Washington, DC (August 17, 2010) – Houston attorney Jim E. Lavine was sworn in as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the association’s 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ont., on Aug. 14.
A former prosecutor in Chicago, Ill., and Houston, Tex., Mr. Lavine is a criminal defense lawyer with extensive trial and appellate level experience in federal and state courts.
In his inaugural remarks, Mr. Lavine challenged the defense bar to support judicial independence, noting that “debasing attacks upon judges directly undermine judicial independence.” Explaining that in an era in which money is increasingly influencing judicial elections, often to the detriment of fairness in the criminal justice system, Mr. Lavine said, “the organized criminal defense bar has a special responsibility to defend the judiciary.”
Mr. Lavine also called for a return to the fundamental rights guaranteed in our Bill of Rights and for a more open and fair approach by the government to the criminal justice process. Observing that “far too much injustice results from prosecutorial abuse of its responsibility,” he noted that “it is a matter of fundamental fairness” that evidence of innocence must be promptly and fully disclosed to the accused.
Mr. Lavine also pledged vigorous protection of the Fourth Amendment, cautioning that “advancing technologies and an obsession with national security pose a grave threat to privacy and liberty.”
In 2007, Jim Lavine received the Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award, NACDL’s most prestigious honor, given annually to the one criminal defense lawyer who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession. In 2006, Mr. Lavine was the Percy Foreman Lawyer of the Year, awarded by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, as well as the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association 2006 Attorney of the Year. He graduated from Williams College and the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago Kent College of Law. Mr. Lavine is admitted to practice in both Texas and Illinois.
Attached is a photo of NACDL President Jim E. Lavine. The photographer credit is Dupont Photographers.
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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.