Position Seeking: Secretary
Diversity is the hallmark of NACDL. Whether you are defending one of the one million African-Americans presently incarcerated, one of the one million Hispanic Americans in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, one of the many businesspersons subject to the recent surge of wire taps in the Southern District of New York, one of the eight million adult LGBT Americans, or one of the millions of citizens living in poverty…NACDL has the responsibility to educate, legislate, and advocate for you. NACDL needs leaders well versed in a broad spectrum of legal issues, and who are familiar with the daily issues confronting our diverse membership. I believe that I am such a leader and seek your vote for Secretary.
I began practicing thirty years ago as an Assistant Public Defender. As a public defender, I was at the forefront of developing the Battered Women Syndrome defense. Nationally, I was the first attorney to successfully employ that defense based exclusively on verbal abuse. After entering private practice in 1987, I continued defending women charged with murder. For my efforts, GACDL awarded me their Indigent Defense Award. My practice is exclusively federal and state criminal defense and I try cases ranging from matters involving complex white collar allegations to misdemeanors. As examples, last year I represented a Palestinian-American in trial who was charged with violating the Iranian embargo and secured the acquittal of a Georgia county’s first elected African-American sheriff charged with public corruption; the case being the result of an investigation with racist motivations. Following the trial, I received the NAACP Civil and Human Rights Award, a letter of accommodation and Georgia’s House of Representatives Resolution sponsored by the Legislative Black Caucus of Georgia.
In 1989, I became an NCDC faculty member where I have continued to teach. I have spoken at CLE’s in thirty-five states on issues as far ranging as “Cross Examination of the Homicide Detective” to “Federal Sentencing Guideline Issues in Mortgage Fraud Cases”. I have practiced in more than a dozen states. As a result, I have developed friendships with many of you around the country and learned the issues unique to your practices. I am an NACDL Life Member, having joined in 1988. I am presently serving my fifth term on the Board of Directors. My commitment to our organization has been unwavering and has included serving as Chairman of the Forensic Evidence Committee, Chairman of the Membership Committee, Advisor for the National Clearing House for Science Technology and the Law, co-author for the D.O.J. Research Report, Crime Scene Investigation, a Guide for Law Enforcement, NACDL’s National Forensics Litigation College Advisory Board, and presently as Chairman of the Forensic Sciences Committee.
If elected to the Executive Committee, I plan on immediately pursuing several initiatives. First, I plan on following through on former President Lisa Wayne’s mission to educate public defenders throughout the country that are unable to travel to NACDL meetings and provide them complimentary CLE programs. Second, I am concerned for our colleagues who may feel the pressure of our practice, and who are encountering addiction and/or mental health issues, including suicide. At present, the ABA is studying these issues and I believe NACDL should lead the effort. Lastly, it is time we create alliances with organizations such as the National Bar Association, National Clearing House for the Defense of Battered Women, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. Such alliances will give us not only the chance to grow our membership, but assist in educating us on the unique needs of our members and their clients.
Thank you for considering me for the position of Secretary.