to  Margy  Meyers 
By  Hon.  Keith  P. Ellison 
Public  Defenders  Office:  Pros  &Cons 
By  Mark  Hockglaube &  David  Mitcham 
1984-85  HCClA  Board 
Motion  of  the  Month 
By  Robert Pel ton 
HCCLA   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 2008-2009
Mark Bennett
Ni cole DeBorde
1 B. Todd Dupont II
Steven H. Holpert
Patrick f. McConn
St aci Biggar
Davi d Cunning ham
Tyler flood
Tucker Groves
Mark Hochgl oube
Rondall Kollinen
David Kiotto
Marjorie Meyers
Dovid Mitchom
Roland Moore III
[orl D. Musick
John Parras
Cormen Roe
0. Tote Wi li lOms
Sarah V. Wood
1971 2007
C. Anthony friloux
Stuart Kinord
George luquette
Morvin O. Teague
Dick DeGuerin
W.B. House, Jr.
David R. Bires
Woody Densen
Will Gray
[dward A. Mollett
Carolyn Garcia
Jock B. Zimmermann
Clyde Will iams
Robert Pel ton
Can delario [Iizondo
Allen C. Isbell
David Mitchom
Jim L lovine
Mory [, Conn
Kent A. SchoPPer
Don Cogdell
Ji mSkelton
George J  Parnhom
Garland D. MCinnis
Robert A. Moen
lloyd Oliver
Wayne Hill
Richard FronkoPP
W. Troy McKi nney
Cynth io Henley
Sto nl ey G. Schneider
Wendell A. Odam, Jr.
Robert J  fickm on
Publisher:  HCClA Distribution 600 copies per issue.
Editorial Staff:  Shawna l. Reagin
For articles and other editorial
Ads &Distribution: JoAnne Musick &Christina Appelt
contributions,contact Shawna L. Reagin
Design &Layout:  limb Design
at 713-224-1641. To place an ad,call
Cartoon Art:  Gilly Ross
Shawna L. Reagin at 713-224-1641
As  I  prepare to make  the leap  into my new role as  judge of the  176th 
District  Court,  I  have  been  dealing  with  a  lot  of conflicting  emotions. 
Although  I  am  happy  and  excited  to  be  moving  on  to  a  different  field 
of challenges  and  opportunities,  I  fll1d  myself wrapping  up  my  practice 
with  a  certain  bittersweet  sadness  and  regret .  Almost  20  years  of doing 
anything becomes quite a habit, and being a criminal defense  lawyer was  my 
sole  ambition for  most of my  life  [after I quit wanting to be  President of the  Urrited States]. 
I never became the lawyer  I truly wanted  to be, even  though  I  tried  hard.  Jury trial  success 
continued  to  elude  my  grasp,  and  I  lost  many  appeals  I  beli eved  should  have  been  won  and 
perhaps could  have  been  won,  had  I  managed  to do  a  little  bit  better job.  As  I've said  many 
times,  Katherine Scardino  turned out to  be  the  lawyer  I  dreamed  of being;  I  can  only aspire 
to someday follow in  her footsteps.  Although  I  would  like  to spend  many years on the  bench, 
I  am  cognizant of the  distinct  possibility  that  I  will  sooner or later  be  returned  by the  voters 
to criminal  defense  work. 
I  will  miss  editing  The Defender and  being  actively  involved  in  HCCLA  more  than  any 
other  recent  aspect  of my  career.  Learning  to  put together  a  magazine,  pretty  much  by  the 
seat of my pants, has  been some of the  most fun  I've ever had for free . The power of the  press 
is  essential  to  effecting  necessary  change,  and  I  like  to  believe  that  we  have  made  ourselves 
more of a voice  in  the local  criminal justice system than ever before.  By virtue of a committed, 
intelligent  and  hard-working  leadership,  HCCLA  has  evolved  into  a  force  with  which  to  be 
reckoned.  I  have  faith  that the  new  Editor,  Kathryn  Kase,  \vill  carry  The Defendel' to  greater 
summits yet, with  the  help  of these  great  people. 
I urge you all  to continue to be vigilant against abuses  by  the prosecLltion and the judiciary. 
Expose  corruption  wherever  you  tind  it.  Speak  truth  to  power.  Fight  incompetence  on  the 
bench and within  our own ranks. Own  the political process and  utilize it to effect the changes 
you  desire . Most  of all,  be  fearless  in  your  defense  of those  who  rely  upon  you  as  their only 
hope  for  freedom  and  justice. 
In closing,  I  encourage each  and  everyone of you  to administer whatever  remedy  you  find 
most effective if you ever observe me to  have  fallen  victim to the dreaded Black Robe  Disease. 
[1  realize  that  for  some,  this  will  have  occurred  the  mo ment  I  fail  to  rule  for  the  defense.] 
Thanks  to  you  all  for  your  help  and support over the  years. 
___________  _______________Shawna  L. Reagin 
:\fter  almost  Ilille  months  of  tightillg  tll!'  his  c1iellt,  111 
dIStllll\ '  alld  ch,lrged  \\ 'ith  possessioll  \\ith  intent  to 
ddi\LT  29  kilos  of coc,lille  ill  the  District  Court, 
JOHNNY PAPANTONAKIS pLTsll.llkd  the State  to dismiss  the case. 
