News Release

Fort Worth, TX Attorney Michael P. Heiskell Sworn In as President Elect of Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Aug. 15, 2022) — Michael P. Heiskell was sworn in as President Elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's annual meeting in Palm Beach, FL.

As a former state and federal prosecutor and the owner of the firm Johnson Vaughn & Heiskell in Fort Worth, TX, Heiskell focuses on criminal defense, primarily white collar. He is Past President of the Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA), becoming the first African American to separately hold both posts. He is currently serving a three-year term on the Baylor University Board of Regents.

Heiskell is a Life Member of NACDL and serves on the Audit, Budget, Executive, Strategic Litigation, and White Collar Committees and is the 5th Circuit Representative of the Lawyers Assistance Strike Force and Vice President of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice Board of Trustees. He also served as Co-Chair of NACDL’s annual Race Matters conference and has presented CLE courses on a variety of topics to NACDL, TCDLA, and many other specialty bars at the state and national levels.

Heiskell has received numerous honors in recognition of his work, including the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Tarrant County Black Bar Association on two separate occasions, as well as the Presidential Award of Excellence from TCDLA in 1994, 1995, and 2003. He was elected to the TCDLA Hall of Fame in 2015 based upon his extensive proven trial skills, legal acumen, and service to the profession. He currently serves on TCDLA's Legislative Committee, where he has supported lobbying efforts pushing back against proposed harsh reforms of the bail system and discovery process. Heiskell is also the 2020 recipient of the Blackstone Award, which is the highest honor bestowed upon a member of the Tarrant County Bar Association in recognition of a legal career that exemplifies professional aptitude, integrity, and courage.

Heiskell is a Navarro College graduate and received his B.A. and J.D. from Baylor University.

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Jessie Diamond, Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7647 or

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.