About

UT Law's biennial Robert O. Dawson Conference on Criminal Appeals features members of the Court of Criminal Appeals and judges from the intermediate courts around Texas joining prosecutors and defense attorneys for discussions on current issues facing the criminal system.

2017 program highlights include:

  • Significant decisions and updates from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court in the last year
  • Emerging Issues in PDRs with Stacey Soule, Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney, and Gary Hart, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
  • An exploration of legal issues in actual innocence claims, with particular focus on false evidence leading to wrongful convictions and wrongful convictions based on invalid scientific testimony
  • Techniques on writing effective briefs in Legal Writing: Clearly Using Intensifiers is Literally a Crime
  • Investigating, developing, and prosecuting ineffective assistance of counsel claims in post-conviction litigation
  • How to raise and defend disclosure issues in a post-Michael Morton Act world with Patricia Cummings, The Law Offices of Patricia Cummings, and Bill Wirskye, Collin County District Attorney's Office
  • An examination of the ethical considerations facing attorneys in post-conviction representation with Hon. Michael Keasler, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Event Schedule

  • Time
    Credit
    Subject
    Speaker
  • Wednesday Afternoon, May 10, 2017
    Presiding Officer:
    Hon. Barbara P. Hervey, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX
  • 12:30 pm
    Registration Opens

    Includes light refreshments.
  • 1:20 pm
    Welcoming Remarks

  • 1:30 pm
    1.00 hr
    Significant Decisions of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

    Hon. David C. Newell, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX

    Analyze significant decisions in the last year and what they mean for criminal law practitioners on both sides of the bar.
  • 2:30 pm
    1.00 hr
    Supreme Court Update

    Jennifer E. Laurin, The University of Texas School of Law - Austin, TX

    Hear an update on relevant criminal law and criminal procedure cases decided by the United States Supreme Court in the 2016 term, review decisions yet to be handed down, and preview hot cases in the pipeline for the 2017 term.
  • 3:30 pm
    Break

  • 3:45 pm
    0.50 hr
    Legal Writing: Clearly, Using Intensifiers is Literally a Crime

    Wayne Schiess, The University of Texas School of Law - Austin, TX

    Intensifiers (clearly, obviously, blatantly) show up in briefs from time to time. But are they persuasive, and if not, what can you do instead?
  • 4:15 pm
    1.00 hr
    Mandamus

    Michael Staats Falkenberg, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX

    Discuss Texas mandamus law in criminal cases, and explore how the cases are litigated at the appellate level.
  • 5:15 pm
    Adjourn

  • Time
    Credit
    Subject
    Speaker
  • Thursday Morning, May 11, 2017
    Presiding Officer:
    Hon. David C. Newell, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX
  • 8:00 am
    Conference Room Opens

    Includes continental breakfast.
  • 9:00 am
    0.50 hr
    Appeals You Never Thought You Would See

    April E. Smith, Attorney at Law - Mesquite, TX

    Review the basics for CPS and Juvenile Delinquency Appeals.
  • 9:30 am
    1.00 hr
    Nuts and Bolts—Emerging Issues in PDRs

    Gary Hart, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX
    Stacey Soule, Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney - Austin, TX

    Gain a working knowledge of the procedural rules, optimal structure, and strategies needed to successfully pursue discretionary review, and familiarize yourself with emerging legal issues and trends in the Court of Criminal Appeals.   
  • 10:30 am
    Break

  • 10:45 am
    1.00 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    False Evidence, Actual Innocence, and 11.073 Writs

    Jay R. Brandon, Bexar County District Attorney's Office, Appeals Section - San Antonio, TX
    Gary Alan Udashen, Sorrels, Udashen & Anton - Dallas, TX

    Analyze legal issues in actual innocence claims, with particular focus on false evidence leading to wrongful convictions and wrongful convictions based on invalid scientific testimony.
  • 11:45 am
    0.50 hr
    The Court’s Charge: Was it Right? Did it Hurt?