DEE MCWILLIAMS \\,lS  \' i({orious  Oil  all  illjurY  to  disabled 
perSOIl , serious  bodih' illjun',  ill  the  33LJth  District  Court, 
Oil  September  5, 
"HometO\\lled"  at  e\'el"\'  turll  alld  th\Llrted  by  a 
prosecutori,lI  judge  \\ '110  did  all  the  Sute's  work,  BO 
HOPMANN prn'ailed  \\ 'ith  a  <";uilt\,  \'Crdict  Oil  a  [)WI -
21ld  ill  HUllts\'ilk.  :\Ithough  the  elltire  defellse  celHered 
Oil  ,1  f,ldual  dispulL'  ,IS  to  prob,lbk cause  for  the  stop,  the 
judge refused a  illstructioll \\ ' ithout  the prosecutioll 
n'Cll  obje({illg  to  go's requested  d1.1rge,  :\Ild,  accordillg 
to  olle  juror's  report,  the  judge  \\ ',IS  so  upset  o\'er  the 
,1cL]uitt,1I  th,lI  she  rail  b,ld. to t,lillt  the  jury \\ 'ith  IlC\\S  ofthc 
,l((uscd's prior  [)\VI  (ol1\'i(tioll ,  Hcll  hath  110  fun'  ... 
TROY MCKINNEY got a  ot <";uil t \'  Oil  all  CISC  ill  CCC I. 
  :\Iso,  the  State  tillalh'  dismissed  (asc  origillallY  tricd 
by  GARY TRICHTER alld  re\ 'LTscd  Oil  appcal  b\' TROY ill  Si ll /Oil
1'. Slille, 203  S.W.3d  SX  I  ('['o.:\pp.  IIoustoll  \ 14th 
I)ist.\  200(),  110  pet .)  Si ll/ Oil \L1S  prc\'ioush'  rcportcd  ill 
\V\V  - rc\ 'erscd  tllr  sC\L:ral  illappropriate  (Ol11mcllts  madc 
h  Judgc  Hdm. 
:\  35  \'car  murdLT  SClllCIl(e  \\as  rnLTsed  h ' ROLAND MOORE
tllr  t:lilurc  to  gi\L'  a  rCL]uestcd  sdf-detl-Ilse  illstru(tioll 
ill  lolm"oll J',  Sl llle, _  S.\V.3d  _  ,  200X  WI.  -lX21<)20 
('['(\ .:\pp.  - lkaulllollt ,  OLJ -O() -S 10-( :R,  ddi\LTed 
5  200X)  \ palld  op,  2  I  \. 
NEW Members 
Annie  Basu  Jeff Ludwig 
Michelle  Beck  Jessica  N. Needham 
Stacey Webb Bond  Patrick Ngwolo 
E.  Ross  Craft  Lloyd  W.  Oliver 
Ted  Doebbler  James  R.  Reed 
Rebecca B.  Fleming  Brian  M.  Roberts 
Jerome Godinich, Jr.  Fernando (Fred) 
J.  Rodriguez
Keith  S.  Hampton 
Marco A.  Sapien
Audley Heath 
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Page  Janik 
Joshua  R.  Willoughby
Ron Johnson 
Glenn  J.  Youngblood
John J.  Liles 
PO  BOX 2982 
PH . 281-513-3925 FAX 713-937-0143 
All  Lawyers know you let a client enter a plea of guilty without 
an  agreed  recommendation  only as a last resort and  after all 
other possibilities  have been  explored,  When you  make this 
decision we are  there to help to make sure all  options are 
explored.  We do a complete client workup from  childhood  to 
present.  Our staff at Iron horse includes Mrs. Carolyn  Kizzie who 
was the Probation  Officer for Judge Jo  Kegans  and  has written 
100s of PSI  reports.  A memo in  mitigation of punishment needs 
to be done in ALL  cases  from Federal  Court to Misdemeanor 
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Alan Steuart 
Former DEA  Agent 
By Mark Bannatt
Who'd've thought that remaining judge in Harris County lnight
require more than the imprimatur of the local Republican Party?
Granted, the process was unpredictable, but so are the lives of the
vast majority of the people who appear before you every day .
. Your future employment isn't looking quite so
certain, but how many people do you know who know
that they'll have the same job four years from now1 How
,many of the people appearing before you know that
they'll have the same job in twelve months, much less
four years1
We may all reasonably wish that the system were a
little more rationaL. If you have any political   I ' d
love to see you using it to reform the Election Code so
that judges-those elected officials vvho should be farthest
removed from partisan politics-were chosen by some
method other thah partisan elt;ctions. You've got nothing
to lose if you think you'd keep your jobs on your merits,
without depending on ignoranr straight-party voting.
Until that t:u-off day when our judges chosen for
their capacity for justice rather than their party aftiliation,

the best that we can hope for is races that are close enough
that they are decided by those who are in fact familiar with
the candidates and the offices for which they are running.
Let's be honest. Some of you don't treat the
human beings in your courts very well. Some of you are
discourteous; some are downright nasty: to the parties,
to the witnesses, and to the lawyers. You're mostly polite
to the jurors, of course, because in your mind they're
voters. But all of those people appearing in your courts
(except those already serving life sentences) are potential
voters, and none of them are fooled.
I read a CLE paper some years back by a civil judge
who claimed, "jurors love me and they hate you ." You
might share that high opinion ofthe bench; I suspect that's
what jurors politely tell you when you go back to talk to
them after a trial. But that's not what they are saying to
us lawyers. Jurors aren't stupid, and no matter how nicely
you trear them they know who the jerk in the room is.
The lawyers know it too; so do your fellow judges.
Has a judge's personaLity ever affected the outcome of a
Harris Coullty judicial election1 Not yet. But if elections
get closer, it might .
