Overview

UT Law CLE's 2021 Robert O. Dawson Conference on Criminal Appeals is coming to you virtually again this year! This essential event continues to feature members of the Court of Criminal Appeals and judges from the intermediate courts around Texas joining prosecutors and defense attorneys for balanced discussions and insights into current issues facing the criminal justice system. This year’s conference includes:

  • In-depth reviews of significant decisions from both the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court from the past year.
  • Tips for writ practice, including best practices for litigating an 11.07 from both the prosecution and defense perspectives.
  • Guidance for effective and persuasive appellate advocacy, from the prosecution, defense, and judicial perspectives.
  • Practical tips to advance your brief writing, including structure, issue spotting, and anticipating what appellate judges want to see.
  • Information on a range of key concerns, including issues in PDRs, findings of fact, statutory analysis, preservation of error, and more.
  • An exploration of the ethical dimensions of ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct claims.
  • The popular Court of Appeals Judicial Panel, as well as Ethics for Criminal Lawyers.
Following the conference, attendees will receive a bonus eSupplement containing an additional 2.25 hours of MCLE (including 1.00 hours of ethics) to ensure practitioners can earn their required 15.00/3.00 MCLE hours for the year.

Event Schedule

Program is subject to change.
All times are Central Time Zone.

  • Time
    Credit
    Subject
    Speaker
  • Thursday Morning, May 13, 2021
  • 8:50 am
    Welcoming Remarks

  • 9:00 am
    1.00 hr
    Significant Decisions of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
    Analyze significant decisions in the last year and what they mean for criminal law practitioners.

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

  • 10:00 am
    10-Minute Break

  • 10:10 am
    1.00 hr
    Supreme Court Update
    Hear an update on criminal law and criminal procedure cases relevant to Texas criminal appellate practice that were heard and decided by the United States Supreme Court in the 2020 term, and get a preview of hot cases in the pipeline for the 2021 term.

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

  • 11:10 am
    10-Minute Break

  • 11:20 am
    0.75 hr
    Legal Writing Basics

    David Keltner, Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP - Fort Worth, TX

  • 12:05 pm
    Break for Lunch—Presentations resume at 12:30 p.m.

  • Thursday Afternoon, May 13, 2021
  • 12:30 pm
    0.75 hr
    Writs
    Discuss the law of 11.07 habeas corpus with tips for writ practice at the Court of Criminal Appeals.

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

  • 1:15 pm
    10-Minute Break

  • 1:25 pm
    1.00 hr
    Writ Requirements and Best Practices: Defense and Prosecution Perspective
    Overview of the requirements for litigating an 11.07 and 11.072 writ of habeas corpus from beginning to end; from both a defense and prosecution perspective. Included will be best practices from each perspective including investigation and drafting a writ to filing an answer and presenting at a hearing. The discussion will be helpful to the everyday practitioner, the beginner in practice as well as the judge presiding over the case. 

    Matthew Bryant Howard, Bexar County Criminal District Attorney's Office - San Antonio, TX
    Carmen Roe, Carmen Roe Law Firm, PLLC - Houston, TX

  • 2:25 pm
    10-Minute Break

  • 2:35 pm
    0.75 hr
    Emerging Issues in PDRs
    Gain insight on significant and emerging issues pending in the Court of Criminal Appeals.

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

  • 3:20 pm
    10-Minute Break

  • 3:30 pm
    0.50 hr
    Every Fool is Quick to Quarrel: Tips to Avoid Argument at Argument
    Make oral argument more productive by helping the court solve a problem...in your favor.

    John Robertson Messinger, Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney - Austin, TX

  • 4:00 pm
    10-Minute Break

  • 4:10 pm
    0.50 hr
    Findings of Fact

    Allison Clayton, Law Office of Allison Clayton - Lubbock, TX

  • 4:40 pm
    10-Minute Break

  • 4:50 pm
    0.75 hr ethics
    Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and State Misconduct
    Explore the ethical dimensions of ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct claims, as well as best practices on how to handle these claims.

    Cynthia Rodriguez Garza, Dallas County District Attorney's Office - Dallas, TX
    Gary Alan Udashen, Udashen Anton - Dallas, TX

  • 5:35 pm
    Adjourn

  • Time
    Credit
    Subject
    Speaker
  • Friday Morning, May 14, 2021
  • 9:00 am
    0.75 hr
    Appellate Advocacy in the CCA
    Maximize your effectiveness in front of Texas’s highest criminal court by knowing what makes it unique. Please submit questions in advance to ConferenceQA@utcle.org.

