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Brent Mayer - Litigating Bail

What procedures are our clients entitled to when the court considers setting bail, bail revocation, or denial of bail? How can we best advocate for our client's liberty in our bail arguments? How can we challenge substantively unreasonable or procedurally defective bail decisions?

Brent Mayr is a Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney and Managing Shareholder of Mayr Law P.C. He has received numerous awards recognizing his trial advocacy and has many years of experience trying cases in state and federal courts. Mr. Mayr is currently litigating procedural issues regarding bail in the Court of Appeals. Join us for a presentation and discussion on this critical component of every criminal case.

Porscha Brown - Discovery/Pre-trial Motions

This presentation will address the art of being system disruptors with the use of motions practice to better fight for clients. We will learn how to add specific language to motions to place obligations on the State for the benefit of our clients, boosting existing motions, and implementing filed objections and orders for better performance and increased results for clients. In addition, we will discuss the use of visual aids as a tool in motions practice and see demonstrations of how to use these visual aids.

Porscha Brown is a full time Assistant Public Defender at the Harris County Public Defender’s Office. She specializes in creative and zealous client centered representation. She is a graduate of the Gideon’s Promise Core Public Defender Training Program.

Angelo Petrigh - Plea Negotiations

Our work requires a thoughtful approach to the art and skill of negotiating. This session will focus on how to prepare for and execute theory-driven negotiations that can secure favorable outcomes for our clients.

Angelo Petrigh is the Training Director at the Bronx Defenders, a holistic defense organization in New York City.

Norm Silverman - Evidence Suppression

Mr. Silverman will be discussing techniques on how to properly litigate suppression issues. 

Norman Silverman from Silverman Law Group has been practicing criminal defense law in private practice for over 25 years.  He practices is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney and has been successful in suppressing evidence in numerous cases. 

Mac Secrest - Caselaw Update

The purpose of this presentation is to provide attendees with the decisions from this term of the Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mac Secrest is a partner in the law firm of Bennett & Secrest where he specializes in criminal defense.  He is board certified in appellate and criminal law.  He is an Adjunct Professor of the Texas Criminal Procedure at the University of Houston Law Center.  Mr. Secrest is the author of the O’Connor’s Texas Criminal Codes.  I 1995-1996, he was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee to revise the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure for the Office of the Governor.  Since 1997, he has consistently been listed in The Best Lawyers in America.  The Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar of Texas honored him as the 1998 Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year.  The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association selected him as the 2007 Lawyer of the Year and awarded him the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.   In 2019, Mac was inducted into the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Hall of Fame. 

Tolu Nelms & Damon Parrish - Paper v. Electronic Trial Notebook

Damon and Tolu will present on keeping and maintaining case files both the paper method and the electronic methods. As well as trial binders using both methods and comparing the two.

Damon Parrish II has made it his life's work to focus on the representation of the indigent person in criminal matters, especially those with mental health issues. Damon is a full time Assistant Public Defender with the Harris County Public Defender's Office duties include: litigating serious, violent or aggravated felonies, supervising a team of fellow felony division public defenders and serving on various mental health related county committees.   Damon  is a  member of various professional organizations and associations including: Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, National Association of Public Defenders and National Association of Black Public Defenders, and has spoken at numerous legal functions, churches and social events on criminal legal issues affecting the community.  Damon has a B.S., Computer Science & B.A., Mass Media from Houston Baptist University and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence (JD) from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

Tolu Nelms is a full time Assistant Public Defender with the Harris County Public Defender’s office where she serves as senior litigation counsel supervising a team of fellow felony division public defenders. Tolu is a veteran of many criminal trials, having tried cases as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. Tolu has presented previously for the National Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, most recently on the topic of jury selection in sexual assault cases in February 2022.

JV Vela - Power Points for Voir Dire

Julio Vela will share his tips and tricks about how to make an effective PowerPoint presentation for use during voir dire.

Julio Vela has been licensed to practice law since 2009. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, attended the University of Texas at Austin, went to South Texas College of Law, and received his LLM from the University of Houston. J. Julio Vela practices law with his two brothers, Jonathan Julio Vela, and Jacob Julio Vela. He is a four-time elected board member for the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (HCCLA), and hosts HCCLA’s weekly television show, Reasonable Doubt. J. Julio Vela has 1st chaired over 100 criminal County and District Court cases to verdict, is approved for appointment to death penalty cases as 1st chair, and is HCCLA’s 2022 Lawyer of the Year recipient. J. Julio Vela is married to Kim Lee Vela. Together they have four children – Lincoln Lee, Cruz Young, Zachary Julio, and July Ruth Vela.

Collette Tvedt - Evidence & Foundations-Challenge with Courage

Ms. Tvedt will be speaking on how to introduce evidence using the proper foundation and how to object inadmissible evidence based in the rules of evidence.

The Law Firm of Colette Tvedt is a nationally renowned and award-winning criminal defense lawyer who has been defense counsel at over 250 trials in both state and federal court.  Ms. Tvedt was the Public Defense Training and Reform Director for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and has helped train more than 2,000 defense attorneys.  

Derrick Hollingsworth - Tactics and Techniques for Cross- Examination

Mr. Hollingsworth will spend 50 minutes exploring the topic of cross examination.  How to begin preparing for cross examination as soon as a case comes in.  What can be done to investigate, subpoena and discover information and ammunition for an effective cross -examination.  He will explore a variety of cross examination techniques/tactics including:  listening, leading, impeaching, controlling the witness and the narrative.

Derek Hollingsworth is well known to the Houston Bar.  After graduating number 1 from Baylor School of Law he clerked for the Honorable Priscilla R. Owen.  After starting his career working for a large national law firm, he joined the Harris County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. From there he was scooped up by Rusty Hardin and worked with him for 16 years before forming his own partnership, Drumheller Hollingsworh & Monthy in 2018.  Derek has extensive experience in handling both Civil and Criminal Trial Matters.

Bill Stradley - The Grievance Process: What Criminal Defense Lawyers Should Know

Bill will offer suggestions on how to avoid being grieved, how criminal practitioners may protect themselves, how to respond if grieved and what to expect from the grievance process.  He will also explore common pitfalls faced by the Criminal Defense Lawyer.

William “Bill” Stradley has been practicing criminal law in Houston for over 30 years and in 1997 he became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He started his career at the Harris County District Attorney’s office in 1990 before beginning his criminal defense practice in 1995. He is a frequent speaker on Texas criminal defense issues and enjoys collaborating with other lawyers and helping them try cases.  Bill served for 6 years on a Region 4 Grievance Committee panel until 2020, which included 3 years as panel chairperson.