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From Conviction to Freedom: Exonerating the Wrongfully Convicted
Moderator: Gary Udashen, Dallas Criminal Attorney
Panelist: Richard Miles, Exoneree and Founder of Miles of Freedom
Panelist: Cynthia Garcia, Dallas County District Attorney
Panelist: Mike Ware, Executive Director The Innonence Project of Texas

Nov 9, 2021 07:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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Gary Udashen
Senior Attorney @Udashen | Anton
Mr. Udashen is a graduate of the University of Texas and SMU Law School. He serves on the board of the Innocence Project of Texas where he held the position of board president for nine years. He is currently litigation chair. In 2014, the publication, “Super Lawyers,” recognized Udashen with a Pro Bono Award for his work with the Innocence Project of Texas. Udashen is also a frequent speaker for legal and community groups on a variety of topics, including the causes of wrongful convictions. Udashen is board certified in Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He also serves on the TBLS Advisory Committee for Criminal Appellate Law. Udashen has also been lead counsel or co-counsel on over 20 exonerations of wrongfully convicted persons.
Richard Miles
Exoneree and Founder @Miles of Freedom
The summer of 1994, Richard was wrongly arrested and convicted of murder and attempted murder. He was 19 years old and lost 15 years in the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice Institutional Division. Richard’s family advocated on his behalf and eventually met the now late, Mrs. Joyce Ann Brown, Founder of MASS and Exoneree. Mrs. Brown joined the fight encouraging Centurion Ministries; the Princeton based innocence organization to accept his case. In 2007, Centurion accepted his case pro bono. Richard was released Oct. 12, 2009 on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, faulty scientific evidence and tainted identification. Feb. 15, 2012, the Court of Criminal Appeals handed down a unanimous decision of Actual Innocence, a 52 page opinion written by the Hon. Judge Barbara Hervey. The ruling allowed Richard to be eligible for compensation under Texas law for individuals that have been proven Actual Innocence. With these resources, he begin rebuilding his life after a 17 ½ year battle.
Cynthia Garcia
Special Fields Bureau Chief and the Chief of the Conviction Integrity Unit @Dallas County District Attorney’s Office
Ms. Garza graduated magna cum laude with a double undergraduate degree in Sociology and Psychology, with distinction, from SMU in 2001 and received her law degree in 2004 from the SMU Dedman School of Law. After graduation she established her own law firm and later joined a criminal defense firm where she honed her skills in appellate and post-conviction criminal defense. Garza joined the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office’s Appellate Division in 2008 and joined the Conviction Integrity Unit in January 2010. She was named Chief of the CIU in July 2017. She has been involved in a significant percentage of the Unit’s exonerations. Ms. Garza is the longest tenured prosecutor in any Conviction Integrity Unit in the nation and is frequently contacted by other jurisdictions for advice. She trains prosecutors in Dallas County, as well as travels around the state and country training criminal justice stakeholders and speaking about actual innocence and wrongful convictions.
Mike Ware
Executive Director @The Innocence Project of Texas
Mike Ware is a native Texan; born in Temple and raised in Fort Worth, he graduated with honors from the University of Texas with a degree in philosophy. He then graduated from the University of Houston Law School in 1983. After law school, he returned to Fort Worth as a law clerk for the Honorable David O. Belew Jr., United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, from 1983 to 1984. He then began his private practice, specializing in criminal defense, and has been board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1990. In 2006, he co-founded the Innocence Project of Texas, which helped launch the next segment of his career as the Special Fields Bureau Chief for the Dallas County District Attorney's office from 2007 through 2011. Mr. Ware helped establish and was head of the nation’s first Conviction Integrity Unit. Mr. Ware currently maintains a small private practice and is an adjunct professor at Texas A & M University School of Law.