About

UT Law CLE's 2020 Robert O. Dawson Conference on Criminal Appeals will be live online on May 6, 2020!

Due to the suspension of all in-person events this spring, we have modified this year’s agenda to bring you a one-day, live virtual conference online, with presentations featuring members of the Court of Criminal Appeals and judges from the intermediate courts around Texas, plus prosecutors and defense attorneys, for balanced discussions and insights into current issues facing the criminal justice system. This year’s virtual conference includes:

  • In-depth review of significant decisions from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals from the past year.
  • Real world tips, suggestions and insights for litigating writ claims at every step in the process, from preliminary investigation, to trial court, to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, with Practical Tips from Writ Litigators.
  • Insight into the digital revolution with Appellate Practice in the Digital Age.
  • Legal writing tips and tricks with How to Write Plainly, with Professor Wayne Schiess.
Registrants can fulfill their entire annual MCLE requirement in Texas and earn up to 15.00 hrs /3.00 hrs ethics for the year. Earn up to 7.50 hours of MCLE credit (including 0.50 hours of ethics) during the live virtual conference on May 6th. Plus, receive a bonus eSupplement containing an additional 7.50 hours of MCLE (including 2.50 hours of ethics) to complete your annual requirement on your time.

Event Schedule

  • Time
    Credit
    Subject
    Speaker
  • Wednesday Morning, May 6, 2020
    Presiding Officer:
    Joanna Jefferson, The University of Texas School of Law - Austin, TX
  • 8:20 am
    Welcoming Remarks

  • 8:30 am
    0.75 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.
  • 9:15 am
    5-Minute Break

  • 9:20 am
    0.75 hr
    11.07 Writs

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

    Discuss the law of 11.07 habeas corpus with tips for writ practice at the Court of Criminal Appeals.
  • 10:05 am
    5-Minute Break

  • 10:10 am
    1.00 hr
    Legal Writing: How to Write Plainly

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

    Do criminal-law appellate briefs need to be written in plain English? And what does “plain English,” mean? This presentation defines plain-English legal writing and offers guidance on plain English-principles related to words, sentences, and organization.
  • 11:10 am
    5-Minute Break

  • 11:15 am
    0.75 hr
    Emerging Issues in PDRs

    Kathleen Mary Schneider, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX
    Stacey M. Soule, Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney - Austin, TX

    Gain insight on significant and emerging issues pending in the Court of Criminal Appeals.
  • 12:00 pm
    5-Minute Break

  • 12:05 pm
    0.50 hr
    Chapter 64 Motions and Hearings

    Matthew Bryant Howard, Bexar County Criminal District Attorney's Office - San Antonio, TX

    A brief overview of motions for forensic testing, collaborative and contested, and common missteps on the road to 11.073. 
  • 12:35 pm
    Break for Lunch—Presentation Resumes at 12:55 p.m.

  • Wednesday Afternoon, May 6, 2020
    Presiding Officer:
    Joanna Jefferson, The University of Texas School of Law - Austin, TX
  • 12:55 pm
    0.50 hr
    Practical Tips from Writ Litigators

    Catherine G. Burnett, South Texas College of Law Houston - Houston, TX

    Explore real world tips, suggestions and insights for litigating writ claims at every step in the process -- from preliminary investigation, to trial court, to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. 
  • 1:25 pm
    5-Minute Break

  • 1:30 pm
    0.50 hr
    The Jury Charge

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

    It's tedious to draft, dreadful to listen to, and probably ignored by jurors. Learn why the least exciting part of trial is the most important. 
  • 2:00 pm
    5-Minute Break

  • 2:05 pm
    0.50 hr
    Appellate Practice in the Digital Age

    Rosa Theofanis, Travis County District Attorney's Office - Austin, TX

    Explore how the digital revolution and the consequent move from paper to electronic filing of legal documents has changed the way that legal texts are written and read, and learn effective strategies for appellate lawyers to communicate within this new digital reality. 
  • 2:35 pm
    5-Minute Break

  • 2:40 pm
    0.75 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    Conviction Integrity Units

    Alison Fox Dahlberg, Bexar County District Attorney's Office - San Antonio, TX
    John Lopez, Travis County District Attorney's Office - Austin, TX

    Discuss the concept of conviction integrity as an extension of the prosecutor’s duty to see that justice is done. Hear practical issues in evaluating, investigating, and responding to actual innocence claims and considerations for offices that do not have a dedicated CIU.
  • 3:25 pm
    5-Minute Break

  • 3:30 pm
    0.50 hr
    Standards of Review

    Lisa Dotin Stewart, Travis County District Attorney's Office - Austin, TX

    Identifying the appropriate standard and utilizing it as a roadmap to a persuasive legal argument on appeal. 
  • 4:00 pm
    5-Minute Break

