"To promote fairness and justice through membership education, services and support, public outreach, and a commitment to quality representation for all.”
- GACDL Mission Statement
Saleem "Sam" D. Dennis -
"I have lived my life, and I have fought my battles, not against the weak and the poor--anybody can do that--but against power, against injustice, against oppression, and I have asked no odds from them, and I never shall."
--Clarence S. Darrow, ATTORNEY FOR THE DAMNED 491, 497 (Arthur Weinberg ed. 1957)
Like Darrow, the criminal defense lawyer fights daily to nurture, encourage, and support the moral calling of defending those accused by the government. He/she fulfills his/her obligation to our society by defending those the government chooses to attack. The Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is a group of men and women who pledge every day to devote their careers to those ideals. I am honored and humbled to serve as President of GACDL for a second year. In my 20-year legal career, this organization has, without a doubt, meant more to me than any organization of which I have been or am currently a member.
Our Constitution guarantees the citizenry of this country the assistance of counsel when accused by the government. This magnifies the important role criminal defense lawyers serve within our criminal justice system. GACDL is the largest member-run organization of its type in the country. Its membership is an assembly of modern day Clarence Darrows, always fighting their battles in favor of the weak, the poor, and those under attack by our government. Our members demand daily that fairness rule, that justice be served, and that we as a society treat each other with civility. We tirelessly fight to ensure that the ideals guaranteed in the United States Constitution and the Georgia Constitution are enforced by our criminal justice system.
The Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers plays a fundamental role in the support of our members, in lobbying for fairness and sensibility within legislation, and in training our members on how to best serve those clients in need. Every criminal defense lawyer in this state is served by our efforts. Our efforts are the epitome and the apex of being a lawyer. We protect each other, sincerely and fiercely, from corrupt and overreaching power.
We also serve the state of Georgia and its citizens with a tremendous passion. We fight tenaciously for all freedoms, great and small, and for all people, no matter how routine or unique the situation may be. We are loathed by the ignorant and the misinformed. Despite this, we adhere to our principles and beliefs as we fight for freedom, for justice, and for the rights of the citizens of the State of Georgia.
As President of GACDL, I am hopeful and excited about our future. I envision forging a long range strategic plan with many of our organization’s key members, calling on the time and talent of those lawyers that have spent their lives defending people. I believe we can plan for a future with new headquarters that includes space for meetings within our organization. It would house all staffing positions, and multiple full time lobbyists to help prevent unfair and unconstitutional legislation. It would archive important pieces of GACDL history, and will include a mock courtroom and third-year legal clinic to ensure GACDL’s future.
I am deeply honored to serve as president again this year and am excited and energized about the agenda we have planned. If you practice criminal defense law in Georgia, whether a public defender or a private lawyer, please join us!
- Saleem "Sam" D. Dennis, GACDL President
Largest Member Only Supported Statewide Criminal Defense Association in the United States
Since 1974, the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) has been the most important organization for lawyers involved in the defense of the accused in the State of Georgia. In fact, GACDL is the largest member supported statewide criminal defense association in the United States.
Over 1800 Members Safeguarding the Constitution
GACDL is comprised of criminal defense lawyers, law school students, and full time criminal defense investigators who stand together in the commitment to safeguard the constitutional guarantees of fairness in the criminal justice process.
GACDL makes its voice for fair and effective criminal justice heard in the courts, the legislature, and the community.