The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, or TCDLA, inducted three members into its hall of fame and named the Percy Foreman Lawyers of the Year and Charlie Butts Pro Bono Award winner at the 31st Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course on June 21-23 in San Antonio.
Daniel Hurley, of Lubbock, Frank Jackson, of Dallas, and Martin Underwood, of Comstock, will be inducted into the TCDLA Hall of Fame. Inductee Hurley is a former president and director of the Texas Criminal Defense Association. He was an assistant district attorney of Lubbock County for two year before entering private practice. Hurley is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and was named TCDLA’s Lawyer of the Year in 2015. Jackson served on the TCDLA and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers boards of directors. He is a fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Underwood practiced law from his home in Comstock and gained repute for cases involving the Fourth Amendment and establishing the right of an indigent defendant to expert assistance.
F. Clinton Broden, of Dallas, and Casie L. Gotro, of Houston, were selected as the Percy Foreman Lawyers of the Year based on their representation in the Twin Peaks litigation, which arose from the May 17, 2015, gunfight at the Twin Peaks in Waco that left nine dead and more than 20 injured.
Broden has overturned two gag orders, initiated a court of inquiry, recused two different district judges, and obtained affidavits from former members of law enforcement and assistant district attorneys alleging corruption in McLennan County. Broden successfully recused the district attorney’s office from his client’s case and then obtained a dismissal for his client from special prosecutors based on a lack of probable cause to arrest. His work led the way for a number of recusals, dismissals, and civil suits. Of the 177 people arrested in the aftermath of the Twin Peaks shooting, all but a handful cases have been dismissed and/or declined.
Gotro is the only defense attorney to take a Twin Peaks case to trial thus far. The case resulted in a mistrial after two days of jury deliberation resulted in a deadlock in favor of acquittal. During the case, Gotro discovered repeated instances of the district attorney withholding evidence favorable to her client, including untested ballistic evidence stored under other cause numbers, and an assistant attorney general admitting that the district attorney was withholding evidence. Forbidden to speak during jury selection, under a penalty of contempt, Gotro handwrote a motion to recuse the judge and served him. After successfully recusing the judge, her cross-examination of witnesses revealed more evidence that had been withheld by the district attorney’s office.
Roger M. Nichols, a solo practitioner in Austin, who began a statewide practice representing clients before the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, is the Charlie Butts Pro Bono Award winner. He is the only attorney in the state—now representing parolees—who has worked as counsel to the board in the past. Of note this past year, Nichols provided pro bono work for Edward Ates, an Innocence Project of Texas client, who was paroled after 20 years.
Also during the course, Mark S. Snodgrass, of Lubbock, will be installed as president of TCDLA, and Clay B. Steadman, of Kerrville, will be installed as chairman of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Educational Institute as well as the Criminal Defense Project.
The Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course is named for the late Judge M.P. “Rusty” Duncan of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.