Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An Open Letter

To all my past, present and future clients, and for anyone who is curious:

If you ever wanted a nutshell version of "DWI at Night, Coffey in the Morning" here you are straight from the source. I have practiced law for 19 years. This defines who I am. At the age of 12, my father encouraged me to be a lawyer after helping me write and practice a Student Council Treasurer campaign speech (I ended the speech, "Vote Me Me for You You" and won, so it's true I come by my marketing quite honestly).

In my wildest dreams, I never could have fathomed how much injustice there was in the world of criminal law, particularly DWI. As a new lawyer, I heard about the National College of DUI Defense or NCDD (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year) training held at Harvard every July. I went to it and my world was lit on fire.

It was shocking to find out how inaccurate breath testing was; how the National Highway Safety Administration skewed statistics and conducted experiments that don't meet scientific parameters in developing the standardized field sobriety tests which every year falsely convicts so many people. Also, how forensics did not include the reporting of uncertainty (just now coming to light but still not mandated for breath testing) among other glaring red flags despite people's liberties and lives at stake.

I delved into research, publishing, speaking, and became board certified all in an attempt to learn and help as many people as I could, including lawyers. The NCDD asked me 3 years ago to become Regent. This is an unpaid, serious 13 year commitment that involves a mandatory 4 seminars every year. On top of this, there are mandatory Board meetings, workshops, and other pressing time commitments. I accepted this position without flinching. I have sacrificed many family vacations (being a busy trial lawyer these commitments take up the majority of my free time I have every year), time away from my family, and important events and dates in my personal life to carry out this commitment for a full 13 year term. When I accepted, my oldest was going off to college and my youngest was in the 5th grade. Sure, it is painful missing college events and sacrificing family vacations as they age in critical years, but it is an honor to be able to effect change for the betterment of humanity. It allows me to help others positively (outside my own clients) across the country.

Since becoming a Regent, I started a forensics committee. We have plans to send a metrology expert on mathematical uncertainty to the National Forensic Commission committee hearings so that the public interest can be represented. I hope one day to see breath testing reported in uncertainty units. I am proud of all the work I am able to accomplish with and through the NCDD for the greater good of our country when it comes to fairness. We not only put on excellent educational seminars for lawyers, but we hold numerous training sessions for public defenders across the country at no cost to them. This is an important necessity as most public defenders offices have deficient budgets. I have taken it upon myself to show appreciation and inspire my fellow defense lawyer colleagues by showcasing special and accomplished members with a "Member in the Spotlight" segment sent out to all 1500+ of our membership, as well as to educate the public on what leaders DWI defense lawyers are in their communities. In addition, I take great pride in educating our members and the public on justice related issues through my blogs (both NCDD and otherwise) and social media. This influences prosecutors, judges, jurors, and voters all for the betterment of humanity as we seek justice for all.

This defines me. Not just my words, not my marketing, not my certifications or education, but what I do. Just as our fellow Americans sacrificed family and their personal lives to fight for the founding of our country and serve in important positions as Founding Fathers. I view it as an honor to give and sacrifice with my talents to keep their vision of fairness and constitutional protections alive. Whatever contributions I can give, I view it as my duty to do so and practice doing so. My four children and family understand. How can I expect them to give their best and make the world a better place if I don't sacrifice? So sacrifice I do! It is a very good word to describe me.

So the next time, you drive by my billboard or hear some crazy rumor that is normally a product of someones jealousies or inadequacies, just look at my work. I was chosen a Regent because the leadership of NCDD and its Founders saw the truth, I work hard, and sacrifice to do the right things. You can't get to my position unless you have earned it the good old fashioned way. You can't stay at my level unless you are made of the right stuff. You can't effect change unless you are a leader. Thank you NCDD for choosing me to lead and lead I shall.

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