The recent election results prove that "make people
afraid" is not always a winning strategy. The Republican
judges' costly collective advertising campaign of fear
didn't carry the day. Nor is "tough on crime" the magic
phrase it once was, swinging wide the doors to the bench .
As we've created more "criminals", we' ve also created
more families of voters who recognize that "tough on
crim'e" means "tough on our fathers, brothers, sisters and
cousins." The voters don!t care about the si ze of your
docket; nor should they-the number of cases on the
. docket in a .court has nothing to do with. the fairness and
justice handed out in that court. More than that, though,
there is an opportunity cost to docket control: time spent
t1xated on the length of your bar on the docket size graph
is time not spent doing justice: The legislature creates crimes
and courts; the DA's Office prosecutes pe.ople and can make
plea offers and dismiss cases. Either the legislature or the
DA's Office could reduce your docket size; leave the "docket
cO,ntrol" to them.
So ,,,hat's a judge to do to win over the educated voters?
You were all trial lawyers before you were judges;
we trial lawyers are not renowned for our humility.
But arrogance is unbecoming in trial lawyers, and even
more S? in those whose job is to judge others . Let the
humble black robe remind you daily to walk humbly:
if judges were meant to feel superior, they'd be issued
bespoke suits instead of black housecoats.
In the DA's Office, you were probably .taught
to respond to defense lawyers' pleas for mercy with
incredulity. "This defendant doesn't deserve mercy,"
you'd sneer to the jury. But mercy is not something that

anyone deserves-if it were deserved, it would not be
mercy. So love mercy not because anyone deserves it
but because nobody deserves it but you shuw it anyway.
vVhen you show someone mercy, it says nothing about
him and everythinl?; about you.
Humility and mercy are easy. Justice is trickier.

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305 Travis@ Congress
713.222.8177 713.227.5867
Part of walking humbly is recognizing that you are not
omniscient, and that your best effort at justice is a
mere approximation. Clarence Darrow suggested that
we cling to charity and understanding and mercy for
this reason. But your job requires you on' occasion to
punish people. Mistakes are inevitable . You can't know
how those mistakes will come back and bite you in the
future. Frankly, I don't envy you the job.
In two and fOUf years all of you-Democrats anq
Republicans-will be opposed in elections. Even those
of you who try their best to do justice, who love
mercy, and who walk humbly will draw opponents, not
because of the job you've done but because the vagaries
of the system might defeat you. Those of you, who do
not do justice, love mercy, walk humbly ,vill draw
determined opponents, because your shortcomings might
defeat you:
In a hundred years all of us-lawyers, judges, and
defendants-will all be.. equally dead. Remember this
the next time you are feeling superior to those who
come before you for judgment.
Even if you don't agree with me that treating peopl e
better you a better judge, consider that people
are fondly remembered after their deaths not for their
toughness but for their kindness; not for the people they
punished but for the people they helped. Start
on that legacy now.
• 'e •


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Judith A.  Snively 
Licensed Real Estate Broker
(832) 489-3100

By  Wendy  Miller 
The Poker Tournaments are a fundraiser for our
HCCLA Community Service & Public Relations/ Speakers
Bureau committee. HCCLA has been incredibly active
in this area (such as continue sponsoring events for Big
Brothers Big Sisters Amachi kids & contributing to the
STAR Drug Court Christmas Toy Box/ graduations ). With
its own semi-annual fund raiser, the committee will continue
doing worthwhile projects and sharing HCCLA love .
The "Big For a Day" events are a wonderful
opportunity to make a difference in the lives of
at - risk youth. The Amachi Texas program provides
one-on-one mentoring for children with one or more
incarcerated parents . The mission of the Amachi Texas
Mentor program is to break the generation-after-
generation cycle of crime and incarceration and help
these children reach their maximum potential through
safe and positive mentoring relationships . On any given
day, 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United
States, and over the course of a year, many millions
spend time in prison or jail - for an annual COSt of
more than 60 billion dollars . Childre n of incarce rated
parents are five times more likely to commit crimes, and
without positive adult intervention,  will more than
likely follow their parents into prison.
Due to the limited number of adult volunteers in
BBBS, not every child registered in the Amachi Texas
Program in Houston has been assigned a Big Brother
or Big Sister. There are, on average, 70 children
left unassigned every year due to the low number of
volunteers registered to be Big Brothers or Big Sisters .
The" Big for a Day" events help address this problem
by inviting children from the Amachi Texas program
not assigned to long term mentors attend these events
- with adult professionals (attorneys, judges, law
stude nts, etc ) serving as the volunteer mentors at the
event .
In addition to hosting mentor events each year
for BBBS Amachi Texas Mentor Program children
[for example, in the 2007-2008 bar year, HCCLA
helped sponsor for the kids a Tea Time banquet and
the awards for their Tee Time putt-putt tournament],
HCCLA also participates in the annual Bowl for Kids'
Sakes ( BFKS ) hosted by BBBS-Houston . BFKS is one
of the biggest annual fundraisers for Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Greater Houston. Money raised by bowlers
supports all BBBS programs, including Amachi Texas
Mentor Program. The "Houston Lawyer's Bowl" in
2008 took place on July 12th . GO TEAM HCCLA
bowling team! T he 2009 BFKS will be at the same
location on a date in July (TBA) .
S T R AT E G Y  By  Joseph  W.  Varela 
Cross-Exarnina tion: 
Push  or  Pull 
Field  Marshal  Helmuth  von  Moltke 

CROSS-EXAMINATION  has been called the most difficult duty of all those
required of the advocate.
