Eyes Cast to the Future

The Houston criminal defense attorney discusses past successes and future plans.

Waco Attorney Reflects on 25th Anniversasry

Nicole Ortiz

May 30, 2018 02:08 PM

Houston criminal defense attorney Dan Cogdell has a reputation for tenacity and a competitive nature in the courtroom. This is due in part to his impressive past, which is highlighted with successes and acquittals, but also based on his current roster of clients and what he has in store for the future.

His trial history includes the Enron matter, where he successfully achieved the only “not guilty” verdict among all of their initial cases. Similarly, Cogdell helped negotiate a successful resolution for his client in the Stanford financial matter. Cogdell also obtained an acquittal for a Houston City Council member and retired district judge in the Houston City Hall bribery case. Cogdell even tried one of the infamous Texas cadet murder cases where an Air Force Academy student (Cogdell’s client) and his then-girlfriend, a Naval Academy student, were charged with murder.

In the Branch Davidian matter, Cogdell represented Clive Doyle, the member of a religious group suspected of stockpiling illegal weapons at their Mount Carmel Center ranch outside of Waco, Texas. Doyle was one of 11 facing charges for the murders of four federal agents, and was acquitted of all charges. The execution of a search warrant by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (the BATF), resulted in an intense gunfire battle and the deaths of both ATF agents and Davidians. Following a 51-day stand-off, the FBI then launched a separate assault, which ultimately resulted in a fire that engulfed the compound and killed 76 people.

“I think that the significance of that trial goes without saying,” Cogdell says. “In fact, I’m wrapping up doing a television show that’s an hour-long documentary about the trial. It is literally a trial that people are still interested in almost 25 years after the fact.” And while those accolades are certainly aspects of his career that he’s proud of, Cogdell is focusing on his current and future endeavors. “It’s hard to look back because I’ve got so much to look forward to.”

Currently, he’s working on representing Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton in a securities fraud allegation. He’s also representing the pastor of one of the largest Methodist churches in the country, Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, who is charged with fraud.

“You don’t really have time to look back and rest on your laurels when you’re preparing for cases of those significance,” Cogdell says. “While I’m certainly proud of my past, I’m even more proud of where I’m at currently. The future for my practice is certainly bright, not only for my firm, but more importantly for my clients. Trust me, I’m not slowing down. If anything, I am speeding up!”

The work Cogdell does is stressful, and he’s first to acknowledge that he wouldn’t be in the position he’s in without the support of his wife, Robin, and his family. He’s a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Houston Bar Association (life fellow), and many others. He has also been recognized by Best Lawyers® 23 times, and won the “Lawyer of the Year” award in 2018 for White-Collar Criminal Defense in Houston. Cogdell is among a handful of criminal defense lawyers in Texas who are members of the American College of Trial Lawyers, which recognizes the top 1 percent of trial lawyers.

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