Founded in 1947, The Center’s early programs for lawyers focused on civil law. In January of 2002, at the urging of Judge Patrick Higginbotham, the Chair of our Board of Trustees, The Center made a commitment to lawyers who practice criminal law with a comprehensive eight-day program for defense lawyers about litigation in capital criminal cases.
In 2003, we received our first grant from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for criminal law programming. In recent years, we have also received grants to conduct Actual Innocence programs. Most criminal law programs are focused on capital cases and are designed either for defense lawyers or for prosecutors. They focus on litigation skills and trial tactics. In contrast, Actual Innocence programs focus on systemic problems in the justice system, and the audience typically includes judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and law enforcement officials.