Many, if not most, beginning lawyers walk
into court with elaborately structured cross-examinations that read like
dialogue in a play. Their professional education predisposes them to
prepare for and conduct cross in this manner. Students are taught the
value of "preparation" in law school through reading and recitation
in the classroom, and in the stylized combat of mock trial and moot
court competition. These methods of instruction revvard that student
who is most thoroughly "prepared. "3 In most instances "preparation"
amounts to creation and mastery of a detailed formula .
An over-prepared cross can serve as a security blanket . The method
appears to work fine as long as the script remains intact: One scripted
question elicits an expected ans\ver, which prompts the next scripted
question . But what happens when the determined sequence breaks
down? Opportunities that spontaneously arise may be frittered away.
Events earlier in the trial may render a script obsolete . A hostile witness
will refuse to follow the script, and the advocate's entire presentation
can be upset to the extent that he may lose mastery of the witness .
Trials are neither plays nor academic demonstrations; we need
a method of cross-examination that follows the universal rules of
human conflict .
Army Lt . Col. Robert Leonhard offers a theory of military
command and control that may be useful to the triallawyer.
identifies two antithetical methods of tactical command. The first
is variously known as "detailed control" or "command push.'"
Here the top command works Out an elaborate plan in which the point
of contact with the enemy is preselected. Each unit has a predestined
part to play, and subordinate commanders are expected to follow
orders minutely. Command push emphasizes planning, obedience and
perseverance . Risk and uncertainty are minimized. Resistance by the
what happens 
enemy attracts reinforcements. The attacker's strength may be hurled
against the enemy's strength. (Fig. 1).
The antithesis of command push is "directive
control" or "recon pull." It describes a system in 'which
commanders give to subordinates broad statements
of their intent and the results desired. Subordinate
commanders in the field work Out their own methods and
send force-reconnaissance units to probe the enemy.
Recon units make contact with the enemy "surface."6
When a 'weakness is spotted, other units are "pulled"
to the gap in order to exploit it. (Fig. 2). Recon pull
empbasizes flexibility, initiative and improvisation.
A certain amount of risk is accepted . Enemy resistance
is bypassed if possible.
Tbe attacker's strength is
directed against the enemy's weakness
0 0
[2] -----7 0 1\0
[2] 0
[2] -----7
~ [ 2 ]
[ 2 ] ~ [ 2 ]
[2] [2]
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In a nutshell, command push is about concentration
of force to create a gap; recon pull is about finding
and exploiting gaps.
I think this idea applies directly to cross-
The lawyer who prepares his cross-examinations in
great detail is engaging in command push cross . It is
required in certain situations, such as those in which cross
is used to prove lack of probable cause or affirmative
links, or to establish an element of a defense. The cross-
examiner knows in advance what he needs to elicit from
the witness, and hammers (or pries or coaxes) away
until he gets it. A script must be written and the witness
compelled to follow the script. The cross, if represented
graphically, would look like Fig. 1.
My  limited  expenence  In  civil  trials  indicates 
that  civil  trial  la'""yers  use  command  almost 
exclusively.  You  can  watch  civil  trials  and  see  little  or 
no  recon  pull.  The  lawyers,  even  the  good  ones,  plod 
ahead  in  a  predetermined  sequence,  predictably  and 
methodically.  This  may  be  partly  due  to  the  nature 
of civil  discovery;  when  a  witness  has  been  deposed 
by  question  and  answer,  and  a  transcript  is  available, 
command  push  makes  more  sense,  or  at  least  may  be 
more  tempting.  It  may  also  be  a  product  of a  civil-
lawyer  culture  that  stresses  methodical  preparation 
and  execution  and  fears  improvisation. 
BlIt  I  think all  trial  lawyers,  and  especially  criminal 
la'vvyers,  should  make  more  use  of recon  pull  cross. 
Recon  pull  cross  could  look  like  Fig.  2.  Any 
weakness the witness shows must be exploited.  Does he 
begin  to glance at the prosecutor for  support1  Does he 
show anger when a particular subject is  broached1  Does 
he  begin  to  contradict  or  qualify  his  earlier  assertions1 
Abandon  the script  and  start  probing  for  gaps. 
I  recently tried a case in  which  a constable testified. 
He  was  wearing  his  uniform.  As  an  afterthought,  I 
asked  him  if  he  was  on  duty.  There  was  no  harm  in 
either  answer.  Sure  enough,  he  was  not.  I  then  asked 
him  if he  normally  wore  his  uniform  off duty.  No,  not 
usually.  Why  today1  Because  the  prosecutor asked  him 
to. Which prosecutor1 The one sitting right there at the 
table.  vVhy,  because  it  made  him  look  more  credibld 
At  this  point  the  objection  vvas  sustained,  but  I  had 
what  I  wanted:  Evidence  of the  prosecutor's  attempt 
to  manipulate  the  jury.  This  is  a  small  example  of 
finding  and  exploiting a  "gap"  via  recon  pull  cross. 
Understanding  military  command  and  control 
theory  and  applying  both  techniques  properly  will 
give  beginner and  veteran  alike  the  means  to  plan  and 
execute  cross-examination  that survives  contact with  a 
hostile  force. 
