Annual Symposium Provides Continuing Education for Lawyers
The Court of Criminal Appeals is Texas’ highest court for criminal cases. The Court consists of a Presiding Judge and eight Judges, elected by the voters of Texas in terms of six years. The Court regularly sits in Austin and from time to time, will hear cases in other cities.
“Having the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals at Austin College is a huge opportunity for area students and local citizens,” said Frank Rohmer, Austin College John D. Moseley Chair in Government and Public Policy and advisor for students preparing for careers in law. “By hearing oral argument at Austin College, the court will act not only as the highest court for criminal cases in Texas but also as a judicial educator, preparing students for leadership and service in the American constitutional republic,” Rohmer said. “The Court’s presence provides students with a clear example of the legal profession as a vocation with its highest calling to the lawyer-statesman ideal.” The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals also heard cases at Austin College in 2012. The Supreme Court of Texas heard cases on campus in 2007 and 2013. The Supreme Court of Texas is the highest court for civil cases.
After the court session, Austin College opens the 2019 Dr. Kenneth Street Law Symposium, titled “Ethics and the Practice of Criminal Law.” Symposium registration is $50 for lawyers, $15 for members of the Grayson County Bar Association, $25 for the public, and no charge to students, faculty and Austin College staff.
The State Bar of Texas has approved 3.5 hours CLE, 3 hours Ethics. Registration deadline is February 15; details and registration are online.
Registration includes a luncheon in Wright Campus Center’s Mabee Hall, where U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of the Western District of Texas will give the keynote address.
Following lunch, the agenda includes three panel discussions in Sherman Hall’s Hoxie Thompson Auditorium. The first, titled “Ethical issues in Criminal Prosecution: The Prosecutors’ Perspective,” begins at 2 p.m. and will be moderated by Honorable Joseph D. Brown, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. Panel members are Honorable J. Brett Smith, Grayson County District Attorney; Honorable Kenda Culpepper, Rockwall County District Attorney; Heather Rattan, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Texas; and Camelia Lopez, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.
The 3 p.m. panel is “Ethical Issues in Criminal Defense,” moderated by attorney Buck Files ’60 of Bain, Files, Jarrett & Harrison, P.C. Panel members are Patrick Black, Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Texas; Rafael De La Garza, the De La Garza Law Firm, P.C.; and J. Michael Price II ’92, Milner Finn Price.
The 4:15 p.m. panel, “Ethics in Criminal Cases: Perspectives from State and Federal Judges,” is moderated by Honorable Judge Larry Phillips, 59th District Court, Grayson County Texas. Panelists are Honorable U.S. District Judge Ron Clark, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division; Honorable U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant, Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division; Honorable U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine Nowak, Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division; Honorable Justice Robert Burns, Chief Justice, Fifth (Texas) District Court of Appeals, Dallas.
The event honors longtime Austin College faculty member, the late Dr. Kenneth W. Street. A revered professor of political science at Austin College from 1959 to 1997, Dr. Street held the John D. Moseley Chair of Government and Public Policy and founded and directed the Social Science Laboratory. An award-winning teacher, he also served many years as the advisor for students considering careers in law and launched many professionals in the field. Hundreds of alumni in the fields of law, government, and public service were influenced by Street before his death in 2017.
The Law Symposium is organized by the Alumni “L” Law Association and Austin College Pre-Law Society, under the direction of Rohmer. The 2019 symposium sponsors include Austin College’s Pre-Law Society; Hatton W. Sumners Foundation; Grayson County Bar Association; Eastern District of Texas Bar Association, Appellate Section of State Bar of Texas, Buck Files, Tom Hall ’78, Michael Gibson ’07, Frank McStay ’11, Victor Gutierrez de Pineres ’17, James Walker ’82, Brandy Baxter-Thompson ’99, Jim Hartnett ’79, Monica Walters Crowley ’90, J. Michael Price II ’92, Siebman Forrest, and Jarvis & Hamilton; and Austin College Student Assembly.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with 46 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.