We hold the truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .

Attorney Phil Gommels
Members of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association read the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America Thursday noon July 2, 2015 in front of the Harris County Criminal Courthouse. Nathan Lindstrom Photography ©2015 Nathan Lindstrom

Members of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association read the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America Thursday noon July 2, 2015 in front of the Harris County Criminal Courthouse.
Nathan Lindstrom Photography
©2015 Nathan Lindstrom

On Thursday, July 2, 2015 attorneys representing the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association gathered on the steps of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center to read the Declaration of independence. This was the sixth year of the Independence Day tradition.

In attendance were past presidents of HCCLA, Robert Pelton, David Mitcham, Danny Easterling, Rob Fickman, Mark Bennet, JoAnne Musick (also current president of HCCLA), Chris Tritico, Todd Dupont, and immediate past president Carmen Roe.

Over the years, the tradition has grown. Rob Fickman shared how over a decade ago, he began insisting that portions of the Declaration be read at his annual backyard barbecue. The first year the reading took place on the courthouse steps, only Fickman, local luminaries Stan Schneider and Troy McKinney, and a few others gathered together. This weekend, readings will be held by Texas lawyers all over the world, including 136 of the 254 counties in the state as well as readings at the Golden Gate Bridge and in Iceland.

This ritual is an important part of the role of the HCCLA to “educate and inform the general public.” I’m proud to have taken part, and to serve on the board of directors of this storied organization. I look forward to many more years of this proud tradition.

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