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Ikll  (I 'N3), ,\Ioltkl'  is  ottl'll  Illisqlloted  .IS  s'I\'illg  ":-\0  1'1.111 
sllniH's  lirst  (Olll.l(t  \\itll  thc CIlCI11\'," 
2  Fr.1I1(is  Welllll.lIl,  Thl'  Art of Cross- FX.lI11ill,lliOIl  ( I ()()3), (h.  2. 
3 So  it  \\ '.IS  .1l  TO\\lll'S  11.111.  If\'ollr s(hool  ofil:rni  l1lorc  PLIllic11 
tr.lillillg,  \'our  lllik.lgc  111,1\'  "'IJ'\', 
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Tribute TO 
Margy Meyers 
On November 17)  the Federal Bar Association for the
Southern Distt'ict of Texas celebrated with a gala event
headlined by Antonin Scalia) Associate Justice of the
U.S. Supreme Court. Also that evening) the Association
honored Federal Public Defender Margy Meyers with its
Michael Taylor Shelby AlVard. U.S. District Judge Keith P
Ellison conferred the award with an eloquent speech that is
reproduced here. - Editor
By  Hon. Keith P.  Ellison, U.S. Federal District Court Judge
The  Michael  T. Shelby  Award  was  created  In honor  of 
a  man  who  served  with  distinction  as  U.S.  Attorney  for 
the  Southern  District  of Texas,  and  was  taken  from  us 
far  too soon. The  recipient of the Shelby Award  this  year 
is  Marjore  Meyers,  who  has  spent  almost  the  entirety  of 
her  career  at  the  offi ce  of the  Federal  Public  Defender 
for  the  Southern  District. 
As  their respective positions suggest, Mike and Margy 
played  on  opposite  sides  of the  net.  Nonetheless,  it  can 
be  said-and  I  do  so,  with  all  seriousness-that  Mike 
and  Margy  agreed  on  everything  except  their  opinions . 
By  that ,  I  mean  Mike  and  Margy  stood  as  one  on  the 
primacy  of the  rule  of law.  Likewise,  both  expected  of 
themselves  and  those  who  worked  with  them  absolute 
ethical  rectitude,  "to  the  punctilio of an  honor  the  most 
sensitive . "1  Both were committed  to  the  proposition that 
their  clients  deserved  zealous  representation  and  both 
ensured  that  they  received  precisely  that. 
But, from  these shared  principles,  they did  form  very 
different  opinions-on  the  proper  scope  of search  and 
seizure,  the  interpretation  and  application  of sentencing 
guidelines, the justness and efficacy ofcapital punishment. 
And,  in  an  adversary  system,  that  is  just  as  it should  be . 
Margy  has  told  me  that  her  career  path  was  set  in 
high  school  when  she  read  Gideon's  Trumpet, Anthony 
Lewis's  magisterial  account  of  the  case  that  led  to 
the  Supreme  Court's  decision  that  indigent  criminal 
defendants  deserved  court-appointed  counsel.After 
bigh  school,  Margy  earned  degrees,  with  honors ,  at  two 
different  Ivy  League  universities.  She  won  a  fistful  of 
different  prizes  at  each,  and-as  a  capstone-received 
a  highly  coveted  judicial  clerkship  with  Judge  Carolyn 
Dineen  King  of the  Fifth  Circuit .  Carolyn  has  warmly 
supported  Margy's  nomination  for  the  Shelby Award. 
After  her  clerkship,  Margy  joined  the  Federal  Public 
Defender's  office  here  in  Houston .  Except  for  a  brief 
interlude  in  private  practice,  she  has  remained  there 
ever  since.  In  2004, she  succeeded  Roland  Dahlin  as  the 
head  of the  office. 
Margy  has  long enjoyed  the  reputation  as  one of the 
ablest  criminal  defense  lawyers  in  the  state.  In  addition 
to her work on  behalf of clients , Margy has  been active  as 
a  lecturer  and  mentor.  She  is  in  demand  for  conferences 
and  training  sessions  all  over  the  country.  Among  her 
many  appearances,  I  will  note  only  one .  At  a  recent  5
Circuit Conference, Margy was  part of an  instructive  and 
fascinating  panel  discussion  on  post-Booker  sentencing. 
Her  fellow  panelists  were  Justice  Scalia  and  our  own 
Judge  Sim  Lake.  In  all  of her  teaching,  Margy  reminds 
us  to  embrace  those  who  seek  the  truth,  and  abjure 
those  who  claim  to  have  found  it. 
Choosing  the  life  work  she  has  chosen,  Margy  has 
forfeited  in  lost  wages  a  total  that  is  certainly  in  the 
millions  of dollars.  Her  compensation  comes  instead 
in  a  fulfilled  heart  and  a  restful  conscience. 
There  is  much  more  to  be  said  abollt  everything 
that  Margy  has  done  in  her  career.  To  me,  she  has 
always  personified  the  ancient  wisdom  that  the  small 
courtesies sweeten  life  while  the  larger ones ennoble it. 
As  to the small courtesies, she is  unfailingly gracious, even 
to  opponents  who  are  given  to  Rambo-like  outbursts. 
She  is  gracious  even  to  federal  judges  who  appear  to  be 
in  the  terminal  stages  of black  robe  disease . 
As  to  the  larger  courtesies)  Margy  has  taught  me 
the  meaning  of  words  that  I  had  thought  I  already 
understood,  words  like  sacrifice,  courage,  and  -
especially - compassion . She demonstrates such  qualities 
1  Meinhard  v.  Salmon,  249  N.Y. 458,463-464 (1928)  (Cardozo, J.).
We are very lucky
In the course of representing clients whose needs
regularly require all those qualities and many more. Her
representation of defendants facing deportation deserves
particular note.