    Mary Lou Keel, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - Austin, TX

  • 9:45 am
    10-Minute Break

  • 9:55 am
    0.75 hr
    Appellate Tips from the Practitioners
    Practical tips for effective and persuasive appellate advocacy from the prosecution and defense perspectives.

    Aimee Bolletino, The Law Office of Aimee Bolletino - Houston, TX
    Melissa Stryker, Harris County District Attorney's Office - Houston, TX

  • 10:40 am
    10-Minute Break

  • 10:50 am
    0.50 hr
    Legal Writing Just Means It's Not Against the Law, Right? 
    No. Advice on writing even better briefs, guided by what appellate judges themselves want to see and not see.

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

  • 11:20 am
    10-Minute Break

  • 11:30 am
    0.50 hr
    Statutory Analysis on Appeal

    Hon. Melissa Young Goodwin, Third Court of Appeals - Austin, TX

  • 12:00 pm
    Break for Lunch—Presentation Resumes at 12:30 p.m.

  • Friday Afternoon, May 14, 2021
  • 12:30 pm
    0.50 hr
    Appellate Practice in the Digital Age
    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.

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

  • 1:00 pm
    10-Minute Break

  • 1:10 pm
    0.75 hr
    Preservation of Error
    Thoughts, strategies, forms, and tools you may immediately use for the effective preservation of error beginning pretrial, continuing during trial, and concluding post-trial.

    Michael C. Gross, Gross & Esparza, P.L.L.C. - San Antonio, TX

  • 1:55 pm
    10-Minute Break

  • 2:05 pm
    1.00 hr
    0.25 hr ethics
    Court of Appeals Judicial Panel
    Practical advice from the people whose opinions matter about what they like to see in briefs and appeals and what they do not. Appellate judges will give tips and take your questions.

    Moderator:
    Jay Brandon, Bexar County District Attorney's Office, Appeals Section - San Antonio, TX
    Panelists:
    Hon. Tracy Christopher, Chief Justice, Fourteenth Court of Appeals - Houston, TX
    Hon. Chari L. Kelly, Justice, Third Court of Appeals - Austin, TX

  • 3:05 pm
    10-Minute Break

  • 3:15 pm
    1.00 hr ethics
    Ethics for Criminal Lawyers
    Examine the ethical considerations facing attorneys in post-conviction representation.

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

  • 4:15 pm
    Adjourn

Conference Faculty

Aimee Bolletino

The Law Office of Aimee Bolletino
Houston, TX

Jay Brandon

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

Hon. Tracy Christopher

Chief Justice, Fourteenth Court of Appeals
Houston, TX

Allison Clayton

Law Office of Allison Clayton
Lubbock, TX

Michael Staats Falkenberg

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Cynthia Rodriguez Garza

Dallas County District Attorney's Office
Dallas, TX

Hon. Melissa Young Goodwin

Third Court of Appeals
Austin, TX

Michael C. Gross

Gross & Esparza, P.L.L.C.
San Antonio, TX

Gary Hart

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Matthew Bryant Howard

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

Hon. Michael Keasler

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Retired
Austin, TX

Mary Lou Keel

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Hon. Chari L. Kelly

Justice, Third Court of Appeals
Austin, TX

David Keltner

Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP
Fort Worth, TX

Jennifer E. Laurin

The University of Texas School of Law
Austin, TX

John Robertson Messinger

Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney
Austin, TX

Hon. David C. Newell

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Carmen Roe

Carmen Roe Law Firm, PLLC
Houston, TX

Stacey M. Soule

Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney
Austin, TX

Melissa Stryker

Harris County District Attorney's Office
Houston, TX

Rosa Theofanis

Travis County District Attorney's Office
Austin, TX

Gary Alan Udashen

Udashen Anton
Dallas, 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

Jay Brandon

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

Alison Fox Dahlberg

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Michael Staats Falkenberg

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Carson R. Guy

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Austin, TX

Hon. Michael Keasler

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Retired
Austin, TX

Carmen Roe

Carmen Roe Law Firm, PLLC
Houston, TX

Frank Sellers

Westfall Sellers
Fort Worth, TX

Stephanie L. Stevens

St. Mary's University School of Law
San Antonio, TX

Lisa Dotin Stewart

Travis County District Attorney's Office
Austin, TX

Key Dates

Live Webcast – May 13-14, 2021
Register now
Live Webcast
Last day for cancellation (full refund): May 7, 2021

$50 processing fee applied after this date

Last day for cancellation: May 10, 2021

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