News Release

Austin, TX Attorney E. G. Morris Receives Prestigious 2022 Heeney Award from Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Aug. 17, 2022) – Attorney E. G. “Gerry” Morris of Austin, TX received the Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, FL on August 13. The Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award is given annually to the criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession.

“Gerry’s calm, steady, and reliable voice has guided us for years, as has his fighting East Texas spirit,” said NACDL Immediate Past President MartĂ­n Sabelli. “Gerry quietly inspires demanding attention by speaking truth directly without mincing words. He leads through example, always responding to the call to defend the underdog. Gerry exemplifies the spirit of NACDL and has served NACDL faithfully, reliably, and strategically, including his work to lay the foundation for our celebrated Fourth Amendment Center. I have learned a great deal from his leadership as have many of our colleagues and I look forward to his future contributions to our organization and our profession. No one is more deserving of this honor.”

Morris is an NACDL Past President and sole practitioner in Austin, Texas. He has practiced in the field of criminal defense, both state and federal, almost exclusively for 44 years. He focuses primarily on trial work but also handles appeals and other post judgment relief. He is certified as a criminal law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His trial work has included cases ranging from driving while intoxicated cases, to complex federal trials, to capital murder. He has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine every year since that recognition began in 2003. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America every year since 1995 and was honored in 2012 by that publication as Best Lawyer in the field of non white collar criminal defense in the Austin Area. He has earned an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He has also been honored by the National Trial Lawyers as among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the South Texas region. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.

“I have this need,” said Morris. “When I see somebody who the power of the state is focused on, and they are about to take him or her away from their family, deprive them of their liberty, my reaction is to fight. I don’t know where that comes from, but it’s there. And I get nuts. And I won’t apologize for it…And when I walk into court and I see a prosecutor with glee in their eyes hoping to add my client to their resume, to their bragging points, it’s almost uncontrollable.”

Morris is a Past President of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, an affiliate of NACDL with approximately 3,000 members. He also served in leadership positions in his local criminal defense bar, having been Presiding Director of the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and Chair of the Criminal Law Section of the Austin Bar Association. He has served as a member of the State Bar of Texas Criminal Justice Committee and as a member of the State Bar of Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges Committee.

He has served on the NACDL Board of Directors for thirteen years, beginning as an Affiliate Representative, then as a two-term elected Board Member, as Parliamentarian for one term and for the last four years as an officer. He has held the position of Secretary, Treasurer, Second Vice President, First Vice President, President Elect, and President. His other NACDL activities have included service on numerous committees and task forces. Gerry served a term as Chair of the Discovery Reform Committee and a term as Co-Chair of the Council of Affiliates. He is a member of the Indigent Defense Committee and has in the past served three terms as Co-Chair. As Co-Chair he oversaw generally the activities of the committee including NACDL’s litigation efforts. He was especially involved in the Misdemeanor Project and served as NACDL’s spokesperson in Texas for the project report. For the past two years he has served as Co-Chair of the Fourth Amendment Advocacy Committee. Other committee memberships have included the Budget, Audit, and Nominating Committees. As Treasurer he was Chair of the Budget Committee. He was also a member of the Financial Planning Task Force.

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Contacts

Jessie Diamond, Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7647 or jdiamond@nacdl.org

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.