    Lauren Alicia Scott, Bexar County District Attorney's Office - San Antonio, TX

    Examine jury charge issues that commonly cause error on appeal, including lesser-included offense instructions. 
  • 12:15 pm
    Pick Up Lunch

  • Thursday Afternoon, May 11, 2017
    Presiding Officer:
    Hon. David C. Newell, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX
  • Luncheon Presentation
  • 12:35 pm
    1.00 hr
    0.50 hr ethics
    Michael Morton Act and Brady on Appeal

    Patricia J. Cummings, Law Office of Patricia J. Cummings - Round Rock, TX
    Bill Wirskye, Collin County District Attorney's Office - McKinney, TX

    Explore how to raise and defend disclosure issues in a post-Michael Morton Act world.
  • 1:35 pm
    Break

  • 1:50 pm
    0.50 hr
    Motions For New Trial

    Carmen M. Roe, Carmen Roe Law Firm - Houston, TX

    Examine motions for new trial and the rare opportunity they provide to change the course of a conviction or sentence, or alternatively, to develop a better record on appeal.
  • 2:20 pm
    0.50 hr
    Pretrial Writs: Tips from Both Sides of the Aisle

    David M. Gonzalez, Sumpter & Gonzalez - Austin, TX

    Learn how to raise, litigate, and defend pretrial writs from both the prosecution and defense perspectives.
  • 2:50 pm
    Break

  • 3:00 pm
    0.50 hr
    Rules of Appellate Procedures

    Holly E. Taylor, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX

    From motions for new trial to motions for rehearing, an attorney’s grasp of the Rules of Appellate Procedure can make or break a case. Explore some of the most important appellate rules for criminal practitioners and highlight recent changes to the rules.
  • 3:30 pm
    0.50 hr
    Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

    Josh Schaffer, Schaffer Law Offices - Houston, TX

    Review how to investigate, develop, and prosecute the most important type of claim in post-conviction litigation, and explore some of the fundamental legal principles associated with it.
  • 4:00 pm
    0.75 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    A Guide To Art. 11.07 Writs of Habeas Corpus and Other State Writs

    Michael F. Stauffacher, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX

    Hear procedures, issues, and do’s and don’ts pertaining to Article 11.07 and other State writs.
  • 4:45 pm
    Adjourn

  • Time
    Credit
    Subject
    Speaker
  • Friday Morning, May 12, 2017
    Presiding Officer:
    Hon. Barbara P. Hervey, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX
  • 8:30 am
    Conference Room Opens

    Includes continental breakfast.
  • 9:00 am
    1.00 hr ethics
    Ethics for Post-Conviction Lawyers

    Hon. Michael Keasler, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX

    Examine the ethical considerations facing attorneys in post-conviction representation.
  • 10:00 am
    Break

  • 10:15 am
    1.00 hr
    Appellate Tips from the Experts

    Enrico Baltazar Valdez, Bexar County District Attorney's Office - San Antonio, TX
    Mike Ware, Attorney at Law - Fort Worth, TX

    Get a view from both sides of the criminal bar with practical tips on how appellate advocates and appellate courts can make their briefs and opinions interesting, easier to understand, and less likely to inflame the opposing side or losing party.
  • 11:15 am
    0.75 hr
    Court of Appeals Judicial Panel

    Moderator:
    Jay R. Brandon, Bexar County District Attorney's Office, Appeals Section - San Antonio, TX
    Hon. Melissa Young Goodwin, Third Court of Appeals - Austin, TX
    Hon. Sue Walker, Second Court of Appeals - Fort Worth, TX

    Hear Court of Appeals judges discuss what they do, Court dockets, and better ways for practitioners to represent parties before the Court. You have questions; they have answers.
  • 12:00 pm
    Adjourn