  • 4:05 pm
    1.00 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    Judicial Panel + Current Practices in the Era of COVID-19

    Moderator:
    Jay R. Brandon, Bexar County District Attorney's Office, Appeals Section - San Antonio, TX
    Panelists:
    Hon. Lana Myers, Fifth District Court of Appeals - Dallas, TX
    Hon. Beth Watkins, Fourth Court of Appeals - San Antonio, TX

    Practical advice from the people whose opinions matter about what they like to see in briefs and appeals and what they do not. Gain insight on their personal experiences with COVID-19, what they see on the horizon, and (potentially) answer questions from viewers. 
  • 5:05 pm
    Adjourn

Conference Faculty

Jay R. Brandon

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

Catherine G. Burnett

South Texas College of Law Houston
Houston, TX

Alison Fox Dahlberg

Bexar County District Attorney's Office
San Antonio, TX

Michael Staats Falkenberg

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

David M. Gonzalez

Sumpter & Gonzalez L.L.P.
Austin, TX

Matthew Bryant Howard

Bexar County Criminal District Attorney's Office
San Antonio, TX

John Lopez

Travis County District Attorney's Office
Austin, TX

Hon. Lana Myers

Fifth District Court of Appeals
Dallas, TX

Hon. David C. Newell

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Wayne Schiess

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

Kathleen Mary Schneider

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Stacey M. Soule

Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney
Austin, TX

Lisa Dotin Stewart

Travis County District Attorney's Office
Austin, TX

Rosa Theofanis

Travis County District Attorney's Office
Austin, TX

Hon. Beth Watkins

Fourth Court of Appeals
San Antonio, 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

Joanna Jefferson—Director

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

Aimee Bolletino

The Law Office of Aimee Bolletino
Houston, TX

Jay R. Brandon

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

Kamela Bridges

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

Baldwin D. Chin

Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office
Richmond, TX

Alison Fox Dahlberg

Bexar County District Attorney's Office
San Antonio, TX

Michael Staats Falkenberg

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Cynthia Rodriguez Garza

Dallas County District Attorney's Office
Dallas, TX

Carson R. Guy

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

John Robertson Messinger

Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney
Austin, TX

Carmen Roe

Carmen Roe Law Firm, PLLC
Houston, TX

Melissa Stryker

Harris County District Attorney's Office
Houston, TX

Michael Scott Taliaferro

Travis County District Attorney's Office
Austin, TX

Gary Alan Udashen

Udashen Anton
Dallas, TX

Credit Info

MCLE Credit
UT Law CLE will report credit to the State Bar of Texas on your behalf. If you are claiming credit in the last week of your birth month, self-report your credit directly to the State Bar of Texas at texasbar.com. A Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you upon claiming credit.
Self-report your CLE credit directly to the State Bar of California at calbar.ca.gov. Print and keep the Certificate of Completion for your records. A Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you upon claiming credit.
The University of Texas School of Law (Provider #169) live webcast presentations meet the requirements and are presumptively approved by the Oklahoma Bar Association for MCLE credit based on a 50-minute credit hour. This accreditation requires attendance verification. In compliance with the rules, UT Law CLE monitors and records attendee responses to questions that randomly appear during the live webcast presentation. The response record is detailed on the Certificate of Completion.

To claim Oklahoma MCLE credit, Oklahoma credit option must be selected PRIOR to viewing the live webcast. Upon claiming credit, a Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you. UT Law CLE will report credit on your behalf to the Oklahoma Bar Association within 30 days after the webcast.
Note on Self-Reporting Your Credits in Another State
f 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 to ensure it will qualify for self-reporting your credits.

To claim Other States MCLE credit, Other States credit option must be selected PRIOR to viewing the live webcast. Upon claiming credit, a Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you.

This accreditation requires attendance verification. UT Law CLE monitors and records attendee responses to questions that randomly appear during the live webcast presentation. The response record is detailed on the Certificate of Completion .

MCLE credit is presented based on a 60-minute credit hour.
Other Credit
The University of Texas School of Law (Provider #250) live webcast presentations meet the requirements and 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.

This accreditation requires attendance verification. In compliance with the rules, UT Law CLE monitors and records attendee responses to questions that randomly appear during the live webcast presentation. The response record is detailed on the Certificate of Completion.

To claim Texas Accounting CPE credit, the Texas Accounting CPE credit option must be selected PRIOR to viewing the live webcast. Upon claiming credit, a Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you. Self-report your CPE credit directly to the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.

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

Key Dates

Live Webcast – May 6, 2020
Conference Concluded
Buy
Live Webcast
Last day for cancellation (full refund): May 1, 2020
Last day for cancellation (partial refund): May 4, 2020

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