Dear Criminal Justice Section members:
I am honored to serve as the 2020-2021 chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar of Texas. It is hard to believe that I have been licensed for 27 years. It’s even harder to believe that for the first 21 years, I did not participate in any State Bar activities, boards or committees. I felt as though the State Bar was not interested in me or any other criminal defense attorneys, so why participate? How wrong I was.
In the five years that I have been a member of the Criminal Justice Section, I have met so many great attorneys and judges that I now call friends. I have enjoyed working with my new CJS friends, be they defense attorneys, prosecutors, or judges for the betterment of the criminal justice system in Texas. There is no doubt that if I had it to do over again, I would get involved with the State Bar as a whole and CJS in particular, much earlier in my career.
I am incredibly grateful to Pat Metze, who introduced me to the Criminal Justice Section as he was rotating off the CJS board. I have had the opportunity to watch and learn from the past Chairs, including Christy Jack, Judge Sid Harle, Kenda Culpepper, and Jack Strickland. I hope to work with our current council members to continue providing training, resources, camaraderie, and mentorship that benefits defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges.
CJS has made it a point to enhance membership benefits in recent years and I wish to continue that trend. We provided masks to our 3,500 members last month to do our part in keeping members safe as they continued to work through the pandemic. We also provided $15,000 in scholarships for CLE trainings. The CJS is in the process of scheduling a regional CLE in Waco for the Spring of 2021, as well as providing more CLE at the 2021 State Bar Annual Meeting.
Let me close by saying I am excited and humbled to serve as your section chair and I invite you to renew your membership and invite a friend to do the same. You may do so by going to the Criminal Justice Section website or by clicking on this link.
Dwight McDonald, Chair
Criminal Justice Section
State Bar of Texas