Washington, DC (August 11, 2009) – Cynthia Hujar Orr of San Antonio, Tex., was sworn in as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at its 51st Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 8.
Orr has served on the Association’s Executive Committee, previously holding the offices of President-Elect, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and as a member of the Board of Directors. She has chaired NACDL’s Membership, Internet, Public Affairs, Death Penalty, and History Committees. She was also a member of the Amicus Curiae and Lawyers Assistance Strike Force Committees.
Her first year in practice, Orr was counsel on the amicus brief in CNN vs. General Manuel Noriega before the United States Supreme Court where she successfully defended this unpopular defendant’s attorney-client privilege. She obtained the first confession of error by the State of Texas in a death penalty case.
In 2003-04, she was president of NACDL’s state affiliate, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA), is a member of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Criminal Justice Council and on the ABA Task Force rewriting the Standards for Prosecution and Defense Functions. She also served on the ABA Ad Hoc Innocence Committee which published Achieving Justice: Freeing the Innocent, Convicting the Guilty. For the last two years, she has authored the Annual Report on the Criminal Justice System for the ABA Defense Function Committee entitled The State of Criminal Justice. Orr’s accolades include induction into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame. She is listed in Best Lawyers in America and is one of Texas Monthly’s “Texas Super Lawyers” and “San Antonio’s Best Lawyers,” featured in Scene in SA Monthly. In addition, Orr has been designated, both in 2008 and 2009, as one of the Best 100 Trial Lawyers in Texas by the American Trial Lawyers Association.
Orr helped establish the Women’s Opportunities Week and the San Antonio Minority Business Accelerator for the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, where she sits on the Board of Directors. Orr is also a member of Rotary International and a co-founder of the Texas Innocence Network.
A 1979 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and 1988 graduate of St. Mary’s University Law School, Orr began her career clerking for Fifth Circuit Judge Emilio Garza when he sat on the U.S. District Court bench in San Antonio, Tex. Judge Garza traveled to Boston to swear in Orr as President of NACDL on Aug. 8.
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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 justice system.