Traditional reading of Declaration of Independence by local attorneys sidelined by COVID-19

State defense lawyers association produce video with readings from across Texas

An annual Independence Day tradition for Shelby County and counties around Texas — the reading of the Declaration of Independence at courthouses — is among events sidelined by the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, according to Deck Jones.

The Center attorney said Texans who would still like to be reminded of the vision of America's founding fathers will have that opportunity.

In the last several years, members of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association have read the Declaration of Independence at courthouses throughout the state,” Jones said. “Shelby County has been no exception.

Instead, lawyers from around the state can be seen and heard reading the Declaration of Independence via vidio links to Vimeo and YouTube.

Jones said unfortunately, local attorneys will not be reading the Declaration locally.

To view the video production, please visit:

or Vimeo at:

In a letter Jones received from the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, organizers explain how the video readings evolved.

“Thank you for your willingness to organize a local Declaration reading in your community in past years,” the letter said. “As you know, this year, because of public health concerns, statewide Declaration organizers Robb Fickman of Houston and Chuck Lanehart of Lubbock opted to scale back our traditional readings.

Remote video readings and single-person courthouse readings were encouraged, but there was no great push to organize public gatherings for readings across the state as usual, organizers said.

“To get the word out to everyone we continue to celebrate our American freedoms and the real meaning of Independence Day, Robb and Chuck produced a short video featuring a reading of the Declaration,” TCDLA officials said. “The readers are criminal defense lawyers from all corners of the state who normally organize celebrations of the Declaration on their respective courthouse steps.”

The readings have been a Texas tradition for years.

“Each year shortly before July 4, Texas criminal defense lawyers gather on courthouse steps throughout the state to honor the Declaration of Independence,” officials said. “They read the great document to celebrate our American freedoms and the real meaning of Independence Day.'

It is a tradition unlike any other in the nation.

“TCDLA hopes you will enjoy this heartfelt and inspiring video, which acknowledges the shortcomings of the Declaration with a reminder that the 1776 signing in Philadelphia was the beginning of a continuum of American progress toward equal rights for all: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Women's Suffrage Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and now Black Lives Matter.”

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