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Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

The St. Mary's University seal in the School of Law courtroom.The St. Mary’s University School of Law is proud to host the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for oral arguments.

Schedule: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016

  • 8 a.m., Students allowed to begin entering the courtroom.
  • 8:15 a.m., General public allowed to begin entering the courtroom.
  • 8:45 a.m., Welcome Remarks
  • 9 to 9:40 a.m., Oral Argument for the capital murder case Eric Lyle Williams vs. the State of Texas
  • 9:55 to 10:35, Oral Argument for the habeas corpus case Ex Parte Christopher Eugene Wimberly
  • 10:45 to 11:20 a.m., Q&A with Presiding Judge Sharon Keller

Location: Law Classrooms Building, Courtroom

Attendees, including media, are prohibited from using phones and recording equipment during the court’s session.

Those attending the arguments should be dressed appropriately for court. Hats will not be allowed in the courtroom, neither will backpacks, briefcases or large bags. Be aware that additional security measures will be in place in the Law Classrooms Building the day of the arguments.

Read Case Synopses

Background on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is created by the Texas Constitution to be the state court of final review of all criminal cases from the entire state. The only court that may overturn its rulings is the United States Supreme Court.

To reach the Court of Criminal Appeals, most cases begin in a state trial court, after which the case is appealed by the defendant or the State to one of the 14 state courts of appeal, after which the Court of Criminal Appeals reviews the determination of the court of appeals and the record of the trial court. However, a criminal case in a trial court that results in a determination of guilt and the punishment of death is taken directly from the trial court to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Besides hearing direct appeals, the Court of Criminal Appeals hears petitions for the writ of habeas corpus, by which a person convicted of a crime whose appeals are final may still request release by presenting sufficient evidence of wrongful detention, actual innocence or an unlawful conviction. It is the only Texas state court that may grant the writ of habeas corpus to a person convicted of a felony.

The Presiding Judge and eight Judges are elected. They dispose of more cases in a typical year than any other appellate court in the United States. In 2016, the Court reviewed over 9,000 cases, including four direct appeals and 30 petitions for habeas corpus in death penalty cases.

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