“Buck” FILES JR.
Buck Files is a shareholder and founding member of the firm.
Buck is a criminal defense lawyer who – – together with Brett Harrison – – represents individuals and corporations accused in the Texas and Federal courts of criminal conduct.
Buck began his legal career prosecuting or defending individuals before general and special courts-martial of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy in Hawaii, Okinawa, and the Republic of Vietnam. After completing his military service, Buck spent over three years as an assistant (and then First Assistant) criminal district attorney in Smith County. Buck then entered the private practice of law as a defense attorney.
Buck has represented clients in the Texas courts charged with everything from the possession of small quantities of marijuana and driving while intoxicated cases to capital murder cases. In the Federal courts, Buck has represented clients charged with everything from white-collar fraud and drug conspiracies to the possession of child pornography. Buck has also been retained by corporate counsel to represent their clients in OSHA, EPA, USDA and immigration cases.
Buck has represented many clients in high profile cases. CourtTV has covered more than 70 days of his trials. Perhaps Buck’s most challenging and emotionally draining case was his representation of a mother who was charged with the murder of two of her children and a serious injury of a third. Buck raised an insanity defense. The jury agreed with him and returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity – – the first such verdict in Smith County for at least the past 60 years.
Buck is a charter member and former director of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He is also a long time member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Over the Years, Buck Has Been Honored by His Peers
The Texas Bar Foundation has recognized Buck with the Outstanding 50 Year Lawyer Award (2015) and a Sustaining Life Fellow.
In 2012, Buck received The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar of Texas. The inscription read, “For your endless devotion to the improvement of the criminal justice system.”
In 2012, Buck received the Tom Garner Award from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. The inscription read, “In recognition of distinguished service to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.”
In 2011, Buck was inducted into the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s Hall of Fame.
In 2008, Buck received the Justinian Award from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism and the Smith County Bar Association.
In 2007, Buck received a Presidential Citation from President Martha Dickie. The inscription read, “For your belief in our criminal justice system and your faith and confidence that Texas can and must get it right every time.”
In 2007, Buck received the Outstanding Third Year Director Award from the Chair of the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas.
In 2007, Buck was honored by a resolution of the Board of Directors of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. The resolution read,
“Whereas F. R. “Buck” Files, Jr. is a Charter Member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association;
Whereas Mr. Files, an outstanding scholar and prolific author, has written in excess of 200 articles since 1978, including his “Federal Corner” column, which have all been published in VOICE for the Defense Magazine;
Whereas Mr. Files is a talented attorney and champion of justice, serving his clients with understanding and compassion;
Whereas Mr. Files exemplifies the qualities inherent in a true criminal defense lawyer, always striving to fulfill the ultimate purpose of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association: to promote justice and the common good;
Therefore be it resolved that the Board of Directors of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association pay tribute to the accomplishments of the Honorable F.R. “Buck” Files, Jr.
In 2004, Buck was named the Defense Lawyer of the year by the Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Buck Has Been Committed to Legal Specialization in Texas
The concept of legal specialization began to be discussed by Texas lawyers and judges in the early 1970’s. In 1975, the first specialization examinations were offered in criminal law, labor law, and family law. Buck was a member of the charter class to be certified as a specialist in criminal law.
Buck served for six years as a member of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization’s Criminal Law Advisory Commission [Chair, 2001- 2005]. In 2007, Buck was appointed to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and served as a member of the Board until 2011.
Buck has been Board Certified in Criminal Trial Advocacy since 1997 by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.c
Buck Has Been Dedicated to Continuing Legal Education
Buck has now written more than 200 columns – – “The Federal Corner” – – for the VOICE for the Defense, the official publication of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He has also been an author/ speaker on many occasions for CLE programs sponsored by TCDLA and by the Criminal Defense Lawyers Project.
Buck has also been active in the CLE programs of the State Bar of Texas. He served as Course Director for the 1997 Advanced Criminal Law Course and has been an author/ speaker at 23 of these annual courses including:
- “Confessions,” 1983
- “Privileges,” 1985- 1988
- “Fifth Circuit Opinions,” 1990- 2004; 2006-2008
Buck served for four years on the State Bar’s CLE committee [Vice Chair – 2007; Chair 2008-2011].
