The University of Houston Law Center Faculty

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Sandra  Thompson

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Sandra Guerra Thompson

Alumnae College Professor of Law
Director; Criminal Justice Institute


Sandra Guerra Thompson is the Alumnae College Professor in Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston Law Center. Professor Thompson is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.  While in law school, she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.  After graduation from law school, 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.  She joined the faculty of the University of Houston Law Center in 1990.

Professor Thompson teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, wrongful convictions and evidence. She has authored numerous articles on criminal law topics such as eyewitness identification and wrongful conviction, immigration crimes, jury discrimination, police interrogations, federal sentencing, and asset forfeiture. She is the recipient of the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award in 2003 and the Ethel Baker Faculty Award in 2000.

In 2012, she was appointed by Houston Mayor Annise Parker as a member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Forensic Science Local Government Corporation, a group charged with creating and overseeing an independent forensic lab and transferring such duties from the Houston Police Department's crime lab. In 2009, she was appointed as the representative of the Texas public law schools on the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions, a panel created by the legislature to propose statutory reforms to curb wrongful convictions. She co-edited a book entitled American Justice in the Age of Innocence, an anthology about wrongful convictions that includes articles written by her seminar students. Her next book is entitled Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions with Independent Forensic Laboratories (forthcoming Carolina Academic Press 2014).

She 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 for 2009 by Hispanic Business magazine.

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

Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure
Prisoners' Rights
Wrongful Convictions