Margy is so very often the person who has to explain
to a defendant what awaits him: a prison sentence,
followed by indefinite detention by immigration officials,
then deportation. No, it does not matter that his wife
and three children are American citizens . No, it does
not matter that he came here with his family when he
was only two years old and that he has no memory of
his home country, and cannot speak even a word of its
language. No, he will never be able to come back, even if
a family member is sick and dying. To see the despair on
the faces of these defendants, and their families, makes
me embarrassed to think of the emptiness of my own
notion of despair.
I know, I know, that the law must be respected and
must be upheld. We all took oaths to that end. I certainly
do not suggest that lawyers or judges have, or should
have, a roving commission to re-write our nation's laws
in difficult cases .
But...but, Margy also understands that, after
justice has spoken, humanity must have its turn.
Her understanding and compassion for her clients give
us reason to recall that our profession used to be known
as that of attorneys and counselors-at-law. Margy sees,
better than anyone I know, what happens when the hard
edge of the law collides with the soft tissue of human
circumstance . She brings to mind "Valt Whitman's self-
description of his work as a nurse in the Civil War:
"I do not feel sympathy for the wounded soldier;
I become that soldier."
The award presentation to Margy cannot, though,
end on quite such a somber note . Instead, and because
this evening is for those who practice at the federal bar,
I want to make a historical point. One of the thoughts
I have long entertained, since well before I started law
school, concerns the possibility of our nation's founders
paying a visit to contemporary society, to see how their
handiwork had turned out. Imagine any or all of the 56
men who signed the Declaration of Independence, or
the 39 who signed the Constitution viewing, forexampJe,
the guarantees of the Bill of Rights as reflected in
contemporary practice. I think they would be at least
bewildered by-not dismissive or disapproving of-but
bewildered by what had happened in the name of the
First Amendment. They would not understand radio, TV
or movies, much less text messaging and the Internet.
As to the Second Amendment, they would likewise
be perplexed by the variety and sophistication of the
weapons that are now available . And, with respect to the
Fourth Amendment, the founders would not understand
wire taps, because they would not understand about
telephones. They certainly would not understand Global
Positioning Systems, or heat detection devices .
But then we come to the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh
Amendments, all dealing with one aspect or another of
the right to jury trials, the only right, as Justice Scalia
has pointed out, expressly mentioned in both the
Declaration and the Constitution . I imagine the founders
walking into tbe middle of a jury trial , preferably in
the Southern District, but, if not, anywhere else in our
country. I am convinced that they would understand
immediately and fully what is going on. They would
see an elevated bench, and a judge sitting on it with his
slightly comical costume. They would see 12 citizens,
sworn and true, sitting in the jury box. And they would
see opposing counsel performing that most sacred of
duties - representing the totality of another person's
legal rights in a proceeding tried to a jury of his peers.
The founders would see all of this and say to themselves:
"We did all right; we really did all right. Eleven, twelve
generations later the system we put in place endures
without any material modification."
But, my ultimate fantasy, is that the founders
walk into the middle of a jury trial at which Mike and
Margy are representing their respective clients. The
founders would then say, "We did better than all right .
We did extraordinarily well - we put in place a system
that allows individuals of integrity and brilliance to
flourish . "And, the founders would say to us, "And, how
extraordinarily lucky you are that you had - however
briefly - these two individuals as your colleagues and
your friends."
And, once again, we would conclude that the
founders had gotten it 1 00% right - We are very lucky.
A Public Defender's Office Opinion ______________
Editor's Note: Both of the following are presented without changes to contmt. By David Mitcham
Imagine having a library of testimony from every police
officer and every State expert at your disposal. Imagine
having canned briefs, citing the First and Fourteenth
Courts of Appeals, on virtually every significant criminal
law issue. Imagine all indigent defendants having an
"appella te section" for research on the fly d uri ng trial-
just like the DA's Office. Imagine the chronically mentall y
ill being processed out of the criminal justice system,
and into a medical facility, within days of their arrest.
Most importantly, imagine the indigent defense bar having
a meaningful, institutional voice in the government of our
criminal justice system. Right now the indigent defense bar
is hundreds of isolated voices, scattered across the courts,
and largely without any influence over local justice policy.
A public defender office promises to change all of that.
Detractors say such an office will hurt the defense bar
financially. They say Commissioner's Court will never fund
such an office properly. They say the current appointment
system already works and, therefore, it shouldn' t be changed.
None of this is true .
The establishment of a public defender office is not
going to hurt the defense bar financiall y. The current outline
for a county PD Office would be a pilot program, putting
attorneys in only four of the twenty-two district courts. Even
in those four courts, the public defenders would handle a
minority of the indigent case load and the rest would still be
handled by the wheel. Moreover, the attorneys working for
the public defender office will almost certainly come from
the ranks of the current indigent defense bar. Virtuall y
every case assigned to a public defender will be a case
that the same attorney could have accepted as a private
practitioner. In essence, in the small number of cases
handled by the PD's Office, the net result will be a zero
sum gain to the defense bar at large . Even assuming
the office is successful and grows, it will be many years
before the size significantly affects the private indigent
defense bar. In Dallas, the office has been in existence for
over twenty years and it still handlesless than 50% of the
county's indigent caseload. Cont 'd on page 16
The recent "poll" of the membership suggests that , as
to the question of whether or nOt Commission's Court
should establish a public defender' s office in Harris County,
HCCLA is divided into three roughly equal groups: a third
of the members are for a PD, a third is against a PD, and a
tbird is "undecided." As I am of the opinion that installing a
PD office in Harris County is not a good idea, this opinion
piece is directed toward those lawyers among us who are
"undecided," as well as those who presently believe they are
in favor of a PD, but still have an open mind.