Buck is a Fellow of the College of the State Bar.
Buck received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Austin College in 1960. [In 2003, Buck was elected to the Board of Trustees and is in his tenth year of service as a member of the Board. Each year, he returns to the college and reviews hazing issues with the fraternity and sorority officers and those students who wish to pledge a fraternity or sorority.]
Buck received his Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University’s School of Law in 1963. Buck received his Master of Liberal Arts degree from SMU in 1974.
Buck is a Marine. He earned his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant on September 1, 1962. He served with a reserve unit during his third year in law school. He began active duty on December 28, 1963, and served at duty stations in Virginia, Hawaii, Okinawa and the Republic of Vietnam until August 14, 1967. He attained the rank of Captain.
Buck served as a member of the District 2A Grievance Committee for the State Bar of Texas from 1992-1996. In 2004, Buck was elected to the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas and served a three year term. In 2011, Buck was elected to the office of President-Elect of the State Bar of Texas. On June 15, 2012 Buck was sworn in by Judge Cathy Cochran of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals as President of the State Bar of Texas.
Life Outside the Practice of Law
Buck and his wife, Robyn, have celebrated over 50 years of marriage. They are members of the First Presbyterian Church in Tyler. They have two children: Jennifer Files Beerline, a lawyer specializing in estate planning in San Francisco; and, Trey Files, a percussionist who performs on Broadway, teaches and tours with ETHOS Percussion Group . They are the grandparents of three, Romy Files, Braden Beerline and Lucy Beerline.
For seven years, Buck was a director or officer of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra Association and served as President of the Association in 2006.
Buck’s hobbies are traveling and photography.
Admitted to Practice
- Supreme Court of Texas
- Supreme Court of the United States
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas
- Criminal Law – State and Federal
- 1963 – 1967 United States Marine Corps
- 1967 – 1970 Smith County Assistant and First Assistant District Attorney
Certified Legal Specialties
- Criminal Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1975
- Criminal Trial Advocacy, National Board Of Trial Advocacy, 1997
- Southern Methodist University School of Law, Dallas, Texas
- J.D. – 1963
- Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas<
- M.L.A. – 1974
- Austin College, Sherman, Texas
- B.A. – 1960
- Board of Trustees (2003 – present)
- “Federal Corner”, Voice for the Defense Magazine, (latest 16 of 200+ articles)
- May 2019 – A Great Case of First Impression on a Drug-and-Gun Sentencing Enhancement Issue
- March 2019 – Domineque Hakim Marcelle Ray, a Muslim, is Executed Without an Imam Being Present to Attend to His Spiritual Needs
- January/February 2019 – Tim (The Magician) Henry Gets an Unbelievable Result In a Child Pornography Case – You Won’t Believe It!
- December 2018 – How Much Restitution Should a Defendant Be Required to Make for a Dead Dog?
- December 2018 – Reflections on a Memorial Service for Robert Kelly Pace
- November 2018 – What Is The Supreme Court Going To Do With A Separate Sovereigns Issue?
- October 2018 – The Supreme Court Giveth and The Courts of Appeal Taketh Away
- September 2018 – The D.C. Circuit Relies on Padilla in Deciding An Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Issue
- July / August 2018 – 40 Days of Search Cases From the Supreme Court
- June 2018 – There Will Be No More Plea Hearings in the Federal Courts by Videoconference
- May 2018 – An Unusual Basis for a Motion for Severance – With the Usual Result
- April 2018 – Waiting for the Supreme Court to Address Riley and the Border Search Doctrine
- Feb 2018 – The Courthouse Was Closed to the Public – But the Trial Continued
- Jan 2018 – DHS v. DOJ v. Our Clients
- Dec 2017 – Maintaining a Premises for the Purpose of Manufacturing or Distributing a Controlled Substance
- Nov 2017 – What Will the Supremes Do With a Fourth Amendment Issue That Would Benefit Some of the Drivers of Rental Vehicles?
- Oct 2017 – Surprise! Pre-Trial Interventions Become Convictions for Immigration Purposes!