Conference Faculty

Jay R. Brandon

Bexar County District Attorney's Office, Appeals Section
San Antonio, TX

Patricia J. Cummings

Law Office of Patricia J. Cummings
Round Rock, TX

Michael Staats Falkenberg

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

David M. Gonzalez

Sumpter & Gonzalez
Austin, TX

Hon. Melissa Young Goodwin

Third Court of Appeals
Austin, TX

Gary Hart

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Hon. Michael Keasler

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Jennifer E. Laurin

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

Hon. David C. Newell

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Carmen M. Roe

Carmen Roe Law Firm
Houston, TX

Josh Schaffer

Schaffer Law Offices
Houston, TX

Wayne Schiess

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

Lauren Alicia Scott

Bexar County District Attorney's Office
San Antonio, TX

April E. Smith

Attorney at Law
Mesquite, TX

Stacey Soule

Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney
Austin, TX

Michael F. Stauffacher

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Holly E. Taylor

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Gary Alan Udashen

Sorrels, Udashen & Anton
Dallas, TX

Enrico Baltazar Valdez

Bexar County District Attorney's Office
San Antonio, TX

Hon. Sue Walker

Second Court of Appeals
Fort Worth, TX

Mike Ware

Attorney at Law
Fort Worth, TX

Bill Wirskye

Collin County District Attorney's Office
McKinney, TX

Planning Committee

Hon. Barbara P. Hervey—Co-Chair

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Hon. David C. Newell—Co-Chair

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Jay R. Brandon

Bexar County District Attorney's Office, Appeals Section
San Antonio, TX

Patricia J. Cummings

Law Office of Patricia J. Cummings
Round Rock, TX

Alison Fox Dahlberg

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Michael Staats Falkenberg

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Andrea Keilen

Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Austin, TX

Susan Riva Klein

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

Deborah Salzberg

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

Frank Sellers

Westfall Sellers
Fort Worth, TX

Stephanie L. Stevens

Saint Mary's School of Law
San Antonio, TX

Michael Scott Taliaferro

Travis County District Attorney's Office
Austin, TX

Credit Info

MCLE Credit
A Texas MCLE Reporting Form will be included in your course materials. Please complete and return to the registration desk and UT Law CLE will report credit on your behalf to the State Bar of Texas, or you can self-report your credit directly to the State Bar of Texas at texasbar.com. A Certificate of Attendance will be provided at the conference to keep for your records.  
At the conference, you will need to sign in on the Record of Attendance form at the registration desk. Self-report your CLE credit directly to the State Bar of California at calbar.ca.gov. You will receive a Certificate of Attendance at the conference to keep for your records. UT Law CLE will maintain Attendance Records for four years.  
At the conference, you will need to sign in on the Record of Attendance form at the registration desk. You will receive a Certificate of Attendance at the conference to keep for your records. UT Law CLE will report credit on your behalf to the Oklahoma Bar Association within 30 days after the conference.
Note on Self-Reporting Your Credits in Another State
If you wish to satisfy MCLE or other professional education requirements in another state for a program offered by the University of Texas School of Law, please check with the state bar or other licensing authority in that state before taking the program to ensure it will qualify for self-reporting your credits.
Other Credit
The University of Texas School of Law (Provider #250) live conferences are presumptively approved by The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy for Texas Accounting CPE credit based on a 50-minute credit hour. Approved for general CPE credit only.

At the conference, you will need to sign in on the Accounting CPE Record of Attendance form at the registration desk. You will receive a Texas Accounting Certificate of Completion at the conference for your records. Self-report your CPE credit directly to TSBPA. UT Law CLE will maintain Attendance Records for four years.  

Contact Laura Tolin, ltolin@law.utexas.edu, if you have additional questions.

Key Dates

Austin – May 10-12, 2017 – Austin Marriott South
Conference Concluded
Buy
Austin
Last day for Individual early registration: May 3, 2017

Add $50 for registrations received after this time

Last day for Group (5 registrants minimum) early registration: May 3, 2017

Add $50 for registrations received after this time

Last day for Group (10 registrants minimum) early registration: May 3, 2017

Add $50 for registrations received after this time

Last day for cancellation (full refund): May 5, 2017
Last day for cancellation (partial refund): May 8, 2017

$50 processing fee applied

Venue

speaker

4415 South IH-35
Austin, TX 78744
512-441-7900
844-473-3959 (reservations)

Accommodations

$165 room rate good through April 19, 2017 (subject to availability). Please refer to The University of Texas School of Law and 2017 Conference on Criminal Appeals when you call the hotel directly at 844-473-3959.

You may also book your room online here

Parking Information

Complimentary garage and ground level self parking.

Subscribe to Our Hooked on CLE Monthly Newsletter