What: “Prosecutorial Oversight: A National Dialogue in the Wake of Connick v. Thompson,” will bring nationally renowned experts on prosecutorial error and oversight to the University of Texas School of Law. The event is free and open to the public.
Who: Speakers include Michael Morton, freed after 25 years in prison in Texas following DNA exoneration and the revelation of concealed exculpatory evidence; John Thompson, imprisoned in Louisiana for 18 years (14 on death row), freed after revelation of concealed exculpatory evidence, founder and director of Resurrection After Exoneration, and plaintiff in Thompson v. Connick; Emily West, research director of The Innocence Project; the Honorable Bob Perkins, former judge, 331st District Court, Travis County; Robert Schuwerk, professor at the University of Houston Law Center and author of the leading treatise on Texas rules of professional conduct; Jim Leitner, first assistant district attorney, Harris County; Betty Blackwell, attorney and former chair of the Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline; and Jennifer Laurin, professor at the University of Texas School of Law (moderator).
When: Thursday, March 29, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Where: Townes Hall, Francis Auditorium, 2.114, 727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin.
Background: The event will feature remarks by two individuals with first-hand experience of prosecutorial error and a roundtable discussion moderated by UT Law’s Jennifer Laurin, discussing existing oversight mechanisms in Texas, assessing their adequacy, and exploring possible avenues of professional and legislative reform. It will be followed by a question and answer period. It is the second stop of a national tour created to discuss prosecutorial oversight in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Connick v. Thompson, which substantially limited civil liability claims against prosecutors’ offices for constitutional violations by their personnel. The tour brings together participants from all aspects of the criminal justice system including legal ethics professors, members of bar disciplinary committees, prosecutors and judges to assess that premise in light of research on the existence of and response to prosecutorial error in individual jurisdictions.
Sponsored by the Actual Innocence Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law and the Texas Center for Actual Innocence, as well as national organizations The Innocence Project, The Veritas Initiative, Innocence Project New Orleans, and Resurrection After Exoneration/Voices of Innocence,
The event will be simulcast for remote viewing.