- Sept 2017 – The Defendant Gets Tricked and the Officers Get Treated
- July / August 2017 – Jae Lee’s Claim of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel – Revisited
- June 2017 – Those Waiver of Appeal Provisions in Plea Agreements
- April 2017 – Cell Phones, Computers, Fingerprints, Decryption Orders and Civil Contempt
- March 2017 – Venue Shopping/Venue Entrapment
- Feb 2017 – A Child Pornography Case with Unusual Facts
- Jan 2017 – Is the Supreme Court About to Limit Habeas Relief Under Padilla?
- Dec 2016 – The Perils of Representing the Client Who Does Not
Want to Even Talk About Pleading Guilty
- Nov 2016 – Child Pornography; The Playpen; The Onion Router (“Tor”); Network Investigative Technique (“NIT”) Warrants; Suppression; and, Confusion in the Courts
- Oct 2016 – Cell-Site Simulators and the Fourth Amendment
- Aug 2016 – The Most Unbelievable Sentence Ever Imposed in a Child Pornography Case Buck Files
- July 2016 – If You Ever Have to be Concerned about the Issue of punishment in a Criminal Case, You Must Read Judge Block’s Opionion inUnited States v. Chevelle Nesbeth
- June 2016 – The Fifth Amendment and Sexual history Polygraphs
- May 2016 – Judge Robert C Nalley Finally Gets His Comeuppance
- April 2016 – Was it a Suspicion or a Reasonable Suspicion?
- March 2016 – An “Across the Threshold” Arrest Without a Warrant
- Feb 2016 – A Judge, A Prosecutor and a Defense Lawyer Work Together to Give the Judges of the Third Circuit and Unbelievable Case
- Jan 2016 – Beware of the Federal Hordes
- Dec 2015 – Even Dead men Can Be Compensated For Lost Income
- Nov 2015 – A Non-Routine Border Search Issue
- Sept 2015 – Judge Delgado-Colon “Skirted Near the Line” But Didn’t Cross It
- Aug 2015 – And What Is An LPR System?
- July 2015 – Did Lex Really Sniff Out the Drugs or Did He Just Want a Giftee?
- June 2015 – The Private Search Doctrine Did Not Help the Government
- May 2015 – Extending the Traffic Stop to Get the Drug Dog
- April 2015 – Raynor the Rapist Should Have Worn a Long Sleeve Shirt
- “DWI Myths and Reality,” Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in Texas, Aspatore, 2008
- Course Director, SBOT’s Advanced Criminal Law Course, 1997
- Speaker, “Confessions”, SBOT’s Advanced Criminal Law Course, 1983
- Speaker, “Privileges”, SBOT’s Advanced Criminal Law Course, 1985 – 1988
- Speaker, “Fifth Circuit Opinions”, SBOT’s Advanced Criminal Law Course, 1990-2004, 2006-2008
Honors and Awards
- Texas Bar Foundation, Outstanding 50 Year Lawyer Award (2015), Sustaining Life Fellow
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar of Texas, 2012
- Lifetime Achievement Award,Criminal Justice Section of the Texas State Bar, 2012
- Tom Garner Award, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2012
- John H. Hannah, Jr. Award for Public Service, 2012
- Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s Hall of Fame, 2011
- Justinian Award, Smith County Bar Association, 2008
- Presidential Citation, State Bar of Texas, 2007
- Outstanding Third Year Director, State Bar of Texas, 2007
- Resolution by the Board of Directors, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, 2007
- Defense Lawyer of the Year, Criminal Justice Section of the State Bar of Texas, 2004
Professional Associations and Memberships
- State Bar of Texas, President 2012-2013, Director 2004-2007
- Smith County Bar Association, Former Director
- Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Charter member & former Director
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- College of the State Bar of Texas
- Texas Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow
- Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Member, 2007 – Present
- TBLS’s Criminal Law Advisory Commission 1999-2004 (Chair 2002-2004)
- State Bar of Texas, Grievance Committee, District 2, 1992 – 1996
- Austin College, Board of Trustees
- East Texas Symphony Orchestra Association, Past President
- United States Marine Corps, 1962 – 1967
- Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
- United States Marine Corps (1963 – 1967)
- Duty Stations in Virginia, Hawaii, Okinawa and Vietnam
- Attained the Rank of Captain
- Phi Alpha Delta