Sunday, December 9, 2007

TRIALS: The Trial Dogs of Travis County 2007

There are some lawyers who deserve to receive special recognition in our business. These are the ones who go to battle in trial, stand on the front line, make the hard decisions (often in an instant), are often reviled by the public, lose sleep, expend immeasureable emotion, and fight for the future of their clients again and again.

These are the lawyers who carry our mantle and regard their profession more as an art than a business. These are the lawyers who represent the clients accused of the most egregious of accusations, most often appointed, and hardly receive their just compensation. Often habitual offenders or others accused of a crime for the first time, their clients place their future in the hands of these Trial Dogs. These are the lawyers who act, not merely talk. These lawyers make the good fight and dedicate their weeks and weekends, often away from their family, to prepare their strategies and game plans. These are the lawyers who make their arguments to real juries, not captive CLE audiences.

What follows is my personal list of those lawyers who made a mark in 2007 for their dedication, effort, and sacrifice. Like 'em or not, they are the Rambos of our flock, in no particular order:

TRIAL DOGS 2007

LEONARD MARTINEZ Nobody can question the sacrifice, dedication, and endurance of Leonard Martinez. Leonard represented over a dozen defendants in trials this year involving Murder, Capital Murder, Injury to a Child, Aggravated Assault, and many others. His pure sacrifice and emotion is a lesson for us all. We should all salute his drive.

TOM WEBER Tom Weber is the toughest criminal defense lawyer in Travis County. Who of us would have reacted in the cool, collected manner after being struck by a client in the middle of trial? This year, with well over a dozen serious Felony trials under his belt, including Sexual Assault, Murder, Burglaries, with some notable not guilty verdicts no less, Tom is the ultimate low-key, soft spoken, results oriented Trial Dog. We owe him our admiration.

RUSS HUNT No lawyer spreads his experience over such a large swath of Central Texas like Russ Hunt. With trials in McClennan, Williamson, and Travis Counties, plus Federal Court, Russ handled accused Murderers and other assorted defendants in 2007. This included a recent hung jury on a Capital Murder case. Russ has dozens upon dozens of trials under his belt, and 2008 is looking like another active year. Touche to another savvy trial dog.

RAY ESPERSEN Year after year Ray handles one of the most diverse and extensive case loads in the criminal justice building. This year, Ray handled well over a dozen trials. In one notable case, his client was acquitted in an Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child case. His case load includes various sexual and violent crimes. As funny as you may think Ray is, he doesn't hesitate to tee it up.

CARLOS BARRERA With a slower year than in the past, Carlos still managed about eight Felony jury trials this year, between Travis and Williamson Counties. Carlos, being on the top court-appointed lists in each county, managed to represent serious Felony cases in both counties with the drive and organization most attorneys can only hope to experience. I take my hat off to him.

HONORABLE MENTION

ADAM REPOSA Whether or not you like his pink shirts or fancy shoes, one thing is for sure: Adam Reposa is not afraid to go to trial. With over a dozen Misdemeanor trials and several not guilty verdicts, Adam is one of those with a unique style, approach, and execution. Whether they work or not is another story. In my opinion, his latest stunt in County Court #6 was a travesty. Love him or hate him, he's not a trial dog anymore.

BILL HINES Nobody in the last 3-5 years has handled as many controversial or factually hopeless cases as Bill. With cases involving novel issues as DWI Murder or sex cases with terrible facts, Bill has pursued these cases with vigor. While 2007 was a break in the action as far as the quantity, he deserves our recognition for his continued dedication and innovation.

THE ELITE

Just because you didn't have the numerous trials as the Trial Dogs, it doesn't mean you are not one of the talented trial lawyers of our county. My list below represents some of the most respected, most notorious, and well-established trial lawyers in Travis and Williamson Counties.

Jim Sawyer
Steve Brittain
Alan Williams
Gerry Morris
Chris Gunter
Joe Turner
Roy Minton
Bob Phillips
David Sheppard

I'm sure I left some folks off the list that deserve to be on it. Please make some comments if you think I'm wrong or you would add somebody. On to 2008!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that there are a few lawyers on your list who are consistently eager to go to trial, but who frequently do so when it's not in the best interest of their clients. Good lawyers go to trial when doing so is honestly in the best interest of their clients, but there are lawyers on your list who lose objectivity and recommend going to trial when a plea bargain is undoubtedly in their clients' best interest (this may be out of professional ego, personal antagonism toward prosecutors, or an inability to remain objective after developing a personal relationship with their clients). There ARE some good trial lawyers on your list, but an eagerness to go to trial does not always make for a good lawyer.