First, consider the recent disturbing media reports that
reveal how PD offices across the nation are in a full blown
financial crisis and appear in large measure to be falling
apart at the seams. Second, the court- appointed system
of indigent defense, with all its faults, is still superior
to a PD system in that it can be improved with reform
measures and is ultimately accountable through the
democratic process. Finally, the collateral consequences
of installing a PD office can be economically devastating
to the independent private criminal defense bar, which
has traditionally functioned as the institutional guardian
of the right to counsel and the fundamental protections
contained in the Constitution and Bill of Rights .
The lead front page story in the Sunday, November 9,
2008 New York Times began with the headline: "Citing
Workload Public Lawyers Reject New Cases-Revolt in
Seven States - Fears That the Quality of Defense for the
Poor is Eroding." The article noted that current state
budget cuts and rapidly rising workloads have pressed
PD offices to the breaking point. The Times reported
that Public Defende rs are "notoriously overworked and
their turnover is high and their pay low," but that now
they are in "open revolt." Lawsuits have sprung up across
seven states wherein lawyers in public defender offices are
suing the state governmental agencies that employ them,
complaining that the sheer volume of cases they are required
to take renders them incapable of ethically effective
assistance of counsel. Cont 'd on page 17
_____________________________ _
  popcdation gmwth,
and the certainty that criminal case filings ",rill rise with the
population, rest assured that the private indigent defense bar
will have tremendous job security ",rith or without a public
defender's office.
Proper funding is also not likely to be a problem in the
foreseeable future and, in any event, a public defender will be
in an improved position to address money issues relating to
indigent defense. Senator Rodney Ellis and the state's Task
Force on Indigent Defense are committed to making sure
the start-up costs of a public defender office are absorbed by
Austin. For the first five years of its existence, the financial
burden on Commissioner's Court would effectively be halved
by an influx of State money specifically directed to a PD
Office. As a result, the current plan for payment parity with the
District Attorney's Office is realistic and likely to be followed .
To be sure, proper hmding and case load management will
require constant vigilance. But that would be true using any
indigent defense system and a unified, internal government
voice, like a public defender, will be in a better position to
lobby Commissioner's Court, Austin and the various other
grant providers for the benefit of the entire indigent defense
bar. The public defender's mission v.ri.ll include improving the
quality of indigent defense throughout the courthouse, nOt
just within the public defender office. Part of that mission
wiJI be to seek proper compensation for all local indigent
representation including the private indigent defense bar.
Lastiy, tile current system is not, and will never be,
good enough to mal(e change obsolete. Change, progress
and experimentation will always be necessary in our justice
system. The proposal being studied by Commissioner's
Court represents noiliing more than an experiment to see
if and how a public defender office might work in Harris
County. Public defender offices are used in every other major
American city and they are generally accepted in otiler legal
communities as essential and hmdamental to quality indigent
defense. There is no evidence that such an office should be
uniquely inapplicable to Harris County. If our community
wants to credibly claim an interest in protecting the rights of
tile indigent accused, we are obliged to at least try what has
worked in so many other jurisdictions. No one is suggesting
we destroy the current appointment system and no one wants
an ineffective public defender office just to have it. The idea
is simply that we try something, on a very limited basis, tilat
might lead to improvements in our justice system.
Our organization, HCCLA, has always been committed
to improving tile quality ofjustice in our community. Through
tilis commitment to justice we have, ever so slowly, developed
credibility and influence on criminal justice issues with local
political stakeholders. Ifwe, as an organization, seek to prevent
a public defender office, these stakeholders v.ri.ll assume our
opposition is motivated by financial paranoia. We will appear
greedy, disinterested in the fate of the indigent accused , and
we ,viLl risk squandering our hard won credibility. Further, I
suspect a public defender office, in some form, already has
the requisite political support and will be enacted with or
witilout our involvement. If true, our opposition to a public
defender office would not only tarnish our reputation as an
advocate for justice, but eliminate our influence over the
office's development. In sum, supporting the creation of a
pilot project public defender office is not onJy the right thing
for our community, it is the right thing for HCCLA.
A 1998 graduate of the University of Houston
Law Center, Mark Hochglaube is an HCCLA
board member and the HCCLA representative to
the Harris County Commissioner' s Court Publi c
Defender study team. He is a solo practitioner with
a 99% indigent appointment practice.
DAVID MITCHAA1, Past President of HCCLA
(1988-1989 ) is a graduate of the University of
Texas School of Law, licensed since 1979 and Board
Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal
Specialization since 1985. A former prosecutor with
the Harris County District Attorney's Office in the
early 1980's, he was also the recipient of HCCLA's
Attorney of the Year Award for hi s "Dedication to the Principals and
Ideas of American Justice" in June 2001.
In a Florida case, it was reported that the Miami-Dade
County PD's office was requiring their attorneys to take on
caseloads of 500 felony cases or 2,225 misdemeanor cases
on an annual basis.
The paper quoted Norman Lefstein, a Law professor at
the University of Indiana and an expert in the field, that in
his opinion, "There should be hundreds" of such lawsuits
by attorneys in PD offices across the nation.
