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August 2003 , Page 04 

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NACDL News: Past-President Charles Tessmer dies at 83

By Daniel Dodson

Read more NACDL News columns.

Some say Charlie Tessmer never quite had the reputation of an F. Lee Bailey or a Racehorse Haynes because he never had a case of national significance (he turned down a chance to represent Jack Ruby). But more than one observer who saw them all said Charlie was the best.  

In a career of more than 50 years, Mr. Tessmer tried more than 175 death penalty cases; not one resulted in an execution. The headline in his Dallas Morning News obituary: “Lawyer ‘understood what criminal defense is about.’” 

Mr. Tessmer successfully reversed two convictions in the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a charter member and board member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and was inducted into the TCDLA Hall of Fame  in 1988. He served in England as a U.S. Army lieutenant during World War II, where he developed an interest in criminal law attending court sessions at the Old Bailey in London.

He published three books:Criminal Trial Strategy, The Price of Innocence, and The Tessmer Trial Book. 

Mr. Tes

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