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The University of Houston Law Center Faculty

Sandra Guerra Thompson

Newell H. Blakely Chair;
Director, Criminal Justice Institute


Sandra Guerra Thompson is the Newell H. Blakely Professor in Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston Law Center. She is the recipient of the University of Houston's Distinguished Leadership in Teaching Excellence Award in 2015, as well as the Teaching Excellence Award in 2003 and the Ethel Baker Faculty Award in 2000.  Her recent book is Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions with Independent Forensic Laboratories (Carolina Academic Press 2015), favorably reviewed in the Michigan Law Review, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, and Boston Review.

She has written articles on subjects including: wrongful convictions, eyewitness identifications, forensic science, civil asset forfeiture, federal sentencing, discrimination in jury selection, prosecutorial ethics, police interrogations, and immigration crimes.

She chaired committees for the transition teams of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in 2016 and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg in 2017. In 2012, Houston Mayor Annise Parker appointed her as a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Forensic Science Center, Houston's independent forensic laboratory which replaced the now-closed Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory. In 2015, she became the Vice Chair for this Board.  In 2009, she was appointed by Governor Perry as the representative of the Texas public law schools on the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions.

Professor Thompson is an elected member of the American Law Institute and was appointed to the Board of Advisors for the Institute's sentencing reform project. In 2000, she served as Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools. She was named one of the top 25 Women of Vision in 2009 by Hispanic Business magazine. In 1996, she became the first Latina tenured law professor in the State of Texas.

During law school, she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office where she practiced both trial and appellate criminal law from 1988-1990. A native of Laredo, Texas, she was named a 2014 "Mustang Legend" by Laredo's J.W. Nixon High School, her alma mater.

B.A., Yale University; J.D., Yale University

Criminal Law
Hot Topics in Criminal Law and Procedure
Criminal Evidence