Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley and Orr are excited to announce that Cynthia Orr, one of our esteemed named partners, has been elected as an officer to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (NACDL) Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ). Cynthia, who is also the Vice President for the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law and who is a former President of the NACDL, was elected as Secretary of the NFCJ.
“I am thrilled to hold such an important position with the Foundation that has a long successful history with criminal justice reform,” said Cynthia about her election.
The NFCJ was founded to preserve and promote the core values of the criminal justice system and the NACDL. The NFCJ has launched several projects in furtherance of this objective including conducting a large-scale study on obstacles to restoration of rights and status after a person has been convicted. The Foundation also throws events and offers free trainings for lawyers on various criminal justice topics including representing juveniles and addressing immigration consequences of a conviction.
The NFCJ has made efforts to improve the quality of defense for indigent individuals in both federal and state court and has held conferences to address racial disparities in the court system.
The Foundation is certainly not content to rest on its laurels and is always looking for new strategies to effectively enact criminal justice reforms. In fact, nearly all of 2017 was spent developing a new plan to identify inequities in the justice system, such as systemic racism, and tackling these issues. This plan includes ensuring the protection of the constitutional rights of defendants across the country by arming the nation’s criminal defense bar with the tools and resources necessary.
The election of Cynthia and the other officers is the first step in implementing this bold new strategy. Regarding the NFCJ Cynthia said:
“The NFCJ does not shy away from the tough issues like mass incarceration collateral consequences, systemic racism and sexism and over-criminalization.”
Cynthia has been a distinguished Texas criminal defense attorney for three decades with notable victories such as the first confession of error by the State of Texas for a death penalty case in Miguel Angel Martinez v. Gary Johnson. She also was part of the defense team that freed an innocent man, Michael Morton, for the murder of his wife. Cynthia also secured the release and the compensation for the exoneree Hannah Overton. In 2014, Orr received the Robert J. Heeney Memorial Award for her work in criminal justice reform, the highest honor bestowed by the NACDL. Now as the Secretary, and former Board of Trustees member of the NFCJ, Cynthia is ready to further the cause:
“I would encourage all who desire to improve our criminal justice system to support the foundation and its work. I plan to spread the word about how much NFCJ accomplishes and its impeccable reputation for accountability for the monies it receives.“