Criminal law: Bylaws | The American Association For Justice

Criminal law: Bylaws

ARTICLE I

Name and Purpose

Section 1. The name of this Section shall be the Criminal Law Section of the American Association for Justice (AAJ).

Section 2. The Section's focus shall be on issues of criminal law of interest to AAJ's members.  The Section's purpose shall include education and assistance to AAJ members through high quality criminal law educational programs.  Its mission shall include assisting AAJ in preserving and defending the rights of the accused.  The Section shall also engage in other functions and activities intended to facilitate and promote cooperation and exchange of information and ideas regarding criminal law practice among all lawyers within AAJ. 

Section 3. The Policies and Procedures published by AAJ for Litigation Groups and Sections as promulgated on December 19, 1990 and as duly amended by AAJ are incorporated herein by reference and the Section shall operate in full conformity with these policies and procedures.

Section 4. This Section will promote continued good relations between AAJ and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and dual membership between these two organizations.

ARTICLE II
Membership

Section 1. Every member of AAJ, including paralegals and law students, shall be eligible for membership in the Criminal Law Section.

Section 2. Every member of AAJ in good standing shall, upon making application and paying the applicable dues, be made a member of the Criminal Law Section.  Public Defenders and law students may join the Section by paying a reduced dues amount determined by the Section’s Executive Council.

Section 3. The amount of Section membership dues may be increased only by a majority vote of the officers and Executive Committee.

ARTICLE III
Officers

Section 1. The officers of this Section shall be a Chair, a Chair-Elect, a Vice-Chair, and a Secretary-Treasurer.

Section 2. The officers shall be nominated and elected in the manner hereinafter provided at such annual meeting of the Section to hold office for the term of one year and until their successors shall have been elected at the Section's meeting at the AAJ Annual Convention.

Section 3. No Chair of this Section shall succeed beyond a one-year term and shall not thereafter serve as Chair until at least two years have expired since his/her last one-year term as Chair.

ARTICLE IV
Executive Committee

Section 1. The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers of the Section, the immediate past-Chair and seven (7) Section members appointed by the Chair.  These members may include the Chairs of the Section's committees.  The Chair of the Section shall be the Chair of the Executive Committee but shall only have one vote on the Executive Committee.

Section 2. The Executive Committee shall carry out any functions delegated to it by these bylaws and by the Chair.

Section 3. The Executive Committee shall have the power to change membership dues as necessary for the operation of the Section and the furtherance of its goals, subject to the approval of the AAJ Board of Governors and in accordance with the AAJ budget procedures; to authorize any expenditure of Section funds; upon prior approval of AAJ's Board of Governors, to approve any public statement to be made in the name of the Section on any subject; to create or abolish committees; to remove any officer, committee chair or Section member upon a 2/3 vote of the entire membership of the Executive Committee; and to carry out such other functions as are necessary for the fair and efficient operation of the Section.

Section 4.  The majority of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at meetings thereof.  Because of distances which may be involved, the voting of the Executive Committee, other than at the Annual Meeting, may be in person or by conference telephone call.  Such conference telephone call votes will be recorded by the Secretary and duly entered upon the minutes, with a copy of such minutes being sent to the Executive Committee.  Unless otherwise specified in these bylaws, the Executive Committee shall act upon the majority vote of the members present at a duly authorized meeting.  The Executive Committee shall meet at least once each year prior to the annual meeting of the Section and during the Annual Convention of AAJ.

ARTICLE V
Committees

Section 1. The Criminal Law Section may maintain such committees as the Chair may deem necessary or desirable to promote the purposes of the Section.  The Chair shall appoint committee chairs and the members of all committees of the Section and shall prescribe the functions and duties of such committees.  The Chair shall be an ex-officio member of all committees of the Section.

Section 2. Standing Committees devoted to continuing issues related to the operation of the Section shall be established by these bylaws.  The following Standing Committees are hereby established:

A. Publications

The Publications Committee will be responsible for any Section publications, such as directories and newsletters.  In addition, this Committee will serve as the liaison with the staff of AAJ publications, including TRIAL, the Advocate, and the law reporters.

