CJI launches new lecture series with pivotal player in Graves case

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Professor Nicole Cásarez

Nicole Cásarez, an attorney and St. Thomas University journalism professor who was instrumental in gaining a new trial for convicted mass murderer Anthony Graves, will be the lead-off speaker in the Criminal Justice Institute’s speaker series.  The CJI talk will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 20, in room 209 BLB at the Law Center, and lunch will be provided.

The current issue of Texas Monthly details the work by Nicole Cásarez and her students.  For 18 years, Anthony Graves had tried to prove his innocence in the 1992 killings of six people in Somerville, TX. His claim was eventually buttressed by the only witness to the crime – a killer who recanted earlier statements and went to his execution stating that Graves was not guilty of the Somerville murders. Over several years, Cásarez and her students uncovered substantial evidence not only to support  Graves’ claims of innocence, but also to prove wrongdoing by the state’s prosecution of the case.   Graves’ conviction was overturned in 2006 by a unanimous panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals because of what the court termed “egregious” prosecutorial misconduct.  Cásarez is now a member of Graves’ defense team for his retrial which is scheduled for Spring 2011.

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