On the individual level, the news story highlighted the
experience of 30-year-old PD attorney Arthur Jones who
"spent a frantic morning in court" handling the cases of 23
felony defendants charged with offenses such as burglary,
drug possession, and grand theft. The paper described his
docket as a "treadmill of frustration." Most of his clients
had never met him prior to their day in court, where their
felonies were to be disposed. And Mr. Jones was paid a salary
of $44,000 a year for his labor as a PD lawyer; not enough
to support his family and pay his education loans. So Mr.
Jones quit his PD job on the following Monday after the
story went into print and headed off into private practice.
Now to all those "undecided" HCCLA Lawyers, I
sincerely ask you, is this the situation that we need to install
here in Harris County? Isn't our long-standing court-
appointed system, with all its admitted imperfections,
substantially better for the clients, the lawyers and Justice
itself than the sorry state of affairs that now exists in PD
offices all across the countr y as was so recently reported in
the New York Times .
I would further argue that the court-appointed system
is superior to the PD system if for no other reason than
because in the court-appointed system there is democratic
accountability. Whatever problems exist in a court-
appointed system they are ultimately judge problems .
The buck stops at the bench and the person in the black robe
is the responsible party. Since we can elect, and un-elect,
our judges here in Texas there is a sure remedy available at
the baltot box for any egregious court-appointed problem.
On the other hand a PD's office is a permanent governmental
bureaucracy that once put in place is not thereafter ever directly
accountable to the voters or the democratic process.
NOW,  WHO  DO  YOU  de e  d? 
Finally, I would ask the "undecided" third of us to
consider that Harris County has long enjoyed a strong
and independent criminal defense bar that has historically
protected the rights of accused individuals. Court-
appointed Ja\vyers are all individuals in private practice.
They do not work for the same government that seeks
to prosecute their accused clients. They are individual
la'vvyers protecting individual rights. To displace and
replace them with government employed attorneys,
answerable to their PD bureaucratic superiors, with their
bureaucratic perspectives and concerns, will, over time,
systematically undermine and erode the criminal bar's
collective commitment to individual liberty.
As to the economic dimension of the controversy,
a PD's office will, by its very nature, be an expanding
governmental entity, ever poised to increase turf in order
to justify greater future budgets for higher raises and
promotions. It will begin by taking over the docket of
court-appointed lawyers and then go on to encroach on
the working class and middle-class clientele of presently
retained counsel. Displaced court-appointed lawyers that
do not enter other fields of law, or go out of business
altogether, wilt flood into the retained market further
depressing legal fees for those attorneys who remain in
private practice. Eventually most retained defense lawyers
will be forced out like their court-appointed brethren
before them. There are many jurisdictions in the country
today where there is no criminal defense bar, like there
is in Harris County, wherein a lawyer can make a living
practicing criminal defense . It is highly instructive that
they call it the "Public Defender's Office" rather than the
"Indigent Defender's Office." For like "Public Education"
or "Public Transportation" the ultimate bureaucratic
vision is to defend "the Public" not just the poor. Now,
who do you defend?
For the above reasons, and for others that time and
space do not here permit recounting, r urge that all
"undecided" HCCLA members investigate the facts,
exercise a skeptical judgment, and reach a reasoned decision
against the establishment of a public defender's office.
v. ) CR. NO. MO 123456
be  continued  for  the 
Now  comes  Robert  Pelton,  counsel  for  Defendant, 
respectfully  request  the  above  styled  case 
following  reasons: 
(Twas  the  week  before  Christmas  and  all  through  the  land; 
The  courts are  all  quiet except  in  Mid-land;  In  all  the  high 
courts  it's  quiet  as  a  mouse;  Judge  Thomas  and  Scalia  are 
both  at  their  house; 
My  grandkids  say  "Paw  Paw  where  will  you  be?" 
"Its  up  to the  Judge,  I'll  just wait and  see"; 
Santa  is  loaded  and  \vaiting  to  go;  When  will  he  leave ... 
I  really  don't know; 
National  security  IS  not  at  stake;  Please,  your  honor, 
Give  us  a  break; 
Since  taking  this  case,  I've  tried  my  best;  Please  give  me, your 
Honor a  much  needed  rest;  \Ve've  been  here  three  times  and 
never  been  late;  Please  re-set  this  case  'til March of '08. 
Respectfully  Submitted, 
Robert  Pelton,  President 
1610  Richmond  Avenue 
Houston, Texas  77006 
713.524.8471  phone 
713.529.2999  fax 
II Sorry, Santa, but our naughty-or-nice 
surveillance  got cut short this  year. II
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Mailing address:
~ Promotes aproductive exchange of ideas and encourages
better communication with prosecutors and the judiciary.
~ Provides continuing legal education programs for improving
advocacy skills and knowledge.
~ Promotes ajust application of the court-appointed lawyer
system for indigent persons charged with criminal offenses.
~ Rles amicus curiae briefs in support of ~ e e   o m and
human rights.
Firm Name:
Date admitted to bar:
Law school:
Professional organizations in which you are a member in good standing:
Type of membership:
o Student ($25 annual fee)
Expected graduation date: ____
o Newly licensed (first year) attorney ($75)
o Regular membership ($150)
Signature of applicant:
I, a member in good standing of HCCLA, believe this applicant
to be a person of professional competency, integrity and good
moral character. The applicant is actively engaged in the defense
of criminal cases.
Signature of member:
Member name:
P.O . Box 924523, Houston, Texas 77292-4523
PROUDlY  \1  R\'I:'\:<.;  AI  IORNI '1'\ IN  1111  SiAl I 01  II XA'"

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