B. Education

This Committee will be responsible for working with the National College of Advocacy to develop high-quality continuing legal education programs of interest to Section members. 

C. Long-Range Planning

D. Section Benefits Committee

This committee shall have responsibility for determining and implementing appropriate and fiscally attainable programs of benefits for Section members.

Section 3. Ad Hoc Committees shall be established from time to time by the Executive Committee of the Section for the purpose of focusing on issues of generic concern to the members of the Section in their law practices.  The initial Ad Hoc Committees shall be established by the officers of the Section. 

Section 4. Membership in a committee shall be determined by the Chair of the Section except as otherwise provided in these bylaws.  The chair of a committee shall not serve for a term of more than two years consecutively and may not be reappointed chair of the committee until at least two years after he/she was last chair.  This limitation shall not apply to those chairs who hold the chairpersonship ex officio.

ARTICLE VI
Election of Officers


Section 1. Election of officers for the Section shall be undertaken during the Annual Convention of AAJ in accordance with the AAJ Section Election Rules as directed by the Bylaws of AAJ. 

Section 2. Only those members of AAJ who are in good standing and who have applied for membership in the Section sixty (60) days or more prior to the registration date of the Annual Convention of AAJ shall be eligible to vote at the Annual Meeting of this Section.  There shall be no voting by proxy.

Section 3. The Chairperson of the Section shall have the power to fill vacancies among the officers by appointment, such appointee serving until the next Annual Meeting of the Section at the Annual Convention of AAJ.

ARTICLE VII
Duties of Officers

Section 1. The Chair shall serve on the Executive Committee of the Section and shall act as the highest ranking executive officer of the Section during his/her term of office.  He/she shall preside at all meetings of the Section and the Executive Committee.  The Chair shall have the authority to assign additional duties and/or to reassign existing duties to other Section officers or member of the Section's Executive Committee.  The Chair shall represent the Section on AAJ's Section Leaders Council and shall appoint at least one other Section member as non-voting representative(s) to the Council. The Chair shall appoint such regional or state Chairs as he/she deems necessary and proper to carry out the affairs of the Section within each Circuit or each State.

Section 2. The Chair-Elect shall act as the second highest ranking executive officer of the Section and shall preside over Section meetings in the absence of the Chair.

Section 3. The Vice-Chair shall act as the third highest ranking executive officer of the Section and shall assist the Chairperson-Elect and preside over Section meetings in the absence of the Chair and the Chairperson-Elect.


Section 4. The Secretary-Treasurer shall record and keep minutes of all the Section meetings.  The Secretary-Treasurer shall be the custodian of all books, papers, documents and other property of the Section, subject to the general supervision of the Chair of the Section and the Secretary of AAJ.  He/she shall be responsible for maintaining a current list of the Section's membership and cooperating with AAJ in the maintenance of financial records of the Section.

ARTICLE VIII 
Meetings

Section 1. The regular Annual Meeting of the Executive Committee and the Section shall be held each year during the Annual Convention of AAJ.

Section 2. The Chair may call special meetings of the Executive Committee at such times as he/she considers necessary for the proper conduct of the affairs of the Section.  The Executive Committee shall call special meetings of the Section at such times as it considers necessary for the proper conduct of the affairs of the Section.  Because of distances which may be involved, these meetings may be in person or by conference telephone call.  Conference telephone call votes will be recorded by the Secretary and duly entered upon the minutes.  Copies of minutes shall be sent to the Executive Committee.

ARTICLE IX
General Restrctions

All activities of the Section shall be in strict compliance with the bylaws and policies of the American Association for Justice.

Article X
Bylaws and Amendments

Section 1. These bylaws shall become effective upon approval of the Board of Governors of AAJ.

Section 2. All amendments must be offered to the Chairperson and Secretary of the Section in writing not less than sixty (60) days prior to the annual meeting of the Section and shall be circulated in written form to all Section members present at such meeting.  Bylaws may be amended at the Annual Meeting of the Section, by a two-thirds vote of the members present, which amendments, however, shall take effect only upon approval by the Board of Governors of AAJ.